Anatomy of a CV
The contents and layout of a CV will depend on its purpose and the candidate’s experience.
If you’re creating a U.S.-style CV to get a job or a grant, Harvard University Career Services advises that “Different academic disciplines have different standards and expectations, especially in the order of categories,” so we recommend researching CV examples in your field or talking to colleagues to make sure you meet the standards.
In general, however, your CV may include:
A paragraph of two to three sentences where you introduce yourself — use this section to feature the top qualifications that the employer wants. For example, suppose a litigator job posting says they’re looking for someone driven. In that case, you could write: “Driven and analytical litigator with over seven years of experience representing clients and providing legal advice. Committed to cultivating a transparent process through trust and excellent communication.”
Write your work history in reverse-chronological order with your latest job on top. If you don’t have any work experience, include internships, personal projects or extracurricular activities related to the position you are applying to.
Using three to five bullet points, write a short sentence explaining your tasks and responsibilities for each job.
Include 6 to 10 relevant skills to the job. They should be a mixture of soft skills (abilities or personal traits that are not tied to one job, like well-organized and fast learner) and hard skills (abilities acquired through practice, like editing and photography).
Education and Training
List all relevant educational experiences in reverse-chronological order with a maximum of four items (unless it’s an academic, medical or scientific CV — these may have more experiences).
You can include separate sections with accomplishments that apply to your application. For example: Awards and Honors, Hobbies and Interests, Languages, Certifications and Publications.
CV Examples by Industry
Our CV templates work for different industries and varying years of experience. Below are some examples that you can use as a base to create your own.
Health Care: Patient Coordinator – Executive Template
This strong, orderly and timeless layout uses left-justified headings, dark lines and bullets to organize your experience and show how meticulous you are.
Sales: Coordinator – Modern Template
This minimalist design with sleek fonts shows that you’re on top of the latest trends, and features a mix of colors for the prominent header, along with ample spacing.
Education: University Professor – Professional Template
As the name implies, this template is perfect for candidates in more traditional roles who want to show off a professional look and keep their information well-organized.
Computer Software: Software Engineer – Standout Template
Add a dash of personality with this graphical approach. This layout is great to read through and helps you stand out without looking unprofessional.
Marketing: Media Planner – Strong Template
Make an excellent first impression with a strong design that wonderfully displays your skills and accomplishments. The bolded fonts and thick horizontal lines make for easy navigation.
Finance: Consultant – Knowledgeable Template
Show that you know what you’re talking about with this simple but stylish template that offers a clean design, elegant fonts and a readable layout.
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CV Templates FAQ
Is it OK to use a CV template?
Yes! Some templates work best for more traditional fields, like health care or legal, and others are more suited to creative careers, like marketing or animation. Be sure to choose one that fits the job you’re applying to.
What should not be included in a CV?
Your CV should not include irrelevant job experiences, skills or hobbies, personal information (like marital status or religious preferences), references, an unprofessional email or personal pronouns. Don’t miss out on possibly getting called for an interview and follow our expert advice to create a professional CV.
How can I make my CV interesting?
To make your CV interesting and eye-catching, it’s best to tailor it to the job you’re applying to, using keywords written in the job posting. You can also impress the recruiter or hiring manager by including quantifiable achievements.
What do I put on my CV if I have no experience?
To write a CV with no experience, we recommend broadening your definition of what work means. Feature internships, personal projects or extracurricular activities (like a volunteer experience) related to the position you are applying to. Having relevant experience is just as important as work experience.