How to write a CV: Curriculum Vitae Guide with Examples [2020]

Curriculum Vitae Guide

In this Curriculum Vitae Guide, we’ll show you exactly how to write a CV in 2020 and how to select which CV format is best for you. So we’ve rounded up the best CV writing tips to help you land plenty of job interviews in 2020 and beyond.

By following our CV beginners help guide, you will learn…

  • What is a CV? And, what is a resume?
  • How to write a CV. What to include in your CV in 2020?
  • How to choose the ideal CV design & format
  • What not to include

So, without further ado, let’s get started…

What is a CV? And, what is a resume?

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV as it is more commonly known, is an in-depth, two or more pages, a summary of an individual’s professional and educational history used in the process of applying for job vacancies. CVs are the first things a potential employer will see as part of this process.

A resume is a brief document classically no longer than one page as the intended reader will not dwell on it for any great length of time. The aim of a resume is to allow an individual to stand out from their fellow applicants; the competition!

CV tips
Diff between Curriculum Vitae and Resume

How to Write A CV – Step by Step

  • Choose the right format for your CV
  • Create your CV header
  • Write a Personal Statement, which grabs recruiters’ attention with a powerful introductory profile
  • List your work experience and key skills matched to that in the job description
  • Including your achievements where applicable to help you stand out from the crowd
  • List your Education
  • Use CV keywords and action verbs
  • Include some of your hobbies and personal interests
  • Proofread the CV before sending it to anyone
How to write a CV

Add Your Contact Information in a CV (The Right Way)

Contact Details

Your contact information is arguably the most important part of your CV. After all, even if you get everything right, it’s not going to matter much if they can’t contact you.

Make sure you triple-check everything in your contact information, word for word, and that it’s up to date. 

Aside from the basic contact information, you also might want to consider putting your social media handles – as long as they’re relevant.

Grabs recruiters’ attention with a powerful introductory profile

A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective, and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s a short paragraph that sits just underneath your name and contact details giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.

To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What can you offer the company?
  3. What are your career goals?

Experience and employment history

Your employment history section gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience.

List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the employer.

When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills, and achievements, and bolster each point with powerful verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact

Education and qualifications

Curriculum Vitae Guide

Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order.

When perfecting your education section, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:

  • If you don’t have any work experience, mention your education section first.
  • If you have a university degree, don’t mention your high school at all.
  • Mention your GPA only if it’s notable (anything between 3.5-4.0).

The above is a list of categories you’re likely to find on pretty much every CV ever. What goes into them is what matters though. They’re essential and in most cases, they decide whether you’re the right fit or not.

How to choose the ideal CV design & format

Your CV is the first thing an employer will see when you apply for their job vacancy, and in most cases, how it looks at first glance will determine if the employer decides to read it in more detail or not.

  • CV Length: Keep it brief and easily read by using clear spacing and bullet points. – two sides of A4 will almost always suffice.
  • Font Choice and Font Size: Choose something professional, clear and easy to read such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman with a font size between 10 to 12, although your name and the section headings can be a little larger (size 14 or 16) and/or bolded. Whichever you choose, avoid fonts like brush script or cooper black, that will make your CV look more like its fit for a comic or magazine rather than a job application.
  • Clear & Chronological Layout: The layout of your CV should be in a logical order, with sufficient spacing and clear section headings. Where you are listing items that include dates, for example, work and educational history, make sure you lay these out in chronological order; starting with the most recent items first in the list.
  • Spelling & Grammar: Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly… and then check it again!

What not to include

There are a variety of details that you shouldn’t include on your CV. Here are a few of the common ones:

A headshot: In many countries, it’s common practice to include a photo of yourself on your CV. But the UK is not one of them.

Age and date of birth: The only dates that should be on your CV are from employment and your qualifications. Your age doesn’t affect your ability to do the job, and it’s illegal for employers to ask about age under the Equality Act 2010.

Marital status: Like your age, your marital status and dependents don’t affect your ability to do your job. These details are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, and it’s against the law for employers to ask about them, so don’t include them on your CV.


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