How to Format Your CV

A CV is a document that you use to demonstrate to an employer the skills and qualifications you have for a certain line of work. It also summarizes important details about your past. A CV is different from a resume because it is usually longer and more detailed than a resume.

Different fields and levels of experience call for CVs that vary in format and details. However, there are still a number of general guidelines you should follow when writing your CV irrespective of your field or experience.


Here are some useful tips you will find invaluable as you craft your CV:

The Information to Include

Irrespective of the field to which you are applying for a position, some of the basic information is universal. Most CVs include the following:


  • Personal details
  • Education details
  • Your work experience
  • Your certifications and qualifications
  • Your skills
  • Your interests
  • Your references


You can include some of these sections and exclude the ones that are not applicable to you depending on your experience level. For example, if you are inexperienced and are looking for your first job or training opportunity, the work experience section will not be applicable.

If you are applying for consideration in the academic field, you should include your Thesis or dissertation title as well as your supervisor. Also, include your research and teaching experience.

Depending on your application, add or remove appropriate sections that will help your case and make you more likely to succeed. It cannot hurt to look at and work with curriculum vitae templates and samples of previously successful applicants and borrow a leaf from their designs.


Technical Details to Observe

A proper CV is, at the very least, a formal document. Being a formal document, you should adhere to the following rules of thumb:

  • Use formal font types like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.
  • Ensure that the font size is around 10-12. Names and section headings can be larger and/or bolded
  • Ensure uniformity in your writing. For example, if you choose to use a particular font, use it to the end; if you choose to put proper Nouns in Italics, do the same throughout the document.
  • Organize the content chronologically. Also, create bulleted lists of details that come in lists to keep the CV neat.
  • Proofread your CV because you want it to present you to your prospective employers in the best light. Simple mistakes with grammar or spellings of names can work against you.


Write a Custom CV for Each Application

Rather than write a generic CV that you send for every job opening, write a custom CV that suits each opportunity. It takes more time but it makes the right impression to future employers when you do that. Go through a few samples and read the instructions provided by the hiring company. They may have a certain expectation regarding the contents of your CV. Do not ignore to look into that.


You should view writing a CV as an opportunity to market yourself as the most competent individual applying for a gig. Writing the ideal CV is not an insurmountable task if you observe a few basic rules of formality and follow the steps of successful applicants who came before you.


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