What is a CV? What is a resume? Which one to use when applying for jobs? What’s the difference between the US academic CV and resume? Check our guide out.
In a minute you’ll learn how to write a CV that wins you that job, because—
This is *the* job you have been seeking for months.
You have the necessary skills. You know you’d be a great fit. Your whole life led up to this opportunity.
And your CV has to show that.
Cause if it doesn’t—kiss that dream job goodbye.
This guide will show you:
- A CV example better than most.
- How to write a CV that will get more interviews.
- Expert CV writing tips on how to describe your work history, skills, and achievements.
- Battle-tested CV template and format that highlights your top strengths.
To begin with, have a look at this sample CV. What do you think makes it so special?
Free CV Template
Address: 25 South Street, Liverpool, L4 1SE
Phone: 07323 764000
As an analytically-minded senior marketing manager with 6+ years of experience, I am eager to join XYZ Corp to help manage the strategy development and lead cross-functional teams. In previous roles, I increased website traffic by 300% in 10 months and developed SEO strategy that brought in 10K monthly users for the most strategic sales landing pages.
- Documented and maintained content specifications (incl. outlining content components and guidelines to ensure a consistent experience across various touchpoints.)
- Partnered with IT to understand the technical implications of content and helped implement content accessibility standards.
- Cooperated with UX and designers to conceptualize high-quality, innovative digital content and ensured the ideas come to life while staying within budget and scope.
- Led A/B testing for content. Improved CRO by 28% and increased monthly traffic by 300% resulting in £33,000 increase in monthly revenue.
- Recommended marketing plans and activities for products and product lines to establish, enhance and distinguish product placement. Increased the sales of production photo Inkjets by 20%.
- Conducted market research, monitored competitive activity and identified customer needs.
- Prepared materials for internal and external presentations and communication. Delivered presentations in 10+ industry events.
- Participated in coordinating trade show activities, website development, e-commerce strategies and tracking of marketing campaigns. Set up 10 landing pages that increased website traffic by 150%.
- Collaborated with business team members to plan, develop and produce promotional tools. Developed a content marketing and SEO-based strategy that brought in 10K monthly users to the company key landing page.
MSc in New Media Marketing, Distinction
University of Liverpool
- Technical and creative SEO (Google Search Console, Google Analytics)
- SEM (Google AdWords, SEMRush)
- A/B Testing (VWO)
- Email marketing (Mailgun, Sendgrid, Mailchimp)
- 2016, CIM: Mastering Digital Channels
- 2014, Inspire College London: Digital Marketing Advanced Level 4 Diploma
If you’re looking for a job in the US, Canada, or Australia, switch over to: How to Write a Resume: Writing Guide & 20+ Examples
Applying for an academic post? Check out: Academic CV Template & Writing Guide
Not sure what document to use in your application? Find out: CV vs Resume: What Are the Differences & When to Use Which
Read on to find out how to create a professional CV for a job in the UK, the rest of Europe, or New Zealand!
1. Use a Professional Curriculum Vitae Template and Format
The hiring manager casts a glance at your CV. After a split second, she tosses it to the side of her desk and never looks at it again.
What went wrong?
Your CV format and template weren’t easy to follow.
Don’t worry. The dream isn’t real. Here’s how to format your CV so that it gets across your value proposition fast.
What’s the Best CV Template?
The right curriculum vitae template boils down to dividing your CV into sections in the right order.
For experienced candidates:
- Contact Information
- Summary Statement (Personal Profile)
- Work Experience
- Additional Sections (Certifications, Publications, Awards, Conferences)
For fresh graduates and entry-level job seekers:
- Contact information
- Career Objective
- Work Experience, Internships and Volunteer Experience
- Academic Achievements or Extracurricular Activities
How to Format a CV
- Use one-inch margins on all four sides.
- Choose a professional font and stick to it throughout your CV. Use 11 to 12 pt size for all contents. Make your name at the top and section headings slightly larger.
- Remember that white space is your friend. Divide sections by a single blank line.
- Unless the job ad requires them, get photos off your CV.
- Save your CV in the PDF format to keep your CV layout intact.
Expert Hint: How long should a CV be? If you have less than 5 years of professional experience, do your best to keep a CV one-page. For candidates with more extensive work history, two-page CVs are fine.
2. Get Your Contact Information Right
That’s pretty plain, innit?
Well, not exactly. Contact information on a CV got a tad trickier in the digital era.
Here’s what to list:
Contact information on a CV: Template
- Full Name
- Job Title
- Personal Website (if applicable)
- LinkedIn Profile
- (Optional) Other Social Media Handles
Expert Hint: As for your social media handles, LinkedIn is a must. Almost 90% of recruiters use it, reports show. If they can’t find you there, you’ll automatically look suspicious. Other than that? Link to those profiles you use for professional or semi-professional purposes. Looking for a job in tech? Link to your GitHub account. An artistic or creative role? Tumblr, Pinterest, or even Instagram are good ideas. Journalism or PR? Twitter. You get the drill, right?
The key thing is to keep your contact details professional. That mostly refers to your email address.
Here’s just how important it is:
A recent study found that almost 76% of CV’s are ignored if you have an unprofessional email address.
That means two things:
- Retire that “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address you used in high school.
- Use a sophisticated email provider: either Gmail or your own domain. YahooMail or Hotmail will make you look like a time-traveller from the Victorian era.
3. Write a Catchy CV Personal Profile or Career Objective
The hiring manager hasn’t read your CV yet.
You need to make them.
Just below your contact information, put a CV personal profile (also called a summary statement) or a career objective. Make it a sneak peek of your best achievements.
Got years of relevant experience? Write a CV personal profile. Make it a highlight reel of your professional journey so far and show what value you bring to the table.
Not much experience yet? Go for a CV career objective. Say what skills you’ve mastered so far and how well you’ll fit in.
Expert Hint: Although this section is at the top of your CV, write it last. Think about it as a trailer for the rest of your curriculum vitae. You want the best bits to be there, but first, make sure you have enough to choose from.
Whichever one is right for you, keep one thing in mind—
It’s not about you. It’s about them. Don’t say what you want out of the job. Focus on what you have to offer.
But enough theory. See what I mean on these examples:
How to Make a CV: Personal Profile Samples
See this? “I’m good at my job and I know how to help you achieve spectacular results.”
Everyone knows who you are. It’s in your job title. And leveraging skills is expected. Thanks, but no thanks.
How to Make a CV: Career Objective Samples
Quite a difference, right?
Notice two things in particular—
First of all, both good examples use the company name. Bad ones are generic. Remember: address a particular employer in your CV personal profile or career objective.
That means you cannot spam around one identical CV to every company within a 50-mile radius—and that’s the point. Personalisation works wonders.
Secondly, while it’s fine to use personal pronouns in your CV, see just how many of these are there in bad examples. If you’re only about me-myself-and-I on your CV, that doesn’t make you very hireable (or likeable for that matter).
4. Describe Your Work Experience on a CV the Proper Way
If there’s a single most important CV section, it’s this one: the work experience.
How to Write a CV Work Experience Section
- List your jobs in reverse-chronological order.
- Enter your job title, the company name, and dates worked.
- Under each job, add up to 5 bullet points outlining your responsibilities and, more importantly, professional achievements.
- Use action verbs such as “analysed,” “supervised,” or “implemented,” instead of “responsible for analysis / supervision / implementation.”
- Quantify whenever possible. Saved your company money? Say how much. Boosted sales? State by what percentage. Trained other employees? How many exactly? Numbers pop!
- At the bottom, add a “Key achievement” subsection. Show off your best win.
- Tailor every CV to the specific job description. Pick phrases from the job ad and use them when you write your CV.
See these CV examples:
How to Make a CV: Work Experience Examples
Numbers, achievements, action verbs—all check.
Could you be any more generic? Come one—these are the duties every exec assistant performs. Nothing about it makes this candidate unique.
5. Make the Most of Your CV Education Section
Good news: putting education on a CV is usually easy.
- Graduation year
- Your degree
- School name
- Sub-honours (if applicable)
Expert Hint: If you’ve graduated with a first, or a 2:1, include that on your CV. Leave lower honours off.
What if you’re writing your CV with little or no work experience?
In this case, it’s your education that can make up for it. Consider two things:
- Put education above work experience.
- Add more details to your education section: dissertation title, relevant coursework, academic achievements, or extracurricular activities.
6. List Most Relevant Skills on a CV
What are the best skills for a CV?
In short: those that your employer wants from you.
Remember when I mentioned tailoring your CV to match the job description? Here it comes again.
How to Put Skills on a CV
- Make a spreadsheet with all of your professional skills.
- Include “hard” job-related skills, as well as soft, transferable skills (this Harvard study has revealed that combining technical and soft skills is becoming more and more important nowadays).
- Read the job ad carefully. Look for skills-related keywords and note them down.
- Go back to your spreadsheet. How many of your skills match those from the job description? Quite a few, right? Voila—these skills have to appear on your CV.
Note that it’s never a good idea to copy-paste ready CV skills list. But in case you feel you could use some inspiration, a recent survey revealed what transferable skills are most sought after by employers:
Best Skills to Put on a Curriculum Vitae
- Positive Attitude
- Good Communication Skills
- Teamwork Skills
- Strong Work Ethic
- Interpersonal/Customer Service Skills
- Time Management Abilities
7. Spice Up Your CV with These Extra Sections
Here’s the deal: all job seekers lie on their CVs.
Recruiters and hiring managers know that.
With little effort, you can make them actually believe yours.
Add additional CV sections that validate your worth on the job market. List verifiable achievements.
What to Put in a CV Additional Section
- Conference participation
- Industry awards
- Extra training
Don’t have any of the above? Well—get some. Do an online course, apply for a couple of industry conferences, get additional training. Most of these things won’t take more than 2 weeks to complete and they can make a hell of a difference for your curriculum vitae.
Still—you can think of other extra sections if the above examples don’t work.
Sample CV Additional Sections for Entry-Level Candidates
- Hobbies and interests
- Volunteering experience
- Personal blog
- Influencing on social media
- Academic achievements and accolades
To write a CV that gets jobs, follow these key strategies:
- At the top, just below your contact info, put a CV personal profile or a career objective.
- In the work experience CV section, focus on quantifiable achievements, not just duties and responsibilities.
- List both soft and hard skills.
- Add extra sections that prove your qualifications: certifications, courses, conferences, etc.
Doubts? Questions? Concerns. I’m here to listen and help you out. Drop me a line in the comments. Let’s chat!