How to write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
How to write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
The CV (resume, in American English) is meant to introduce you and yourbackground to somebody who does not know you and barely has time to getto know you. It should present you in the best possible light, in aconcise and well-structured manner.
There are plenty of resumewritingguides out there, that can teach you to the smallest details how towrite one. Their regular problem is that they do not agree with eachother when it comes to details. This is why we have put here together anumber of generally agreed guide-lines, plus some specific details thatcould help EE students.
A regular CV for business purposes shoulddefinitely not go over one A4 page. If you intend to use it foracademic purposes and not for a job, the CV can pass that limit, on thecondition that you use the extra space to describe academic activities,like conferences, publications list, etc.
A well-written CV shows firstwhat is most important, but contains all relevant information. To thisgoal, we advise you to adapt it to your target (specific type of job orscholarship). Cut information from your CV only as a solution of lastresort, but pay attention to the order in which you present it in yourCV.
Print the CV on plain-white A4 paper, save some of the same type forthe cover letter – did we say that you should never, but never! send aCV without a cover letter – and find matching A4 envelopes. If theannouncement does not say anything about a cover letter, you stillshould send one.
It introduces your CV to the reader, attractsattention to certain parts of it that you want to bring to light, ormentions aspects that for some reason could not be listed in your CV.
To make it look neat, we suggest you use one of the Word pre-madeformats, unless you are a computer-savvy and feel confident that youcan produce an even better-structured and easier-toread format. Youwill be able to introduce you own headers in that format; below we havea word of advice for those most-often met in a CV.
Personal details – here you should include your birth date, contactaddress, email, telephone
number and nationality. In case you have botha permanent and study address, include both, with
the dates when youcan be contacted at each of them. Personal details can be written withsmaller
fonts than the rest of your CV, if you want to save space.
Theydo not have to jump in the reader?
attention – you will never convincesomebody to hire you because you have a nice email alias! If
your CVmanaged to awaken the reader’s interest, he or she will look aftercontact details – it is
important that they be there, but not that theyare the first thing somebody reads in your CV. You
should write yourname with a bigger font than the rest of the text, so that the readerknows easily
whose CV is he or she reading. If you need to save space,you can delete the Curriculum Vitae
line on the top of your CV. Afterall, if you have done a good job writing it, it should be obvious
thatthat piece of paper is a CV, no need to spell it out loud.
Objective – this is a concise statement of what you actually want todo. It’s not bad if it matches
the thing you are applying for. Don’trestrict it too much “to get this scholarship”, but rather “to
developa career in… ” the thing that you’re going to study if you get thescholarship. If you apply
for a job, you can be even more specific – “to obtain a position in… , where I can use my skills
You can usea few lines to describes that specifically, but keep in mind that youshould show what you can do for the company more than what the companycan do for you.
Writing a good
objective can be tough; take some timeto think about what exactly are you going to write there. If you, the visitor of our site, are who we think we are – a youngstudent, or a person who has just graduated, you should start your CVwith your education. Very probably, at this age it is your mostimportant asset.
We suggest you use the reverse chronological order,since it is more important what master? degree you have rather thanthat, very probably, you went to high school in your native town. Nomatter for which order you decide – chronological or reverse – youshould keep it the same throughout the rest of your CV.
Try to give anexact account of your accomplishments in school: grades (do not forgetto write the scale if it may differ from the one the reader of your CVis used to), standing in class (in percent), title of yourdissertation, expected graduation date if you think this is animportant aspect. There is no need to write all of the above,
but onlythose that put you in the best light. Are you not in the best 20% ofyour class? Better not to mention ranking then, maybe you still havegood grades, or your school is a renowned one. In any case, do not makeyour results better than in reality – you cannot know how thisinformation may be checked and the whole application will losecredibility.
Cheating is a very serious offense in Western schools. Awards received – you should introduce this header right after theeducation, in order to outline all the scholarly or otherwisedistinctions you have received.
Another solution is to include theseawards in the education section, but this might make the lecturedifficult – the reader wants to get from that section an impressionabout the schools you went to and the overall results, not about everydistinction you were awarded.
Still, these are important! Therefore,here is the place to mention them – scholarships, stages abroad you hadto compete for, prizes in contests, any kind of distinction. Here, sameas everywhere in your CV, write a detailed account of what happened:
donot just mention the year and “Prize in Physics”, but rather give theexact date (month), place, name and organiser of the competition. For ascholarship abroad, write the time frame, name of the University,Department, the subject of classes there – e.g. managerial economics -name of the award-giving institution, if different from that of thehost-university. Practical experience – here you should include internships as well.
Don’t feel ashamed with what you did, don’t try to diminish youraccomplishments! Nobody really expects you to have started a milliondollar business if you’re still a student – even better if you did,though! Accountability is an important criterion for what you write inthis section. The account should show what you improved, where, by howmuch, what your responsibilities were.
The idea is that when you applyfor a job you have to show growth-potential. That is, that you provedsome kind of progress
from one job to another and that especially atthe last one you were so good, you could obviously
do something thatinvolves more responsibility – like the job you are applying for now.The overall
result should portray you as a leader, a person withinitiative and creativity – don’t forget you have
to convince thereader of your CV that you are the best pick for that job.
Extracurricular activities – if you’re writing a professional, and notan academic CV, this is the
place to mention conferences or any otheractivities outside the school that for some reason did
not fit in theCV so far.
A good section here can help a lot towards that goal ofportraying you as a
leader, a person with initiative, not just a nerdwith good grades.
Languages – list here all the languages you speak, with a one-worddescription of your knowledge
of that language. We suggest thefollowing scale: conversational, intermediate, advanced, and
List any certificates and/or results like TOEFL scores, with date.
Computer skills – write everything you know, including Internetbrowsers and text editing skills.
There is no absolute need to know C++unless you wanna be a programmer or something. List
certificates andspecialty studies as well.
Hobbies – list them if space is left on the page. They look fine in aCV, showing you are not a nolife
workaholic, but a normal person.There is no need to have a 20,000 pieces stamp collection,
you canmention reading or mountain tracking as well.
You can introduce other headers that suit your needs.
Some CV’s, forexample, have a summary
heading, that brings in front what the authorconsiders to be the most important stuff in his/her
CV. A referencessection, where you can list with contact details persons ready torecommend you
can be added as well. If it misses, the recruiters willassume they are available on request.