Writing a successful CV can be daunting, but there are best practices that can make the process a little easier. Remember – a CV, short for Curriculum Vitae, is a complete written record of an individual’s professional and educational history and includes categories such as Education, Work Experience, Skills, Certifications, and Publications.
When beginning your CV, the CCD recommends doing a brain dump, of sorts. Think of everything you’ve ever done that may be related to your professional identity – in addition to the italicized items I listed above, you might want to include things such as:
- Professional/Academic Honors and Awards
- Professional Development
- Service and/or Volunteering
Traditional CV’s start with the Education header and end with References. The rest of your order is flexible, and you can decide to put more relevant information above less relevant information. Since CVs, unlike resumes, are not limited to 1-2 pages, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to trim your starting list very much.
Now that you’ve identified what is going to fill your CV’s categories, you’ll want to take a look at the bullet point details that you’re including for each experience, skill, or item that you list. Use the following as a checklist to ensure that you’re writing is top quality. Did you…
- Use strong verbs at the beginning of each bullet point in your professional experiences?
- Include a “impact” or “outcome” of each responsibility that you have in your professional experiences?
- Include accurate dates (where applicable) for all items?
- Include your name, email, and page number in the footer of the document?
- Use bold or underline formatting to highlight the headers of all of your categories?
- Use consistent formatting (margins, spaces between sections, bullet points, date location) throughout the entire document?
As with everything, it’s smart to get an extra pair of eyes on your CV. A CV review can revise your CV’s format, flow, and clarity. The Center for Career Development (CCD) offers CV reviews. You can make an individual appointment with a Career Counselor through Handshake to get your CV reviewed at any time during the year