How to Write a CV: 10 Essential Parts & Writing Tips

While searching for jobs, CV and resume are the two words we see in many job descriptions. However, many job seekers may have difficulties telling the difference between “CV'' and “Resume''. Let’s begin with the definition of a resume. 

Résumé is a french word that means “summary”. A resume is to showcase your technical skills and personal achievements. It is recommended to use resumes when you have at least one year of working experience. The resume highlights your competencies within your working experience, and the length is about one to two pages. 

Turning to CV, what is a CV? Curriculum Vitae means a “course of life” in Latin.

Differ from a  resume, a CV presents a detailed story about a job seeker’s educational background, research achievements, and professional experiences

How long should a CV be?

The average length of a CV is around two to three pages, but it may vary on job seekers’ experiences. 

🔍 Read The Best CV Layout to learn more about the right length and font of a perfect CV!

Writing a good CV to land the dream job seems critical for everyone. Moreover, your CV plays an essential role in your applications. 

Where should you start? 

What should you include in your CV? 

Well, we are here to save your time and help you. This article will provide ten essential parts to add to your CV and writing tips to make your CV stand out.

Many of you may wonder what does “CV” stands for?

Nowadays, CV is widely used for applying for jobs and academic positions.

What Is a CV for Job Application? 

In the previous sections, we have mentioned what does “CV” stand for. It depends on your purposes. Are you applying for academic positions or non-academic jobs? Based on the goal, CV can be divided into ...

  • academic CV
  • CV for non-academic jobs

Let's start from “academic CV”, such as academic CV for Ph.D. application, or academic CV for lecturers. It would be nice to emphasize your research achievements, educational qualifications, teaching experiences, or awards. Adding these helps your academic CV stand out and shows you are the best fit for the position. 

What to include on an academic CV ...

If you are a student, an academic CV for Master’s applications or an academic CV for a scholarship will help you.

The submitted CV should at least contain the following 3 elements to help prove that you are an outstanding candidate.  

  1. research interest
  2. publications
  3. awards 

Moving to “CV for non-academic jobs”, there is a slight difference from “academic CV”. It is tailor for job applications.

Before writing a CV for job, you should have a list of job positions on your mind or a clear picture of your dream job. It is because a CV for job application is closely associated with job descriptions. Thus, the wording and structure of CVs for employment should be customized to the positions. 

However, you may still struggle with what you should include to make your CV stand out. Don’t worry. We are going to provide more details in the next section. 

What to Include in a CV
- 10 Key Elements

Now you have some insights about “What is a CV’’ and the difference between “academic CV & CV for jobs”. We are moving to the core part, “What to put on a CV.”

There are 10 key elements that you should include in a CV. We will introduce them one by one with examples.

1. Contact Details

It sounds obvious to put contact details on a CV; however, sometimes job seekers might forget to include detailed information. 

Add your ... in the contact details section.

  • name
  • address
  • email address
  • phone number

If you have a personal website, it is also recommended to include it!

David CHEN

60 Boulevard Berthier, 75001 Paris | [email protected] | +44 01 25 66 78

2. CV Title (CV Headline)

What is a CV title? Is it necessary to add a CV title?

CV title or CV headline is a short term to emphasize your competence and value. An excellent CV title will enhance the chances of your CV being read by recruiters. 

How to write your CV headline? We have prepared some CV title ideas that cater for job seekers at different statuses.    

CV title with no experience - example:

  • Nursing Graduate with Training eExperience in Acute Care
  • Marketing Student with Social Media Management Experience

💡 These CV headline examples  are helpful for fresh graduates. 

CV title for the unemployed - example:

  • Google Certified Data Analyst Specialized in SQL and R

💡 If you are hunting for jobs for a while or have a gap in your professional experience, a CV title for the unemployed may be suitable for you. 

It can be helpful to focus on some projects or online training you have done during your unemployment. Create a CV title highlighting your skills at the same time and matching the job descriptions. 

CV title with professional experience - example:

  • Customer Care Specialist with 5 Years' Experience in Customer Success
  • Web Designer with 3 Years of Experience and Skilled in Adobe & Indesign

💡 If you’ve already had professional experience, here are some CV headline examples for you.

3. Personal Profile (CV Summary)

A personal profile, personal statement, or CV summary is a small paragraph around 3 to 5 phrases to summarize your professional experience, key achievements, and competencies. 

How to write a good personal statement for a CV and make your CV stand out?

First of all, the elements you add in your CV personal statement should match the job descriptions and showcase your traits. 

CV summary example for fresh graduates:

“ A detail-oriented and motivated nursing student at Washington University with a GPA of 3.83. Passionate about improving patients’ quality of care and have experience in the pediatric ward and intensive care unit. Obtained award for the extraordinary nursing student in 2019. ”

CV summary example for job applications:

“ A digital marketing professional with five years of experience in multicultural and start-up companies. Specialize in social media management, online advertisement display, and e-commerce. Improved e-commerce conversion rate by 5 % through social media campaigns. ”

4. Key Skills

Another element to put on your CV is key skills. If you are wondering what skills to put on your CV, below are the 3 fundamental skills that you should consider including in the CV skills section. 

1. Hard skills (Technical skills)

It should highly relate to the job description because these skills show you are qualified for this position.

2. Soft skills (Personal skills)

These skills are highly associated with your personality and traits. 

3. Other skills 

Showcase any special skills you possess, such as language skills and computer skills.

CV skills section example:

Hard skills

  • Social Media Tools: Canva, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Photoshop
  • Advertisements Tools: Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, TikTok Ads, LinkedIn Ads
  • Google Certifications: Google Analytics, Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, Google Data Studio

Soft skills

  • Collaboration
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving

Other skills

  • Language: Chinese (Native), English (Fluent, TOEFL 110), Japanese (Fluent, JLPT N1)
  • Computer skills: G Suite, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook

5. Work Experience

There is no doubt that the work experience section plays a vital role in a CV. 

How to write work experience in a CV? 

  • Using bullet points to summarize your main achievements and adding quantified results are highly recommended. 
  • Quantified results allow recruiters to easily know your value and competence.

Work Experience

September. 2019 - Present
Digital Marketing Manager, Microsoft 

  • Led the digital marketing team with five members, and collaborated with product design and research development teams.
  • Launched seasonal promotion events online and offline with an increase of 20% revenue. 

July 2017 - August 2019
Digital Marketing Assistant, Microsoft

  • Conducted daily social media campaigns on LinkedIn and Twitter, improving social media engagement rate by 30%.
  • Organized online and offline user workshops to collect user opinions with 500 participants. 

6. Education

In the CV education section, the chronological structure is widely used. Education experience is listed in sequence from the most recent. 

Whether you should put the CV education section at the beginning of your CV depends on your professional experiences. If you are a fresh graduate, it would be nice to put the CV education section right after the CV header with some relevant courses as a highlight. 

However, if you already have professional work experience, you could put your CV education section after the work experience section. 


September. 2015 - June. 2017
Washington University School of Medicine - Master in Public Health

September. 2011- June 2015
The University of Edinburgh - BN Nursing Studies

7. Achievement

Personal achievements could be awards or any successful projects you've worked on. This section may be flexible according to job seekers’ situations. 

What are some good achievements to put on a CV?

For instance, if the awards are highly related to job descriptions and well-known in the industry, you may consider adding them. 

Achievement examples for a CV:


2019 Red Dot Award: Product Design - Winner


Conducted an online training program for 2,000 employees with a post-training satisfaction rate of 95%.

8. Publication List 

The publication list section is standard for academic CVs, such as CVs for Master’s, Ph.D., or research assistant applications. 

How to write publications in a CV ...

There are 3 elements you could include in this section for your academic CV. 

  • the title of publication
  • the journal’s name
  • the year of publication

The publication list section is usually below the education section and presented in bullet points

Examples for the CV publication list section:

The impact of using social media on consumers decision making, Pharmaceutical Marketing Journal, July  2017.

9. Hobbies & Interests

Is it necessary to include hobbies and interests in a CV for jobs? It depends on personal experiences and the length of a CV. 

💡 If you are a student, a fresher, or do not have much professional experience, adding hobbies and interests to your CV is recommended.

What are the best hobbies and interests to put on a CV? Finding hobbies and interests could show your traits and soft skills such as cooperation or self-determination skills. 

Hobbies and interests examples to put on a CV:

Participated in the Taipei Marathon and obtained a finisher’s certificate.

Playing basketball:
Captain of the basketball school team and basketball coach for children’s summer camp.

10. References

Do you put references on a CV? There are two main situations that you should put references on your CV. 

Firstly, it is required in the job descriptions. Secondly, the references can greatly increase your chance of getting an interview. Primarily the reference is working in your dream company. 

Only put references on your CV under these circumstances ...

  1. It is required in the job descriptions.
  2. Adding it can greatly increase your chance of getting an interview.

How to write references on a CV?

No matter you’re writing an academic CV or a CV for jobs, you should ask for permission first. After obtaining permission from your reference, follow 4 simple steps below to write the references section on your CV.

How to write references on a CV?

  1. List the reference’s name.
  2. Including his/her job title and company name.
  3. Add his/her email address and phone number.
  4. Briefly introduce the relationship between you and the reference. 


Previous team leader 

Current job title: Human Resources Manager at Google
Contact number: 33 07 34 22 11 
Contact Email: [email protected]

Top 5 CV Writing Tips

After knowing what to put on a CV, it is time to learn some tips for writing a perfect CV.

In this section, we will show you the top 5 writing tips to craft a professional CV. These tips will help your applications shine and make your CV stand out. 

Tip 1: Research job keywords.

When you already have a list of your dream jobs, take your time to do some in-depth research online. 

What kind of keywords are used in the job descriptions?  

Are there any unique corporate jargons?

Using these keywords will not only make your CV stand out but also show your professionalism.

Take social media manager for example ...

While searching for “social media manager job description” on Google, you will see the following keywords:

  • social media communication
  • community management
  • content creation
  • brand promotions

These words are the key elements you should blend into your CV profile summary, professional experience, and skills sections. These keywords can help you get your CV noticed by human resources or hiring managers. Additionally, you will have a higher opportunity to get a job interview.

Tip 2: Use the STAR method. 

What is the STAR method? 

It is an acronym of “Situation”, “Task”, “Action”, “Result”.

This method is commonly used for a behavioral interview to help employers find suitable candidates. You may wonder how exactly to use the STAR method in your CV. To answer this question, we need to know what STAR means in a CV.

⭐ STAR in CV

  • S - Situation: your previous job title
  • T - Task: what kind of project/ problem you have handled 
  • A - Action: how did you achieve this project, or how did you solve this problem
    → Showcase your skills and core competence!
  • R - Result: what kind of goals you completed, or what type of value you bought
    → Make sure your results are quantified!

Are you still confused? No worries, we have some examples for you. 

Example of using STAR method in a CV:

  • S: Social media manager
  • T: Managed Facebook daily campaigns 
  • A: Content and visual creation, online community management
  • R: Social media engagement rate increased three times, and social media conversion rate improved by 20%

After putting them all together ...

Managed Facebook daily campaigns, including content creation and online community management. Increased social media engagement rate three times, and improved social media conversion rate by 20%.

Tip 3: Add relevant personal skills.

You may have many skills, but putting them all together in your CV could be tricky.

Before adding personal skills, you should go back to the job description and answer the following 3 questions. 

  • What skills are necessary and required by the employers? 
  • How could these skills add value to my CV?
  • What are the skills commonly used in this industry?

Keeping in mind the job position’s qualification requirement can help you understand what skills to put on a CV.  

Tip 4: Choose the right CV format.

Choosing the suitable format for your CV is as important as selecting the proper outfit for your interview. It gives human resources and hiring managers the first impression of the candidate. How you visualize and structure the CV highly affects their reading experience. 

There are numerous CV formats or templates you can find online, but it’s crucial to figure out which one suits you best. It all ties up to the core piece – job description

The most common one is the chronological CV format. While using this format, make sure everything on your CV is in reverse chronological order, meaning the latest experience comes first.

📗 Want to know more? Check out the top 8 types of CV format.

Tip 5: Include your LinkedIn URL on your CV.

Why should you consider including LinkedIn URL in your CV?

You might be surprised by the figures. According to online research, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly. Over 40% of HR say that they may not give an interview if they cannot find the candidate’s profile on LinkedIn. 

Before adding LinkedIn URL on your CV ...

  1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.
  2. Customize your LinkedIn URL like this:[Name].

Writing a good CV is not an easy task. Spend a little more time and effort using these CV writing tips, you’ll have more chances of landing your dream jobs. 

You've learned ...

To sum up, we have learned the difference between a resume and CV, and two types of CV: academic CV and CV for non-academic jobs. Also, we have listed ten elements you should put on your CV, such as contact details, CV summary, education, work experience, and etc. 

Combining these elements and CV writing tips could help your CV stand out. A well-written and professional CV can not only increase your chances of getting an interview but also make your journey of job hunting more efficient. 

How to make an attractive CV as a student or a fresher with no experience ...

If you are a fresh graduate wondering how to make your first CV with no work experience, we suggest using online CV makers

The key benefits of using online CV makers is time-saving.

Cake provides 500+ real resume examples and professional guidance for you. Moreover, it is multi-device friendly and offers free CV PDF download. These features ease your pressure of writing a CV for the first jobs. 

Let’s put what we have learned today into practice and create your first CV online with Cake

--- Originally written by Sylvia Hsu ---

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