What Is A Curriculum Vitae?

A Curriculum Vitae or CV is a rundown of a person’s qualifications and is typically divided into several sections. It lists one’s educational background and work experience. This helps employers gauge if you are suited for a particular job.    

According to PR Newswire, a 2018 study by Ladders Inc. showed that the average time a recruiter spends reviewing an applicant’s CV or resume is 7.4 seconds.

Sections of a Curriculum Vitae

For many young adults, especially recent graduates, working on a CV would seem like a tiring and daunting task because of the effort it entails. Some are unsure of how to begin. There are several key areas that should be included for a CV to be able to meet minimum standards.

Basic Details: Every CV should always start with the basic data. State your key information such as your complete name and contact details (i.e. mobile number and email address). If you do land an interview, this would make it easy for an employer to reach out to you. Objective: Stating a brief but clear objective at the start of your CV would give the recruiter an idea of what field you’re aiming at and help them gauge if you would be a good fit for the company. You can list down the specific industries you are interested in. This should be limited to your top 3. Education: Providing educational background is a key component. This typically includes the name of the school, degree held or course attended, and the year graduated. If you are currently a student, simply indicate that you are presently attending the said school. Work Experience: When listing down professional experience, it should be arranged chronologically- with the most recent work as the first entry and so on. It is helpful to provide brief descriptions under each previous job; detailing the functions and tasks that were assigned to you. This prevents your CV from appearing too generic and too vague. Seminars Attended, Publications and Co-Curriculars: For undergraduates looking to land a first job, you could include non-academic achievements. For example, you were an active officer for your college organization or a varsity athlete. For those with post-graduate education, include relevant dissertations and papers you’ve authored. Seminars, certifications and other relevant training could also be incorporated in your CV. Skills and Interests: For this part, it’s best to keep it brief and only include relevant information. A well-crafted skills and interests section could add character to your CV and could make it stand out. Relevant skills include critical thinking, communication, and negotiation skills.

How To Make a Curriculum Vitae

A simple but effective Curriculum Vitae can be a powerful tool in your search for a fulfilling career. Let the editable templates above serve as your guide. Following these steps will help potential employers take notice of your CV:   

Step 1: Cover the Basics

Make sure to provide complete details so prospective employers know how to reach you. The information you give should be clear and brief.   

Step 2: Add a Description for Each Job 

Oftentimes, we can’t expect everyone to understand the nature of a job merely from its title. Therefore, it is helpful to guide recruiters by briefly explaining the tasks you were given and the role you had. Enumerate these functions using clear and concise bullet points under each work experience.   

Step 3: List Relevant Socio-civic Involvement 

Apart from academic and professional credentials, listing civic participation or community engagement may help set your CV apart from the rest. Are you a member or do you hold a position in organizations like Rotary or Toastmasters Club? These can give recruiters the impression that you are well-rounded and service-oriented. 

Step 4: Add a Picture

Include a picture on the first page of your CV. A professional-looking and standard size photo should work. Avoid placing cropped, blurry or casual-looking pictures of yourself.  


What is the difference between curriculum vitae and resume?

According to UC Davis, a Curriculum Vitae (meaning “course of life” in Latin) is more detailed and often longer compared to a resume. A CV is a comprehensive overview of one’s academic and professional experience, which typically includes academic accomplishments (e.g. publications, presentations). Whereas, a resume highlights more of the skills and is normally a condensed version of one’s credentials.

What is the importance of a CV?

Whether you’re pursuing career advancement or higher education, a compilation of your experience and credentials will not only give companies a glimpse of your work, but also help you track your own progress. Because your CV needs to be updated every now and then, it allows you to reflect on the past as well as future possibilities and goals.

What is a good CV format?

The format of a CV can be a determining factor in whether a recruiter will even glance at your credentials. If it appears messy or unorganized, it’s not appealing and you run the risk of having your qualifications looked over. Resumes and CVs may also differ in format but almost always contain the same relevant information. Information should be clear and concise. Text should be big enough to read, and complemented by the appropriate headings. Further, when sending out your CV to prospective employers, it’s best to send a PDF version if a hard copy is unavailable. Avoid MS Word versions when sending it through email.

For most companies, a CV is the first thing they ask from job seekers. If the company sees potential based on the credentials you listed, it is normally followed by an interview. A good CV is well organized, informative, and uncomplicated. It is best to stick to simple formats but you can also balance it out with a little creativity. Download any of the templates above and start writing that winning CV now!