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Studies show that only one of five employers take the time to read a curriculum vitae in its entirety. The best way to prevent your CV from being rejected after a cursory scan is to use job- and industry-specific CV templates and examples to guide your writing. View our professional templates and examples, and use our writing guide to craft your own impressive document to win over potential employers.
A curriculum vitae is an in-depth exploration of your career path, going into detail about your achievements, publications and awards. It is a unique way for the employer to view how you used your experience and position to create positive outcomes for your company or university. It’s a standard document in academia and in science- or research-oriented industries, and is the standard for all job applications in most European countries.
The templates and examples below will help you write a top-notch curriculum vitae. You will learn how to customize your document to your field of interest by making sure it contains the required job-related sections, includes properly written industry-specific content and demonstrates your understanding and ability to perform the job for which you are applying.
Physics PHD Candidacy
In this example, the candidate's strengths are his Publication and Presentation sections. It is a good idea to separate these as there are plenty of both. The font choice here may be too fussy and looks too stylized. The layout is unique, and it emphasizes important points and separate sections, which increases readability and makes good use of the available space.
Academic Research Associate - Medicinal Chemistry
This is a good example of the layout typical to the United Kingdom, but in many other ways it can serve as an example of what not to do. Generally, this one needs an editor for detecting capitalization errors, removing unimportant or unrelated information (specifically, a good driving record, the ability level of his violin playing and a part-time job as a customer service representative are all unnecessary) and for suggesting stronger action words.
Neuroscience PhD Candidacy
The first page looks great until the Personal Statement section (similar to a Motivation or Objective section). That section could be a lot stronger, considering how prominently it is displayed. There are some minor grammatical errors throughout and an overuse of underlining and bullet points. It is better to be prudent with formatting used to draw greater attention to one part of your CV.
Associate Professorship in Physics and Genomics
This example could use some formatting (boldface or italics) for emphasis, but overall this is an excellent example that makes the candidate appear quite impressive.
Apart from a bit of odd spacing on page 3 (the author might use italics or boldface rather than indentation here), this is an excellent CV. Even though it is a pharmacy CV, it is probably too long to appeal to an employer in the industry, and might be better suited for an applicant looking for a research position at a university or offering services as part of a panel or advisory board.
Go to page 20 for the Jane Alexander Example. There are a few minor errors here, but they add up. Jane's address could have appeared across the top of the page rather than four lines; this is too much emphasis on something that is less important. Another line is used on the second page to tell the reader that the previous section has been continued. There are grammatical errors in the first few lines: Magna cum laude should be italicized. Finally, the formatting is not consistent throughout. This is an impressive candidate, but aspects of the CV make her look unorganized and less qualified than she might expect.
Environmental Studies And Politics Academic
This is another classic United Kingdom-style CV. The layout is superlative; the only issue is a lack of parallelism in verb tenses.
Politics And Communication PhD Candidacy
This is an excellent example of how the author includes her nonacademic employment because that work relates peripherally to her overall career direction. Using bold formatting for her name in the Publications section might have broken up the repetitive look, but overall the layout is clear and clean. Note the interests and professional associations are merged in the Activities section.
PHD In Literature
While this candidate includes all the information required, and focuses on her teaching experience, the sections of her CV are out of order. Remember to lead with your strengths. In this example, the educational employment should be presented immediately, not on page 4.
PHD In Philosophy
This is a good example of a professional. It is worth noting that if your CV is going to be long (this one is seven pages), then it is acceptable to include more white space. The most important factors are that it appears clean and organized, and that it reads well.
PHD In Architecture
By the time potential employers reach the end of the first page in this example, they will know about the PhD from Harvard and all of the publication history as well as scholarship and award history. This is a smart use of space. This candidate also knows his strengths, which is instruction. This is why he placed his research and teaching interests front and center. It is an unusual choice to put this so early, but it works here. To break up all the visual sameness, we suggest using bold formatting for the dates in the Fellowships and Awards section.
PHD In Music
This example for Vidita Chatterjee is another effective document. The current position has been placed first to emphasis the teaching experience, and her Education section prominently displays her graduate degree in education. This emphasizes the most important piece of information throughout, which is that she is looking to become a music instructor at the graduate level. The use of white space and the alignment of dates are effective in giving the CV a professional look.
This is another strong example of how to create a CV. It allows the reader to understand the qualifications of the applicant at first glance. The choice to place her research interests all on one line and separated by semicolons allows the reader to spot her research experience on the first page rather than second. The judicious use of boldface allows the reader to spot important information easily. The addition of a Languages section is a wise choice, given that her language proficiency is both remarkable and an asset in her field (history).
This CV is a strong example for a psychology student, with useful marked commentary. Using citations in the References section is not a requisite for all fields, but it follows APA style, which is typically used in the field of psychology. The use of space is well done in that the dates are lined up and the descriptions are indented so that the reader is naturally drawn from section to section. The descriptions themselves could use a little work. Remember to describe your accomplishments in some detail, and not just outline them.
Undergraduate Math And Physics
This is a great example for a young professional with limited research experience, and it would be ideal for any industry. However, the applicant's personal information should be more prominent (not hidden at the end), and more attention could be paid to the layout. Especially when a CV is short, pay attention to white space. Also, the section entitled Academic and Related Professional Experience needs editing to make it more readable.
PHD Of Science In Physics
With only two pages, this sample manages to convey the candidate's credentials, potential and personality, complete with a few hobbies toward the end. The emphasis on tennis throughout is a bit much, as it should be in the Activities section or in the Employment section, but overall this is a well-written CV.
The professional summary in this example could use some work because it describes characteristics rather than accomplishments. Including “Utilizing strong communication skills” as its own sentence need particular attention: it is only a fragment and not a full sentence. Placing his education into a chart is a good choice because it organizes the information and is visually unique from the rest of the CV. One assumes that Personal History is something the potential employer required, or may be standard in Pakistan. Still, the Personality Traits section is best replaced by an Accomplishments section. Anyone can say they have certain characteristics; however, detailing specific accomplishments shows what you can do.
There is some repetition in the Motivation section (new/new/new). There are also a few typos that could have been easily remedied by a careful proofread. On the second page, the bullet points could have been indented to create a better sense of order and clarity. That said, this candidate describes his accomplishments in a way that is straightforward, clear and impressive. Size: 350 KB
Be on the lookout for requested formats from employers. If there is no guidance given on the CV structure in the request, keep in mind there are no set rules beyond the fact that your name and contact information ought to go first, and that you must include the core sections described above. The rest is all about what you want to emphasize in your CV. This is based on what you believe your potential employer most values.
Which sections should be placed at the beginning? If you are applying to a research-based university, it is your research and publications. If you are a graduate student applying to a doctoral program, it would be your education, as it is your most impressive recent accomplishment. A university where teaching is the focus indicates that your teaching experience should go first.
If you are going into industry, then highlighting your technical skills, administrative experience and maybe community service is important. Employers may focus their attention on the first half of the first page, so you should lead with the category that best presents your skills or is most suited to the position in question.
Look at our many examples to see how others have leveraged their skills and experience to their best advantage. Ask people in your discipline to show you their CV. It’s even better if you know someone has struggled to find a position and someone was accepted right away. If you know that these individuals have relatively similar skill sets, their CVs can serve as weak and strong examples, respectively. But the best solution is to use Hloom’s repository of CV templates and examples.
Qualities represent potential. Accomplishments represent reality. Guess which an employer values more? Focus on accomplishments or responsibilities in your CV rather than traits. For example, it’s more effective to state that you led your team to finish a research study in record time and under budget than to blandly state you have “leadership qualities,” which is an intangible.
White space and readability is of the utmost importance. You can use the Print Preview in MS Word to get a good feel for your layout. It will show you where fonts or margins are too big or too small, or where information looks cramped. In industry, white space is especially important: go for clarity and readability over impressiveness and length.
Don’t get fussy with your fonts. For stylistic purposes, consider using normal font with some bold or italics. Mixing too many font types together creates disharmony when what you want is clarity and organization. Not only does this help make your document more readable but it also makes you, the applicant, appear straightforward and organized. Use Hloom’s repository of CV templates and our easy-to-use CV builder to design a professionally designed document.
Building a professional CV is easy with the help of Hloom’s CV tools. Our repository of CV templates and easy-to-use CV builder can help you design a document to set you apart from other job applicants and help you get the job you want.