How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates

How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates
How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates

How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates

Have you ever felt the frustration of sending out your CV for the perfect job opportunity and waiting
anxiously for a call-back that never comes? If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most of us have been
there, wondering why our CV doesn’t get noticed.

But fear not, because you’re about to discover the secrets of creating a CV that no one can resist reading.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn:

  • A CV example better than 9 out of 10 other CVs
  • How to write a CV even with limited experience
  • Tips to make your CV stand out and highlight your qualifications
  • Effective CV writing strategies to secure the job you desire

The key to a winning CV is proper formatting and structure. Start with essential contact information at the top,
introduce yourself with a compelling summary, showcase your experience and achievements, and provide relevant
details to prove you’re the perfect fit for the position.

We’ll guide you through each step in the following chapters of this guide.

Understanding the Difference: CV, Curriculum Vitae, and Resume

Let’s start with the basics. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a comprehensive document that outlines your education,
professional experiences, abilities, achievements, and other relevant qualifications.

In the US, Canada, and Australia, a CV is used for academic purposes, providing a detailed overview of your
scholarly career. In other countries, a CV is similar to an American resume and is used to apply for jobs.

So, in essence, a CV is synonymous with a resume, with slight variations in length and usage in specific
English-speaking countries.

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Remember, a CV is not a cover letter. A curriculum vitae focuses on work history, education, and skills, while a
cover letter serves as a comprehensive marketing campaign. These documents serve different purposes.

Pick the Ideal CV Format for Maximum Impact

Here’s an eye-opening fact: On average, you’re competing against 250 other candidates every time you apply for a

Recruiters spend a mere 6 seconds scanning each CV. The initial impression is crucial. A well-organized,
properly-formatted CV will entice recruiters to spend more time on yours, while a poorly formatted CV will
likely get discarded during the initial review.

Follow these guidelines for the optimal CV format:

  1. Start with a clear CV outline:
    • CV Header with Contact Information
    • Personal Profile: CV Objective or CV Summary
    • Work Experience
    • Education
    • Skills
    • Additional Sections
  2. Choose legible fonts (Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica for sans-serif, Times New Roman or Bookman Old Style for
  3. Use 11 to 12 pt font size and single spacing, 14 to 16 pt for name and section titles
  4. Maintain consistent CV layout with one-inch margins on all sides
  5. Ensure uniform headings, avoiding excessive italics and underlining
  6. Stick to a single date format (e.g., 11-2017 or November 2017)
  7. Avoid excessive graphics that may hinder readability
  8. Unless requested, omit photos from your CV
  9. Keep your CV brief and relevant, focusing on key qualifications

Pro Tip: Save your CV in PDF format to maintain layout integrity, but be aware of job description requirements
(some employers may prefer Word).

Now that you’re armed with the best CV template and basic writing rules, let’s dive into the details!

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Add Your Contact Information Professionally

Make it easy for recruiters to reach you. Craft a CV header that includes essential contact details:

  • Full name
  • Professional title
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Home address

Recruiters use this information to research you online. Ensure consistency between your social media profiles
and your LinkedIn information. Professionalism matters.

Begin Your CV with a Powerful Personal Profile

Don’t just jump into listing your work experience or education. Create a memorable first impression by
highlighting your unique qualities.

Craft a compelling CV personal profile statement, a concise paragraph of 100 words or fewer, explaining why
you’re the ideal candidate. Choose between a CV objective or a CV summary based on your experience:

  • CV objective: Showcase skills and fit, ideal for limited experience
  • CV summary: Highlight career progress and achievements, suitable for seasoned professionals

Use concrete examples that align with the job. Let’s look at nursing CV objectives and summaries:

Example of a Good CV Objective:

Dependable licensed NMC Registered Nurse trained to excel in high-stress environments, seeking to leverage
meticulous record-keeping and analytical skills to support St. Francis Hospital.

See the difference? This candidate emphasizes what she can offer and even mentions the specific hospital she’s
applying to. Name-dropping adds personalization to your CV objective.

If you have relevant job experience, opt for a CV summary instead:

Example of a Good CV Summary:

Bilingual (English and Dutch) Pediatric Nurse with 15+ years of experience in the intensive and neonatal care
units of a community hospital. Seeking to leverage management experience as Chief Pediatric Nurse at General
Hospital, helping to implement new staff training programs.

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This CV summary is super-specific, showcasing background and how it directly addresses the hospital’s needs. A powerful summary can make your CV memorable.

Keep your CV targeted

How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates
How to Write a CV: Examples, Tips, and Templates
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