Ways & How

how to write a good curriculum vitae

how to write a good curriculum vitae

A well-written curriculum vitae could spell success or failure for many applicants. A curriculum vitae is necessary when applying for positions in the academe, whether as researcher, professor or lecturer. It is also required for applicants seeking fellowship or scholarship grants, especially in the United States. In other parts of the world, it is expected that job applicants submit a curriculum vitae, popularly known as CV, rather than a resume.  CV’s are usually customized to show only the applicant’s  qualifications and skills relevant to the position being sought. Thus, different positions might require different kinds of CV.  Knowing how to write a good curriculum vitae is important for all applicants. How does one make an impressive CV? Following these guidelines on how to write a good curriculum vitae will lessen the pressure and anxiety that normally go with a job or position search.

  1. Know your worth. Know your strengths, qualifications, and valuable experiences. Make a personal assessment of your skills and significant involvements.

    a list of them, if possible. If you don’t have adequate training, consider taking a training course. Work on your weaknesses and rely on your strengths. See how you can be an asset to the position you desire. Knowing your value and worth are important in packaging an impressive CV.

  2. Learn what will impress your prospective employers or examiners. Learn what kind of person, training and qualifications the position seeks. Read position descriptions accurately. Identify key words in a position or job description. Be careful to assess your present capabilities and credentials. Determine what you can offer your prospective employer or bring to an institution or organization offering fellowship grants or scholarships.

  3. Most organizations look for individuals with leadership qualities and the ability to do multi-tasking, work in a team and meet deadlines. Certain positions require a pleasing personality and the ability to interact socially and work with less supervision. Most high paying jobs include skills in both oral and written communication. The demands of the 21st century workforce include computer literacy skills.

  4. Gather all pertinent information about yourself and proof of your claims. Most CVs include contact and personal information like your name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail, birthdate, birthplace, citizenship or nationality, gender and, in some cases, visa status. Also included in the CV is your educational background with indicated inclusive dates of completed high school, university, graduate and post-graduate degrees. This is usually followed by a summary of your professional qualifications, awards or recognitions received, publications and professional memberships.

  5. Tailor your CV to suit your intended reader. Different kinds of readers require different kinds of CVs.  Use an acceptable CV format.  There are at least six different kinds of CV formats that you can search for online and download. Choose from among the most acceptable formats: Chronological, Performance, Functional, Targeted, Alternative and Universal.  The CV format should be able to highlight your strengths and areas relevant to your target reader’s interest. Your CV must pass the scrutiny of two kinds of readers: the skimmer who seeks only for information relevant to the demands of the position, and the critical reader who scrutinizes every detail reflected on your CV. Hence, you should use power verbs to introduce your skills, show you possess the necessary skills your reader seeks and, hopefully, convince him or her that you are the right person for the job. Don’t forget to highlight transferrable skills and cite proof of your claims. Capture your potential reader by choosing a format that will set you apart from other candidates.

  6. Proofread your CV. Ask a friend or colleague to read and comment on your CV. Reread your CV to correct possible grammatical errors and improve your writing.

Remember that a poorly written curriculum vitae or CV is a waste of time. Be sure to provide truthful evidence of your qualifications and express them clearly and convincingly.


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