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Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin phrase meaning “course of life”. It is commonly used when you are planning to apply for a job position or a program. The first step of creating a CV is knowing what to put into a CV.
Keep on reading to find out what are the essential components to include in a CV.
Another document that is often used for job applications globally is a resume. Are resumes actually different from CVs in terms of its content? What do you include in a CV and what do you include in a resume? Or are they the same document with just different terms? Here are the answers to the differences between a CV and a resume.
A CV is a list of details and information that you have gone through in your life including all achievements, experiences, and positions. On the other hand, a resume is used to show your experience, skills, and knowledge to your employer.
Therefore, only particular information that is needed for the job should be included in a resume. The key difference here is that a CV contains all of your personal experiences and background, but a resume contains only information that is relevant to help you land an employment.
A CV’s purpose is to tell people about yourself professionally. If you do not know what to put on your CV, here are the essentials as well as some additional information that you should include in your CV.
Like any document that you hand in, you have to put your name clearly at the beginning of your CV to tell the employer who you are. Contact details are also important so that they can easily reach you.
After your name and contact details, you should include a personal profile statement in your CV. It is a summary of all the contents of your CV. You should keep it short and simple by introducing yourself and also including some information that you will be mentioning later.
If you have any working experience, no matter if it is an office job or tertiary sector, list them down. Even if you participated in voluntary work, you should include it to better show character because there are not many people who are willing to be a volunteer.
💡 Pro Tip: If you are creating a CV for a job application, summarize your key personality traits, skills and notable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, while inserting keywords from the job description.
One of the most important things that you need to include is your education and qualifications. You should include the name of the institution that you graduated from and the year you graduated. Some companies care much about where you graduated from.
💡 Pro Tip: If you want to include an ongoing degree, write your estimated year of graduation instead.
The last most important thing to include is your skills. This could be any skills ranging from technical skills that are specific to your field, softwares/applications that you could use, language skills, to soft or interpersonal skills.
📚 Further reading: List of Important Skills for a CV [+ How to Write & Where to Put Them]
After completing the basic parts, you would have a complete CV that you can submit for applications. However, if you want to stand out more among other people’s CVs, here are some things you could also consider putting on your CV..
If you have participated in various competitions or joined some events where you might get some awards and achievements, why not include that in your CV? It helps prove some of your talents and skills that might be useful for the job you are applying for. Do not forget to also list the authority who gave you the award, as well as the date.
📚 Further reading: How to Write Achievements in a CV? [+ Examples]
By including your hobbies and interests in your CV, you can show others your passion for a particular thing. For example, if you are applying to work for a marketing job, you can put social media, graphic design, writing and photography as your hobbies as these are useful interests that can give you the upper leg in the position
References can be very important when employers take a liking to you but many suggest that they should not be included in your CV as they usually are not necessary in this part of the recruitment process. If you are creating an academic CV, make sure that you:
If you have published a book, journal, or article, including it in your CV can help show your research and writing skills too. Make sure to use a consistent formatting style throughout your CV such as APA or MLA.
📚 Further reading: How to List Publications on Resume (+ Format & Examples)
Include the job-specific information if you have any that can show your help to the company. This includes some professional skills that you have gained in your past experience.
After introducing the elements that should be in a CV, you should also know the things that should not be in it. Let’s take a look at what information should not be included in a CV.
A CV is a formal document, so it should appear as professional as possible. Therefore, you should not include gimmick fonts that are just for aesthetic purposes. Fonts to use in a CV are always about readability. Arial or Times New Roman is always the safe choice for every document.
📚 Further reading: 10 Best Fonts for a CV to Create an Eye-catching CV
You should always avoid stating your date of birth and age because it has nothing to do with your experience and skills. It is better to leave them out so that it does not allow room for discrimination and affect the evaluations of recruiters.
Do not include your full residential address in a CV as it is personal information. Giving out information like this can be very dangerous and might lead to misuse of the data. After all, most applications are now done online through email, so it’s very unlikely that the recruiter would require your address.
Some information like marital status and religion are highly unnecessary and might only bring unwanted discussion to the interview. Asking for such information might even go against the labor laws of some country, so you never have to include them in your CV.
When creating a CV, it should be professional. Do not include an unprofessional email address like [email protected] or email addresses that are hard to identify like [email protected] as it people might not find them funny but rather unprofessional, which is not a good impression that you want to make to your potential employers.
In some countries like the US, profile photos are not allowed on a CV as they can cause discrimination and can be against labor laws. Make sure to check what the rules are like in your country before deciding whether you should include a photo in your CV or not.
If you decide to include a photo in your CV, you can place at the very beginning of your self introducing section, but do not include informal photos like a photo of you during your vacation. Always opt for a professional headshot that shows your face clearly with adequate makeup and a professional smile.
📚 Further reading: When and When Not to Put a Photo on Your CV
You might have experienced many things throughout your life. However, not all of them should be mentioned in your CV, especially when you are deciding on things to include in your job application CV. The goal of creating a CV is to share about yourself while aiming to get yourself hired, so only include information that can give your CV a boost in the job application process.
Lying in your CV is never a good idea. The lies you put in your CV might also put you in more trouble when you cannot answer questions during the interview or prove what you say in your CV during the job.
Personal information is the first thing that your employer will see when they take a look at your CV. It is simple and basic, but some information can be too personal to share. Don’t worry, here is a list of the personal information that you should put on your CV.?
You should include a phone number in your CV so that your employer can contact you if they would like to proceed to the next steps of the hiring process with you.
💡 Pro Tip: Make sure to double check that the phone number your include in your CV is correct.
Leaving an email address allows the recruiter to notify you if there were to be any news. Put them on the top of your CV so that the recruiter could find it easily.
Sometimes, the recruiter would like to consider your location if you need to come to the office often, or if you are working remotely. Instead of putting your complete address, you can simply state your city/region and postal code on your CV. This helps show your background information to the employer without exposing too much personal detail.
People nowadays have countless social media accounts. Some even use them to show off previous works as a portfolio. You can attach the link or username of your social media handles so that the employers can view your portfolio.
When you have professional working experience, hobbies and interests are redundant because your experience is worth more. If you are freshly graduated with zero working experience, including your hobbies and interests are very helpful in showing your personality.
Here are some good hobbies and interest to include in your CV:
People who love and play well with board and puzzle games mostly have a good time when planning out strategies quickly to defeat the opponent. Due to these games having countless ways to win, it shows one’s talent in solving problems in a short amount of time.
Playing sports not only requires strong physical stamina, but also often involves team working skills, logic and strategic thinking, as well as planning and time management. Having interest or experience in sports can show recruiters that you possess these soft skills that are useful in the workplace.
Some people love creating artistic things through art. They are known for their creativity. Companies that need creative and inspiring ideas will take notice of these people.
Traveling shows one’s adventurous personality which comes with bravery that dares to try things and take risks. It also allows an individual to be exposed to new cultures, languages and experiences, which can be traits that are valued by employers in the workplace.
Engaging in volunteer work not only requires skill, but also good character. It shows integrity in using your skills to give back to the community. Not only is this a good chance to illustrate to the recruiters how you can apply your skills in real-life practice, it also shows proactive character, which is always valued in any workplace.If you include this in your CV, it can raise the percentage of getting employed.
A CV has to show the skills that you possess that you can put to use when needed in the job. Employers always expect their interviewees to be impressive at something when they look through a CV. Some of them hope to see good time management skills, some of them hope to see particular software using skills. By including a list of your skills, you can add more points to your scoreboard. So, what do we have to write in the skills section of a CV?
Here are some in-demand skills that you can put in your CV:
Since you have mentioned your skills, now is the time to prove them with some achievements from your past experience. Adding past achievements can serve as proof of how you utilized your skills to produce real results.
Here are 5 things that you should include in your CV to show your achievements:
🔑 Key Takeaways:
A CV can be quite long if you have many things to include. Thus, you should take your time working on it. Then, make changes and updates when you can add in more elements. After the tips and hints above, you should now know what to put into a CV and why they should be in it. A CV is very important for job hunting as it is the first impression you give the employers before an interview. Don’t wait and start creating your CV as soon as possible.
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--- Originally written by Ryan Goh ---