Classic CV Template and Writing Guidelines

Making a good first impression is key to getting hired, and that starts with a strong curriculum vita. This classic CV template provides tips to assist you in developing a standout CV to catch the eye of a prospective employer. Because it follows a more traditional style, it works well for a range of companies. Review this sample and then follow the tips in the writing guide when developing your own to ensure that you include all the necessary items while also demonstrating your worth to hiring managers and recruiters.

Sections to Include in Your
Resume template classic

The following classic CV template writing guide illustrates the standard sections to include in your curriculum vita, as shown above. We will go over all the relevant sections and include best practices to help you create your own.

  • Contact and Personal Information

    As you can see in our classic CV template, it is important to start with your contact information so that prospective employers can get ahold of you. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email address, as well as other relevant contact details. Depending on the type of job, you might wish to include a link to your personal webpage or digital portfolio. By doing some research into the company, you will discover what additional personal information might be relevant on your CV, such as your marital status, nationality and age. The template illustrates an effective way to create this section.

  • Professional Summary

    The classic CV template shows how adding a professional summary to your CV provides a way to demonstrate to the prospective employer your experience and skills. It is a chance to advertise yourself and catch the attention of the hiring manager. Providing details about your previous professional experience illustrates how you are a solid match for the desired skills and experience. It is important to use the same keywords and skills listed in the job description to increase the chance your CV will be found.

    When writing the professional summary, keep it short and concise. It should be a summary that includes your previous work experience, accomplishments, skills and experience, and your future goals.

    Below are some examples of what you would find in a strong professional summary:

    Example for a Certified Nutrition Specialist:
    I am a certified nutrition specialist with over 13 years of experience in counseling clients in making dietary and lifestyle changes to promote health. I specialize in chronic illnesses, especially diabetes and autoimmune disorders. I have mentored several nutritionists and worked as part of a multidisciplinary team. I wish to focus on preventative care and health education, and I am currently pursuing opportunities that support my move into patient education and preventative health.

    Example for a Professor of English Literature

    I have worked as a professor of English literature for the past 10 years, focusing on Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama. I have taught multiple upper-division and graduate level courses and have published 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals. I plan to focus my research on the collaborative works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries while teaching courses on the same topic. I am currently pursuing opportunities where I can have the chance to delve into this area of research.

  • Writing Your Work Experience Section

    As the classic CV template shows, the work experience section is a list of your previous work experience. This section should highlight your career accomplishments. The following guidelines and examples will help you to create solid examples to place into your CV that will make it visually exciting to the reader.

    • Choose active verbs and actionable results to describe your work experience. Keep it concise, avoiding terms such as “provided” and “able to.” For example, instead of saying you “worked to increase sales,” simply state “increased sales.”
    • Start with your current or most recent position and work backward. Unless highly relevant, do not include positions older than 10 years. If you changed positions in the same company, emphasize the position with additional responsibility.
    • Use keywords from the job description when detailing your previous positions. This makes it easier for potential employers to see how your previous experience matches the current opening.Here are some examples illustrating how to write your work experience section (note: you should include at least 4 to 6 bullets per previous job held):

      Sales Manager, ALM Sales, London. 2010-2015.

    • Increased sales by 10% for six months straight by implementing a new sales technique and building stronger relationships with current customers and potential leads.
      English Teacher, Coopersville Secondary, Coopersville. 2008-2012.
    • Taught classic English literature, composition and grammar to secondary school students. Raised testing scores by 20% and improved university matriculation numbers.
      Physician, Sacred Heart Hospital, Adelaide. 2012-2014.
    • Treated patients presenting with serious illnesses and injuries. Coordinated and led staff to increase efficiency without sacrificing patient care.
      Customer Service Representative, Von’s Store, Manchester. 2014-present.
    • Assist customers with issues and problems and act as a liaison between the sales team and the customers. Enhanced customer satisfaction rates by 25%.
  • Education and Training

    The education and training section plays an important role in your CV, especially for positions that require certain degrees or certifications. The classic CV template demonstrates a great way to communicate your educational background clearly to hiring managers. For improved results, follow these best practices:

    • Start with the highest level of education when listing any education applicable to the job. However, including your high school education is typically not required unless it is your highest level of education or specifically requested.
    • Do not forget to include any additional coursework, such as certifications, seminars and trainings, especially those that demonstrate your expertise in certain skills.
    • Current coursework, certification or qualifications can be included by detailing that you are currently seeking this certification or listing an anticipated graduation date.

    Here are some examples to help you write your education section:

    Master of Business Administration, Oxford University. Graduated with Merit.

    Microsoft Office Specialist Expert, Microsoft Learning.

  • Writing Your Skills Section

    The classic CV template above includes a special section just to highlight your applicable skills. When you create your CV, it is essential to customize the skill section to the job for which you are applying. This makes it easy for prospective employers to quickly see you have the right skills for the position in just one glance. Be sure to follow these best practices for this section:

    • Focus on formal skills, such as languages, and include the level of proficiency.
    • Include context of how you attained the skills when appropriate.
    • Emphasize your technical proficiency, even for jobs that might not directly require it.

    Here are some examples of what to include in a skills section as a Sales Manager:

    Effective oral and communication skills.
    Expert proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel and PowerPoint.
    Proven negotiation skills, honed through 5 years of working in outside sales.

  • Writing Your Scholarships and Awards Section

    Listing awards and scholarships is a great way to demonstrate to prospective employers your skills and achievements as you can see in our classic CV template. Include these in your CV in an easy-to-read list of any awards you might have earned, even if they are just in-house awards such as Employee of the Month. Students and researchers should also include any grants or scholarships received, especially if they are highly-competitive. It is best to include context for the awards with a short description, especially if they are not well-known. You could also include what criteria you met to win the grant, scholarship or award. It might also be appropriate to describe the organization to demonstrate the prestige of winning the award.

    Here are some examples for the scholarship and awards section of your CV:

    2010: Awarded Regional Sales Person Award for the Midwest Area for having the highest percentage of sales revenue.

    2014: Awarded Fulbright Scholarship; used to study the impact of World War II on French Literature in Paris.

  • Writing Your Hobbies and Interests Section

    Including a section with your outside hobbies and interests is not a required section of a CV, but as you can see in the classic CV template it does provide value. In this section, you have the opportunity to offer insight into your personality. You can also showcase additional skills and talents that are relevant to the position you desire that you have honed with volunteer and community work. When including this section in your CV, follow the tips in this guide.

    • Focus on relevant job skills you have learned on the side, such as programming skills or office work.
    • Include any digital experience, such as blogging or podcasting, to demonstrate your media knowledge.
    • Adding sports or athletics provides an interesting jumping off point for conversations during an interview with a recruiter.
    • Detail any leadership roles you have in community organizations and clubs, as this highlights your leadership skills while also detailing your passions and interests.

    Below is an example to help you fill out this section:

    2014-current: President of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. Enjoy programming and blogging. Play basketball and football as a volunteer with a local youth group. Run an occasional half marathon.

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