How To Write the Perfect CV (Curriculum Vitae)

When applying for a new job (or perhaps your first), a CV is an absolute must. Also known as a Curriculum Vitae in full, a CV is essentially a written statement of your professional life. All that is known about you as a professional; your education, your work experience and who you are as a person, should be contained in your CV and in the best possible, written way. It can be a pain to set out from scratch to write one, but once it is complete and ready to send off, your curriculum vitae is something for life. Indeed, as you go from job to job, you will need to regularly update your CV. Some of the best CV’s are those that have been molded over many years of experience. Thus, if you are either starting your first or attempting to perfect your curriculum vitae, we can help.

How To Write the Perfect CV (Curriculum Vitae)

write a cv

Before we leap into the ins and outs on how to write the perfect curriculum vitae, you may also be interested in some similar posts on our website. You can find how to’s on cover letters and resignation letters, as well as how to request a letter of reference. All that you need for getting yourself prepared for entering or leaving a job is here on our site. So, if you have any queries or problems with career writing, you will find it here. For now, let’s get started on how to write your curriculum vitae.

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A Curriculum Vitae Or A Resume … What’s the Difference?

First of all, you may be wondering if a resume and a CV are the same things. The truth is they are similar, but they are not the same. A curriculum vitae for a start is longer than your average resume, by at least a page in most cases. The main difference is that a curriculum vitae is more detailed than your resume. Furthermore, the overall outline often differs somewhat. So, importantly if a job or employer requests your CV, do not make the mistake of sending them your resume.

What You Should Include In Your Curriculum Vitae.

As mentioned, your curriculum vitae should be detailed. But this doesn’t mean that you should provide as much information as possible on everything related to you. The point here is the be concise. Do not waffle and/or provide information that is irrelevant to your professional career. Try to only include the strongest information regarding both your professional career and your personal life.

You should include in your curriculum vitae: Any additional skills you have.

Be careful here not to mention irrelevancies. For example, if you are a black belt in judo, you might want to exclude this from your application for a position at Microsoft headquarters. The best skills to list are often foreign language skills, managerial skills, IT skills, first aid skills, and whatever you think will make you a strong candidate for a job.

You should include in your curriculum vitae: Your personal contact information.

Personal contact is a no-brainer, for it will allow our potential employer to contact you. Provide your full name, your current address, your date of birth, your phone number (both mobile and home number if you can) and your email address. If you have a current work address, work email and work number, you should also provide that. Provide only this and no more. Avoid any irrelevant information such as your partner’s information.

You should include in your curriculum vitae: Your educational background.

This is an important part of the CV. It will allow the employer to identify your strengths. It may also put you ahead of the competition. List your high school qualifications and information (that’s GCSEs for those in the UK) and your university or college information and results. If you have any certificates from additional courses, such as first aid, it will be worthwhile to include them here. Also include the dates in which you attended each educational institution.

You should include in your curriculum vitae: Your work background.

Here is where you really gain some important points. Provide a summary of the jobs you have had in the past. If you have had many, try to only mention the jobs which are relevant to the position you are applying for, or only select the jobs which were most important. You should also include the dates in which you worked at these jobs, as well as the full title of the position.

The Things That You Should Leave Out Of Your Curriculum Vitae

Ultimately, as mentioned, be concise, or include only relevant information. By all means, do not slander your previous jobs – it won’t reflect well on your character. If you have been fired before, or you have left a job due to irreconcilable differences, again, leave it out. If you have had bad past experiences at work, leave it out of your CV. In addition, references should be left for something else. Employers will often ask for letters of reference. If you would like to know about these, see our post on them.

An Example Of the Overall Format Or Order Of Your Curriculum Vitae

  • Personal/Contact information.
  • A short description on who you are/your professional background.
  • Your work experience/employment history.
  • Your education background.
  • Any additional skills, certificates, degrees, etc.

Some Closing Writing Tips

When writing your CV, remember to maintain a formal writing style. When a potential employer reads your curriculum vitae, your choice of words will form an overall opinion on who you are. In other words, employers will judge you on your CV – of course they will – so it is important to convey a sense of professionalism. Remember to also be honest. If an employer finds out that you lied in your CV, your chances will be immediately axed.


Just an additional tip: search for CV templates online. There are many that could suit your career and will, therefore, save you a lot of time. Best of luck!

One Response

  1. Aurea Huguet November 25, 2017

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