CV Writing Tips
Employers typically ask to see a curriculum vitae, or CV, for scientific, faculty, clinical, or research jobs. The CV usually runs two pages, compared to the resume’s one, and contains information that markets your specific skills and experiences. Specificity is key, especially considering that employers see hundreds of resumes every day. Make your CV stand out from the crowd by following these tips:
* Group experiences into defined categories
As with a resume, your CV should include various sections, including contact information, education, work experience, and skills.
The CV is an extended version of a resume because it contains additional information about your background; include other sections, as appropriate, such as: Publications, Research & Teaching Experience, Professional Associations & Licenses, Grants & Fellowships, Honors, and Awards. Each experience should include a date (month and year, at the minimum) and brief description.
An “Objective” section is rarely used anymore; this frees up space for you to provide the information an employer really wants to see — what skills you have that make you the right person for the job.
* Order information according to what’s most important
If you attended an Ivy-league school but don’t have stellar work experience, list the Education section first. But, if your professional experiences took place at well-known, large companies, put your work experience higher on the page.
While the order of all the sections should be personalized based on your background, always include contact information — including name, address, email, and phone — on the top of every page. This makes it easier for the employer to find out how to contact you when it comes time to set up the interview.
* Be consistent in formatting and style
Before filling in the details of each section, determine the way you want your CV to look. Be consistent with your font — and pick a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial — and setup each section in the same way so that HR can easily find the information they are looking for without searching. For example, if you italicize your job title, be sure every job title is italicized. With any CV, consistency is key.
* Create bulleted lists with specific accomplishments
Each experience should include its own bulleted list that highlights your accomplishments and responsibilities. Again, be very specific. Anyone can say that they are hard-working, motivated individuals, but what employers really want is evidence of your hard work. If you implemented five new newsletters at your job, or oversaw millions of dollars in projects, say that.
Additionally, each bulleted point should start out with a verb, such as “Coordinated” or “Organized.” Often, employers will scan the left side of the page looking for key, descriptive verbs that show different things you’ve accomplished.
Lastly, don’t mistake specificity for lengthy descriptions. Each bulleted point should highlight your accomplishments in one sentence. Save some details for the interview.
* Tailor your CV to the job
With the enormous amount of CVs companies receive, some opt to use software that scans resumes first, searching for key words pertinent to the job. For every job you apply to, update the content to reflect certain key words that are in the job description. Don’t lie about your experiences, but be careful about which words you choose.
* Once you think you’re done, proofread your CV — twice.
One spelling or grammatical mistake is all it takes to get your CV thrown into the ‘No’ pile. Review your CV multiple times, and do not rely on spell-check. Once you’ve also rechecked the CV for consistency, making sure that each section is setup the same way, it’s time to submit your CV.
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