What Is a CV? Curriculum Vitae Definition and Examples
After reading this guide, you will
- learn the CV meaning and its role in the job search;
- understand what is a CV when applying for a job of any level;
- know what elements of your professional life to include;
- find out what senior job applicants write in their CVs;
- see the ways to present your work experience.
What Does CV Mean?
Although CV is a form of autobiography, unlike the latter, it focuses on professional accomplishments and their potential applications. To answer the question “what is a CV?”, you should first imagine your life as a linear set of events that impact and improve your skills and enrich your experience. All experiences form your curriculum vitae, but only a few of them could serve as a basis for job application.
CV is essential for academicians as it describes the entire course of professional development. Other job applicants use it as an alternative for a resume or an addition to it.
What Is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?
Despite all similarities, CV and resume are different concepts.
- A CV describes the personal history, including higher education and academic activities, supplementing the information with facts about published works, awards, and merits.
- Descriptions go in chronological order.
- The narrative is quite vast and spiced with as many details regarding professional activities as possible.
- Technically, the choice between a CV and a resume is not restricted by profession. Yet, this format is most often used by journalists, medical specialists, scientists, etc., to describe their entire career (training, internships, publications, achievements).
So, it is quite a detailed document.
Resumes definition varies in different counties. In general, it is a much shorter text than a CV. It aims to give the recruiter and employer a general idea of your work experience with few details.
- Work experience should be narrated from the latest job to the first.
- Only those who have little work experience could write about educational achievements.
- A resume is much shorter than a CV (1-2 pages against up to 5 pages of text).
Writing resumes and CVs is a skill that people gain in the process of studying. To find the answer to the question “what is a CV/resume?”, read further. You can always rely on professional resume writing services out!
Format of a CV
To understand what is the format of a CV that could be considered traditional, look at the following list.
- Your name and contact information.
- Education. Describe it at length, not just the name of the university and the program.
- Work experience.
- Additional information.
The last section is your chance to present yourself better and emphasize your strengths, skills, and abilities. List and explain your achievements, participation in competitions, hobbies, and interests. Use one font for all blocks and do a grammar review.
How to Make Curriculum Vitae?
CV writing is not an easy skill to master.
- Find out what your most relevant skills are.
- Make sure that your contact information looks decent. Avoid personalized email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check for errors and irrelevant data.
In a classic curriculum vitae, the candidate needs to give the recruiters or enrolment boards all relevant information about their achievements and skills. In the Personal Information section, one should mention
- full name;
- date of birth (in some cases, a candidate may skip this information);
- phone numbers and an indication of which one is used for messengers;
- a relevant email address;
- the name of the city the candidate lives in or is going to move to.
John James Doe
Date of birth: 16th June 1990
Date of birth: 16th June 1990
Address: 100 Second Street, apt. 67, Chicago, USA
Different recruiters have different ideas on what is a CV job application. Employers who hire graduate students with little experience would have nothing to read in a resume.
This section is a must for the school graduates who have little or no work experience. For example:
- Achieved the highest grade in business studies in 2011
- Gained the first prize at International Students Conference dedicated to innovative business management
- Became Student of the Month twice in May and November 2013 (awarded Departmental Assessment Committee)
To add a CV on an application, the applicant needs to recollect everything related to professional life.
The list in this section should include
- a company or organization name;
- your job title;
- years of professional activity;
For example, it could look like this:
April 2011 - September 2014
Main duties performed:
- Full administrative support of the office manager
- Printing, laminating, binding, and filing of documents
- Drafting formal email letters on behalf of the department head
The Most Relevant Skills
Recruiters rely on what is in a CV rather than their own assumptions. So, it is the job of a candidate to list all their relevant hard and soft skills to captivate the employer’s interest.
Usually, a job description makes it easy to highlight the skills and achievements most compatible with the potential work. For example, if a company is looking for a sales manager, a good skills list would look as follows:
- understanding the specifics and direction of the industry in which the company operates;
- attention to detail and ability to work with large amounts of information;
- knowledge of foreign languages (Spanish C1, German B2);
- business communication and correspondence skills;
- sales planning skills;
- skills in factor analysis and forecasting;
- direct sales skills;
- objection handling skills.
More details about most relevant skills can be found in the following article at https://skillhub.com/resume-skills. We are at Skillhub to help you.
Awards Suitable for This Position
A curriculum vitae definition stipulates that a person has to describe their entire life experience in full details. Yet, this document has to focus more on achievements in a certain field. The Awards section shows that you are willing to go the extra mile.
This section aims to make your application and candidacy appealing to the employer. It may look as follows:
- Best Graduate of the Year Award (by State University)
- Mid-market awards (by Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
Previous Publications and Presentations
In a professional CV, this section shows academic achievements. It indicates that a candidate has strong research skills. For example, authors of well-grounded research papers and publications could give a summary of their works and add a DOI number so that the recruiter or an admission board could read the full text.
- “Psychological Analysis of Movie Characters. Elementary School Students’ Behavioral Patterns Shift Initiated by Disney Movie Characters” (Published by Academia.edu in 2015; DOI: xx. xxxx.sampledoi2/xxx)
- “Cognitive Psychology and the Impact of Its Development on the New Educational Trends” (Published by Academia.edu in 2016; DOI xx. xxxx.sampledoi/xxx)
Memberships of Professional Organizations
This section of a CV is essential for lawyers, top managers, and journalists who move to a different location looking for a job. By indicating membership in various affiliations and associations, a candidate shows that different organizations could confirm your qualifications. For example, a CV of an IT specialist could mention the following:
- Honorary member of Chartered Institute for IT sphere (since 2019)
- Association of Information Technology Professionals (since 2021)
To define what is a CV for a job, you should understand that the concept of a CV includes a broad set of elements and additional data on your academic and personal life.
Check All Mistakes
We have defined above what does CV stand for, what sections it should contain, and what are the main guidelines for CV writing. Before submitting the text, check it for grammatical errors and breaches of logical flow. For example, you could ask somebody to be your professional mentor and use an online spelling checker to improve the text’s quality. Do not forget to mention relevant coursework and membership in job-related organizations.
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CV Additional Sections
You’ve probably asked “what is the best hobbies and interests to put on a CV?”. The answer is – don’t put them there unless your hobbies directly correspond with the job or internship you are applying for. Qualified professionals could benefit from adding the following sections:
- applicable training experience;
- job-related certifications;
- supplementary education;
- data on participation in сonferences and forums;
- completed online courses and workshops.
Student CV Additional Sections
A student also needs to write a CV when applying for jobs. Yet, it would differ from the one of an experienced specialist. Unlike the latter, students have no experience, but they may add the following sections to broaden their CVs:
- portfolio (it could be a link to a blog or an Instagram page);
- section with personal interests (mention only job-relevant ones);
- business skills section that would describe strategies you used to, for example, resolve conflicts.
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What Is a CV Template?
A quality CV that would catch the employer's attention should have a strict structure.
Financial and Marketing Analyst
Address: 201 First Street, apt. 25, NewYork, USA
Date of birth: 25th July 1985
I am seeking a position with a company where I can use my ability to analyze data sets and prepare financial forecasts. Also, I would like to apply my recently acquired marketing skills for the benefit of international projects.
State University, Department of Economics, master’s degree in marketing (2006–2010). The major field of studies was the research or marketing performance in the eastern region.
Marketing specialist courses in Marketing College, started in 2019 up to present.
These courses aim to improve marketing skills and the understanding of new digital marketing trends.
Company Name 1, 2015 – present time
Washington DC, USA
Started as an assistant to a financial analyst. After a few serious tasks, I moved up to the senior assistant position. Later, became a financial analyst. I currently work in this position. The job comprised the following aspects.
- Preparing business plans
- Planning investment activities and budget
- Analyzing data sets collected through all the departments
- Fluent German
- Working knowledge of Chinese
- Computer literacy (Microsoft Office, Atlassian Apps)
Best Financial Analyst of the Year (in-house competition at Company Name)
Jane Doe, Marketing Director at Company Name
Take a look at 5 Quick Techniques How to Address a Cover Letter. Our professional cv writers have done deep work to put only the best in it.
The Bottom Line
Writing resumes and CVs is a complex task. It requires an understanding of one’s abilities, limitations, and marketable skills. Besides, there is a difference between what is a job CV and what is a university application CV.
An applicant striving for success should know that information and in what order it should be included in a CV. A quality resume or CV increases the chances of getting hired or at least landing an interview.
Drawing up a resume is a skill that could be mastered by repetition. Ordering a CV on specialized sites may be the answer if you want to skip the repetition part. Either way, The resume writers at SkillHub are always ready to help you.
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Click here for more on how to address a cover letter.