What is a CV?

Treat your CV (curriculum vitae) as your business card. It’s given to the company and used only as a data sheet for the company to determine whether or not they should hire you. The only color typically comes from the cover letter. However, that is not to say that your CV should be dull and full of short and straight bullet points. No, it should strike a balance of 90% facts and 10% enticement. Use that 10% wisely and you will stand out from the rest.

Anatomy of a CV

Personal Details

Start with personal details at the top, like you would a letter.

Put your details in this order:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Email address

Never add information that is too personal, which includes your sex, age, date of birth, or marital status. It’s customary and smart these days to add social media accounts when appropriate. LinkedIn is a good choice, but Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even your blog’s URL can work if the content there is 100% relevant to your industry.


State where you have studied and what certifications or degrees you gained and your date of graduation. Start with your latest place of study and work your way down to high school.

Work Experience

List the companies you have worked for, starting again with your latest or current place of employment and work your way back to your first relevant job.

Include the following information for each:

  • Company name
  • Location (address)
  • Your job title(s)
  • A short description of your duties and accomplishments


Indicate which languages you speak and how well you speak them: fluent, good, moderate (for writing and oral).

List computer programs you know and how well you have control of them (expert, average, novice).

Include any other relevant skills, such as typing WPM (words per minute), crisis management, group mediation, event planning, etc.

Achievement and Interests

Start with a list of your achievements and the professional clubs or organizations you belong to, then follow with the fun stuff.

Some say that listing interests and activities


outdated but we feel differently. In a time when companies are all about their culture and keeping their team motivated through group activities and perks, it’s good to know that the persons they are hiring like to do some of the same things they do. Keep the list short but show some personality with items you like: running, travel, chess, reading to your kids or spending time at the cottage (bonus if the cottage is big enough for team getaways!).

CV Writing Template

Here is a classic example of a CV that you may copy and paste and fill with your own information if you like.




Street, New York NY 123456

Tel: (XXX)XXX-XXXX Mobile: (XXX)XXX-XXXX email: msmith@hireme.com


2004 – 2008 Columbia University

BA – Business Management & Social Sciences

2002 – 2004 Brentwood Academy for Boys

Graduated on Dean’s List.


2009 – present Paper & Pens Inc.

General Manager

  • Responsible for store operations.
  • Liaise with department heads on daily sales related issues
  • Manage a team of three
  • Report all incidents to store owner
  • Successfully work to tight timelines
  • Organized and implemented new working procedures to streamline merchandising and inventory process.


IT and computing: Compiled and edited comprehensive monthly activity reports

Daily user


Word, Excel, Hootsuite, Freshbooks

Novice user of Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suite programs.

Languages: Spanish (fluent speaker and writer)

Currently learning to speak Portuguese

Valid drivers license.


Student Careers/Job Fair Assistant at Blackwell University: awarded prize for leadership in encouraging local employers to support the new grads.

Volunteer in Haitia: 12-week placement in Port au Prince working to renovate classrooms and work with children

Active volunteer for the local hospice ward: I take my service dog to visit the terminally ill two Saturdays per month.

Member Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Here is an example of a “good” and “poor” CV, as written by the same person.

CV Writing Tips

And our final tips for writing a killer CV: Always tell the truth (if you don’t and you get hired, the truth will come out)

1. Always tell the truth (if you don’t and you get hired, the truth will come out)

2. Adjust each CV you send out just a little so that it is tailored to the hiring manager. Know your audience!

3. If this job means a lot for your personal and professional development, include a personal statement about that.

4. Don’t leave gaps in your history that will make the employer wondering: what where they doing between 2010 and 2012? And why did they not want to include whatever they were doing?

5. Update your CV regularly. In fact, look at it regularly. You’ll be surprised at how often you see an error or something that needs updating.

Better yet…

Ask us to match you with one of our professional writers to help you with your CV and let the job offers fly in. We love helping our clients land their dream jobs just by making a CV that really makes them shine. Try us!

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