CV Guide: 5 Key Steps to Writing a Curriculum Vitae

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Planning on getting a new job and need a curriculum vitae? Here is your ultimate CV guide with 5 key steps to writing a curriculum vitae.

Did you know that an improperly formatted CV is one of the top reasons for not getting a job?

A curriculum vitae is often your only way to make a great first impression with a potential employer. This is why it's crucial to get it right.

Are you wondering how to create the perfect curriculum vitae? Keep reading for a 5-step CV guide.

1. Don't Sell Yourself Short

Have you ever asked yourself, "What's a curriculum vitae?" Simply put, a CV is like a resume except that it's a comprehensive list of your skills, achievements, and more.

This means you shouldn't pick and choose your experience or skills. Instead, this is your opportunity to shine by showing off everything you've accomplished in your life so far.

It's important to remember that in the U.S., the term 'resume' and 'CV' are used almost interchangeably. Chances are, if you're not applying to an academic job in the U.S., then you should focus on making a resume. In this case, you should limit your resume to about 2 or 3 pages.

You should then focus on the skills and experiences that are related to the job.

2. Make it Legible

Using fancy fonts and colors other than black ink is not an effective way to stand out from other curriculum vitaes.

Rather, you can do your potential employer a huge favor by sticking to a legible font.

Many people use the tried and true Times New Roman but Optima allows you to fit more information at font size 11 while still being readable.

3. Use a Template

While CV Templates can vary somewhat, they all are essentially the same and are meant to convey key information.

It's also helpful to use bullet points when listing previous job responsibilities. A big wall of text could very well cause the employer to skip over your CV.

Depending on the job you're applying to, you'll want to list your research interests, your past conference presentations, and even relevant publications. 

4. Have Correct Margins

If your margins are too big, then it will be a waste of valuable CV space.

However, if they're too small, then potential employers will put off by an excess of text.

Your margins should be no bigger than 1.5 inches but no smaller than 1 inch.

5. Proofread Then Proofread Again

When a potential employer is considering three highly-qualified candidates, for example, they will begin to scrutinize and nitpick. If you're CV has one or more glaring typos, you can consider your chances at a job ruined.

This is why it's important to proofread your CV more than once. To avoid missing typos due to tunnel vision, you should ask a friend or family member to look it over as well.

Ready to Use This CV Guide?

Now that you've read this 5-step CV guide, you can create a curriculum vitae that's sure to impress potential employers.

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