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A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a comprehensive overview of your work history, skills, academic achievements and published experience. Far lengthier and more detailed than a standard resume, the CV features sections dedicated to your research and teaching abilities as well as your professional accomplishments. A CV template is a pre-built but unfinished document that you can personalize for your professional needs. We have a number of templates designed for resumes that can easily be customized to your CV needs.
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Here, you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to format a CV template using our resume builder. Although a CV is far more detailed than a resume, it shares many of the same sections, including Skills, Work History and Education sections.
As our builder doesn’t come with pre-built CV templates, we have added features that allow you to easily add sections to create a CV. If you’d like to try writing one from scratch, you can also visit our CV writing guide.
Create the standard resume that our builder automatically generates — we’re going to build on this by adding sections unique to a CV until we have a job-ready document. The builder will ask you to complete the following steps before we can personalize the CV further. The result will be a fully-complete resume ready to customize into CV.
Once you’re done building a standard resume, you see a preview of your document on the center of your page.
1On the left-hand side, you’ll see a drop-down menu with a Spell Check feature as well as a Resume Sections menu.
2Click on the “Add a section” feature.
3Click “Add Your Own” option and name your section. For this demonstration, we’re going to create a Research Experience section.
4Name the section “Research Experience,” and click NEXT.
5This section will follow the same structure as a general work experience section.
6Choose the bold font option to write your Position Name and the Project Name.
7In regular font, write the name of the lab or academic institution and the date of your project contributions.
8In a bulleted list, add your contributions, responsibilities and end result for the research project in question.
9Repeat this formula for each research project you’ve worked on.
10Click NEXT: FINALIZE and move to the next step.
Click the “Add a section” feature and add new CV sections until your CV is complete! Remember — your CV does not need to include all of the following suggested sections. You should only add new sections if you have the relevant experience or if the job post specifically requires it.
Follow the standard Work History layout (Name of role, name of business or event, location of business or event, dates of role, and a brief description of the role in a bulleted list) for the following CV sections:
Follow the standard Education layout (name of award/article, name of business/publication, date received/published and location) for the following CV sections:
Follow the standard Skills bullet-list layout for the following CV sections:
Although CV and resume formats do share some similarities, they are drastically different. The resume is a shorter, compact document that is highly popular and widely used in the U.S. The CV is longer, more detailed, and is widely used in international job searches, with a few exceptions to some U.S.-based jobs that we’ll detail below.
In addition to the CV, Europe is starting to standardize their application requirements with a government-sanctioned CV known as the Europass, which combines features on the resume and CV. You can find a helpful comparison chart here to help you see the pros and cons of each layout.
Although this format is a lengthier application document with greater levels of professional details, the CV is rarely used in the United States. Most job applications require the simpler resume format, but you’ll need a CV if you apply to any job in the following career tracts.
Careers in traditional academic institutions such as four-year colleges often require a CV, especially if you’ve pursued a competitive tenure-track position. The dedicated teaching experience section, conference presentation and attendance sections, and publication sections provide more information about your academic credentials than a simple one-page resume
Whether you’re applying to a private lab or an academic institution, a CV provides far more context regarding your practical research experience and contributions, as well as a comprehensive bibliography of your published papers or research conclusions. Much like the academic CV above, this format provides hiring managers a greater summary of your experience and qualifications than the standard U.S. resume.
Unlike the previously mentioned career paths, federal jobs don’t explicitly ask for a CV. These applications ask for federal resumes (https://gogovernment.org/writing-your-federal-resume/), which share a very similar format to CVs, but require many of the same personal details you find on Europass CVs. If you’re applying for a job with the U.S. government, or in law enforcement or embassy work, be sure to include the following sections.
Optional sections include:
We advised you on how to format a standard CV template for the U.S. in the event you need to use one. If you’re interested in working abroad, however, you’ll need to update your CV to include the unique characteristics that each of the following regions requires.
Don’t worry — you won’t have to overhaul your entire CV. Most of these regional changes are limited to a few sections. We’ll only walk you through the sections that need edits — you can leave the rest of your CV as is. Best of luck with your international job search!
France: Based on our studies, both French job seekers and hiring managers prefer colorful layouts with graphs or picto-grams that add creative touches. French CVs tend to lean on customization in order to showcase personality in addition to professional experience. You can adapt your CV work in France by focusing on the following:
Germany: According to our surveys, German documents tend to be the most detailed of the European-based CVs. This document also borrows aspects from the American resume and requests a tailored summary statement that quickly ties your professional accomplishments to the requirements of an open job.
Italy: Italy’s job market is competitive and largely dependent on the economic stability of the region. It is doubly important that you revise your CV to meet the design and content standards expected by most hiring managers in the country.
Spain: The Spanish market follows a very similar layout to the standard CV we showed you how to make using our builder. However, a Spanish CV does feature a few regional design choices that you need to implement to succeed in their competitive job market. See our advice below:
United Kingdom: The UK CV follows a very unique structure and includes a few differences from the standard CV, including the shuffling of a few sections. The UK requires a professional summary and places employment information near the bottom of the document. This is a rare departure from the standard CV format. If you’re applying to a career in the following fields, update your document to follow the structure below
Mexico: CVs in this region lean towards more information and prefer simply designed templates. If you’re applying for a job in this region, you’re better off selecting one of the minimal templates offered in our builder and adding CV sections that relate to your professional history.
The average length of a CV should be around two to three pages, although your document might be longer or shorter than this average length. You might have a longer list of publications or more research experience that would make your CV longer. Unlike the resume, which should never exceed two pages unless you have more than 20 years of experience or are applying for an executive position role, the CV doesn’t have strict requirements.
A two to three page CV does make it easier for hiring managers to skim and quickly digest your resume, but you shouldn’t stuff or trim relevant skills, work, academic or research experience to fit that length. You are free to have a shorter CV if you have less experience, or a longer one if the information is crucial to the open position.
As you can see, the CV has far more specialized sections than a standard U.S. resume or Europass CV. However, there are a few bits of information and sections that should not put in your CV.
Unlike a standard U.S. resume, a CV includes multiple sections that offer you more opportunities to shine. You should include the following skills in your CV sections.