How to write a CV

Have you recently graduated and are you looking for work? Your curriculum vitae, or CV, is one of the documents you must give to the organizations that will hire you. When you write a CV it is critical to arrange it, so that it successfully highlights your accomplishments and experience because a CV frequently serves as an employer’s first impression of your professional and academic credentials.

In this essay, I provide step-by-step directions, clear examples, and advice on how to write a CV that will make you stand out to employers.

Although some portions are specifically written for medical professionals, the topic is applicable to many professions.


What is a curriculum vitae (CV)?

A CV, short for curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of life”), is a precise record of your professional and educational background. Typical CV content includes professional background, honors and achievements, awards you have received, scholarships or grants you have been awarded, training, research projects, and publications of your work.  A CV typically has two or three pages, but it’s not uncommon for mid-level or senior job candidates to have considerably longer versions since it serves as a comprehensive summary of their professional achievements.

Writing a CV

Writing a CV involves organizing your content into six main segments. They include:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement/profile
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Additional Sections

1. Who to put our contact information in a CV


When you write a  CV  is made up of your contact information and is the first section of the document. It is located at the top to make it simple for interviewers to reach you. Only the following components should be included in the section:

  • First name, Last name
  • If applying abroad, be careful to provide your country code in your phone number.
  • Your email should be a professional address, ideally something like [name][lastname]
  • Title: Your professional title, exactly the same as the title of the position you want or are applying for.
  • Are you in the area, where you are located?
  • You might want to think about include your social media usernames in addition to the standard contact information, provided they are pertinent.

The following should not be in your contact information:

  • Date of birth
  • Physical address
  • Your current business contact information such as work email addresses or phone number
  • Photograph (unless it is stated in the job posting)
  • Personal social media handles

2. How to include your personal statement/profile on your  CV


A personal statement, also known as a CV personal profile, is a brief statement that appears at the start of your CV and lists your best qualifications for the position. Emphasize accomplishments, experience, and abilities pertinent to the position. Sometimes, having a personal profile is not required. If you do include it, make sure the profile is well-written and unique. Positive descriptors like “confident,” “adaptable,” “self-motivated,” and “energetic” should be used.

The following should not included when you write a CV :

  • Why you are applying for the job
  • Why you left your former employer
  • Salary requirements

Example- “Self-motivated pharmacist with 10+ years of experience. I’m looking to harness my strong clinical research skills as a lead clinical test evaluator for Adigrat Drug Co. I have organized a  clinical  trial  with  2000 participants to investigate the effect of an estrogen supplement on ovarian cancer in women and trained 20 clinicians on the use of big data for pharmaceutical analysis. “

3. Include your work experience when you write a CV


The job experience section gives the interviewer a chance to look at your professional background and how it relates to their position. Provide a short summary of your experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Education should come before this part if you have little to no practical knowledge of the profession.

Your job experience section can include up to 15 years of experience and provide the following information:

  • Title of the role
  • Company with city, state
  • Dates of employment

Your work experience should not include:

  • Tables, charts or images
  • Gaps in employment history, if avoidable
  • Company addresses
  • Professional references or supervisors’ names
  • Short-term employment, unless you have less than two years of work experience
  • Irrelevant work experience

A common practice is to merely list the responsibilities of the position next to it. While this is OK, you should constantly strive to write about your achievements. Also, it’s a lot more actionable and shows the hiring manager how you might help their company.

Find out what skills and responsibilities are required for the position and make sure you include them in the appropriate sections of your resume if you want to reassure them that you’ll be the ideal fit. In the job description, look for the skills and duties they’re looking for and adjust your resume accordingly.

4. Education

List your education and dates from the most recent to the oldest. If you have more than two years of relevant work experience, you can highlight all of your post-secondary educational qualifications, including the name of the degree and institution.

In the education section, you can include:

  • Program name – e.g. BA in business administration.
  • University name – e.g. Unity University.
  • Year attended – e.g. 08/2008 – 06/2012
  • GPA (Optional)

When perfecting your education section, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when you write a CV:

 If you don’t have any work experience, mention your education section first.

If you have a university degree, don’t mention your high school at all.

Mention your GPA only if it’s notable (anything between 3.5 -4.0).

5. How to include the skills when you write a CV

The skills section describes your accomplishments at previous jobs, like the key skills you developed and experiences that apply to the job. The skills to include in this section depend on the industry, position and your personal background. Research the skills relevant to the industry or position and read the job description carefully and then consider your hard and soft skills.

  • Hard skills are technical skills that can be measured and are directly related to your tasks.
  • Soft skills, meanwhile, are learned skills such as your personal attributes (e.g. leadership, communication, etc.).

Usually, job qualifications already include what they’re looking for in terms of skills and all you’d have to do is tailor your CV to the qualifications list.

There’s one other type of skill section that you can list within your CV, and that is universal skills. This includes skills that fit in the description or requirements of most career fields – such as MS office, teamwork, analytical thinking, and more. No matter what job you’re applying for, these skills will typically come in handy at some point.

List only 4 to 8 skills relevant to the role including job-specific skills, soft skills and hard skills. Some examples include:

Skills required for Pharmacists

  1. Analytical skills
  2. Ability to think critically
  3. Strong numerical skills
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Observation skills
  7. Communication and social skills

Skills required for Nurses

  1. want to help people
  2. be practical
  3. have good time management skills
  4. have an ability to get on well with people from a wide range of backgrounds
  5. have good emotional/ mental strength
  6. have good observational skills
  7. have the ability to act on your own initiative
  8. be willing to take responsibility
  9. be able to stay calm in stressful situations
  10. have a mature approach

Skills required for Midwives

  1. an understanding and caring attitude
  2. an ability to get on well with people from a wide range of backgrounds
  3. emotional and mental strength
  4. good observation
  5. an ability to act on own initiative
  6. patience
  7. maturity
  8. willingness to take responsibility
  9. an ability to cope with distressing situations and to stay calm in stressful situations

Skills required for Laboratory Technicians

  1. Critical thinking
  2. Investigative skills
  3. Problem solving skills
  4. The ability to maintain and calibrate technical equipment
  5. Time management skills
  6. Excellent communication skills
  7. Teamwork skills
  8. Patience
  9. Attention to detail

Skills required for Medical Doctors

  1. Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
  2. Good practical skills
  3. Ability to solve problems
  4. Effective decision-making skills
  5. Leadership and management skills
  6. Communication skills, compassion and a good bedside manner
  7. Drive to continue learning throughout career
  8. Analytical ability
  9. Time management

Skills required for Medical Radiologic Technologists

  1. Analytical
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Customer service
  4. Flexibility
  5. Identifying and responding to emergency situations
  6. Interacting effectively with a diverse clientele
  7. Maintaining patient confidentiality
  8. Manual dexterity
  9. Precision
  10. Prioritizing workflow

Skills required for Anesthesiologists

  1. Active Listening
  2. Reading Comprehension
  3. Monitoring
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Speaking
  6. Judgment and Decision Making
  7. Operation Monitoring
  8. Time Management

Additional skills for all

  1. Foreign languages
  2. Technical skills where relevant
  3. Certified skills
  4. Consider also mentioning your proficiency level such as Basic, Intermediate, Advanced or Expert for every skill on your list.

6. Additional sections (targeted to your audience)

Additional sections targeted toward your audience can include professional certifications, publications, industry awards and extra training—anything that is relevant to who’s reading your CV. This is a chance to stand out so use the space wisely to showcase your unique achievements.

If you are a student, you can list your volunteer experience and academic achievements. Mention things you can discuss in further detail at the interview.

It may be appropriate to include hobbies and interests on your CV if you have limited work experience.

You can mention specific non-work activities in an entry-level CV if they portray you as a good fit for the employer, such as activities that demonstrate your dedication to a cause the employer works with or allow you to practice skills you use on the job.

What should you consider before you write a CV?

1. Choose the right font type and size

Your CV should be legible and easy to follow. To improve readability, it’s best to choose a sans-serif font between 10 and 11 points. It should be clean and simple without much detail or décor.

Here are several examples of good fonts for your CV:

  •  Arial
  •  Avenir
  •  Calibri
  •  Helvetica
  •  Verdana

2. Check your margins

A good rule of thumb is to keep your margins between .5 – 1 inch. Margins that are too large will leave too much white space while margins that are too small can make the page look busy and overfilled. Both may be distracting or off-putting to recruiters and hiring managers.

3. Utilize your space effectively when you write a CV

CVs can become lengthy, especially if you’ve been in your industry for several years and have amassed a great deal of experience. To ensure you’re using space effectively and your CV is easy to read, consider using the following techniques:

  • Organize with bulleted lists: Make lists, (such as your collection of skills or awards) easier to consume by adding small bullets.
  • Use section headers: Distinguish section headers from the rest of your CV content by making them bolder, larger or underlined.
  • Bold keywords: In addition to section headers, consider bolding other important words, such as your name and job titles, to set them apart.
  • Remove irrelevant information: Use the limited space on your CV to promote only the most relevant and impressive information about your background. Remove experience older than 15 years and dates from your education section if you have five or more years of professional experience

4. Proofread

Before you send your CV to employers, take time to carefully check your spelling, grammar and syntax. A clean, error-free CV increases readability and demonstrates professionalism. Recruit a trusted friend, family member or colleague to review your resume. A fresh set of eyes often catches mistakes you may have missed.

A well-composed CV shares all the most essential information employers need when considering you for job opportunities. By making sure your CV is comprehensive, correctly formatted and easy to read, you’re one step closer to landing the job you want.

Why you need to use a CV Builder to write a CV

Most people use the default Word templates to create their CVs. The problem with that is that these default templates are often bland and lifeless. You want your CV to stand out, not fit right in with the rest of them.

     Microsoft Word is for writing an essay in university, not for creating a resume.

CV builders help you build a CV for free (you can get a premium version if you’re looking for the extra push). These come with plenty of customization, so, even though you work with a template, you get to personalize it to your heart’s content.

Below are some CV builders we highly recommend


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