On this page, you’ll find:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Before beginning, ensure your employer wants a CV, not a traditional resume. While these documents serve the same purpose, they have some significant differences.
Want to save time? Whichever document you need, our Builder is a tool that can make both CVs and resumes! It automates the process so you can have a CV ready in 15 minutes!
CV versus resume:
Which is right for you?
CVs and resumes serve the same purpose: to apply for open jobs or positions.
In the U.S., resumes are the most common job-application document, and are shorter than curriculum vitae. CVs may be requested for select roles in academia, medical fields and the sciences because they put more emphasis on education and research.
In Europe, Asia and Africa, CVs are the standard application document for all job openings.
Here a side-by-side comparison of CVs versus resumes, to help you choose:
If a resume is more appropriate for the job and industry you are applying to, check out our resume-writing guide!
Next, we’ll dive into writing a professional CV from scratch.
But if you want to have your CV ready in 15 minutes, check out our CV Builder.
The builder automates creating a CV into a series of easy-to-follow prompts. It also provides prewritten professional content to add to your document.
How to write a CV
We’ll show you how to write a great CV in six steps!
Let’s begin by looking at the anatomy of a fully loaded CV. A curriculum vitae can include the following sections:
Key skills and qualifications
Most CVs follow this general organization, also called a CV format.
Keep in mind some CV sections are optional! Your CV should only include sections you can fill with meaningful content. For example, if you have no publications, skip adding that section.
There are five must-have CV sections: the header, summary, work experience, core qualifications/skills and education. Everything else is an additional section!
Here’s how to create a CV in six steps:
Add contact information to your CV’s header
Your CV header consists of your name and contact information.
- Your full name
- Phone Number
- A professional-sounding email
- City and state where you reside
- Job title, either your current position or the one you’re applying for
- LinkedIn profile or links to online portfolios and relevant professional social media accounts (optional)
Write a CV summary that captures employers’ attention
The CV summary section is where you introduce yourself to the employer and sits directly below your header. Showcase your most relevant professional qualifications for the job here.
In two to five sentences, mention qualifications like these in your CV summary:
- Number of years of experience
- Job-relevant skills
- Academic honors
- Unique achievements that help you stand out
CV summary example
“Senior Digital Marketing Manager with 10 years of experience excelling at SEO and integrated marketing in various industries, primarily global non-profit organizations and arts and cultural institutions. Consistently drive large teams to achieve beyond established goals by implementing organized production processes and promoting creativity. Won Gold for Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns at the Cresta Awards for two years in a row.”
If you’re a candidate with limited experience in your role, consider writing a CV objective that focuses on your career or academic goals and what skills and tools you possess to reach them.
CV objective example
“Sophomore Biology student at John Hopkins University interested in applying to AstraZeneca’s Pharmaceutical’s bioinformatics internship. Participated in Harvard University’s Mechanistic Biology and Structural Bioinformatics summer internship program. Experienced analyzing single-cell proteomics and glycoproteomics using datasets. Proficient in software like Unipept and Integrated Genome Browser.”
If you need extra help writing your CV summary or objective, try our CV Builder, which will suggest content customized to your desired job and years of experience.
List your work experience in detail
Your CV’s work experience section should include all jobs related to the role for which you’re applying.
- Job title
- Employer or company name
- Work location (city and state)
- Dates of employment (month and year)
- Bullet points describing your most relevant achievements within that role.
CV work experience example
Translator | IU Health University Hospital – Indianapolis, IN
02/2019 – 012/2022
- Translated communications between Tagalog-speaking patients and English-speaking parties as needed.
- Created a backlog of written translations and inserted information into a digital database.
- Collaborated in writing educational booklet of common cultural phrases to assist colleagues during international communications, increasing productivity by 34%.
You can quickly create an impactful work experience section with our CV Builder; it generates hundreds of work experience descriptions you can copy-paste and edit with your skills and quantifiable achievements.
Cite core qualifications relevant to the job
The core qualifications section is where you list your top skills for the position you are seeking.
It consists of a few easy-to-scan bullet points that share the skills and qualifications most relevant to the job.
CV core qualifications example
- Strong negotiation and litigation skills in state and appeals courts.
- Remain calm and level-headed under pressure.
- Thorough research skills.
- Knowledge and ability to interpret U.S. and international copyright laws and regulations.
- Excellent intercultural and communication skills.
Showcase your education achievements
The education section is critical in CVs, and unlike resumes, this section goes higher up on the page, ideally after core qualifications.
A CV education section consists of:
- Degree title
- College or university
- School location (city and state)
- Graduation date (optional)
If you have multiple degrees, list them in reverse-chronological order. This way, employers see the most recent and relevant education first.
You should also omit graduation dates, particularly for undergraduate degrees, to avoid hiring bias by employers trying to guess your age.
If you’re completing any degree or transferred schools, you can add each school’s expected graduation date or attendance dates.
CV education example
Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of California – San Francisco, CA
Master of Science: Chemistry
Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
Bachelor of Science: Biology
Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
Pick a design and get writing!
A CV template is a preformatted document that makes creating your CV much easier because all the design elements are in place. All you have to do is enter your information.
Click any of the following designs to personalize it in our CV Builder.
Professional graphic designers created our CV templates to be eye-catching and easy to read.
Using a template will increase your chances of passing the ATS and getting your CV in front of a hiring manager.
Don’t leave anything to chance! In addition to the templates you see here, our builder has even more ATS-friendly designs!
CV Writing FAQ
How do I write a CV in your builder?
Using our builder to make your CV from scratch is an easy three-step process:
- Follow our Builder’s prompts — like answering your desired job title and years of experience — until you complete all the standard sections.
- Once you’ve reached the last step of the process, you’ll find the Builder gives you the option to add custom sections. Every CV is different, so type in the title heading you want to add (e.g., Core Qualifications, Publications, Grants and Fellowships) and fill in that section.
- You’ll see a document preview after adding all the sections you want. Then, you can click and drag the sections and organize them in the desired order. Then, you’re ready to proofread, download and send your document to employers!
How to make a CV ATS-friendly?
LiveCareer’s resume and CV templates are tested to pass scans performed by ATS (applicant tracking system) programs.
Our recruiter-approved, expertly designed CV templates guarantee that your information is well-organized, headers and footers are formatted correctly, the font is easy to read, and margins are clear and adequately sized. Using templates to take care of these elements makes it much easier for a resume to pass an ATS.
What makes a good CV?
Adhering to the job posting requirements is essential, but a good CV goes even deeper and explores the significant details of your entire career experience.
A good CV should include every element of your work, academic history and other relevant background information. In some countries and for specific industries, they should also include your picture, hobbies, interests and various background details.
How do I write a CV for an internship?
Even though you might not have a lot of traditional work experience, you can still include a variety of qualifications in your CV.
Academic and volunteering programs can be a great way to show direct experience.
Be sure to strike the right balance of hard and soft skills and use quantifiable metrics, like percentages, the number of projects you worked on or dollar amounts, to present the scope of your capabilities
How do I write an academic CV?
Most academic CVs are between four and five pages long, reaching a maximum of 10 pages, depending on your experience level.
It should correspond with the open position’s requirements, focusing on cataloging all academic accomplishments such as publications, research, program assistance and mentorships.