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Writing the Curriculum Vitae

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This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time

This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time. Although there is some overlap between the two resources, this handout should serve as a supplement to the suggestions available from Purdue's Center for Career Opportunities .

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

Also called a CV or vita, the curriculum vitae is, as its name suggests, an overview of your life's accomplishments, most specifically those that are relevant to the academic realm. In the United States, the curriculum vitae is used almost exclusively when one is pursuing an academic job. The curriculum vitae is a living document, which will reflect the developments in a scholar/teacher's career, and thus should be updated frequently.

How is a CV different from a resume?

The most noticeable difference between most CVs and most resumes is the length. Entry level resumes are usually limited to a page. CVs, however, often run to three or more pages. (Remember, however, that length is not the determinant of a successful CV. You should try to present all the relevant information that you possibly can, but you should also try to present it in as concise a manner as possible.) A more subtle but equally important distinction is that whereas the goal of a resume is to construct a professional identity, the goal of a CV is quite specifically to construct a scholarly identity. Thus, your CV will need to reflect very specifically your abilities as a teacher, researcher, and publishing scholar within your discipline.

What should I include?

Your CV should include your name and contact information, an overview of your education, your academic and related employment (especially teaching,editorial, or administrative experience), your research projects (including conference papers and publications), and your departmental and community service. You should also include a reference list, either as part of your CV, or on a separate page. Also, if you have a dossier containing confidential references available, you should mention that on your CV as well.

What comes first depends both on your background and on the job for which you are applying. Typically, the first item on a CV for a job candidate directly out of grad school will start with the candidate's education listed in reverse chronological order. Frequently the title and even a brief description of the dissertation will be included in this portion. After that, you will want to determine both what the jobs that you are interested in require and where your strengths lie. When determining what comes after your educational credentials, remember that the earlier in your document a particular block of information comes, the more emphasis you will be placing on that block of information. Thus, the most important information should come first.

If you are applying at a research university, research projects, conference presentations, and especially publications become very important. If you are applying to a liberal arts college or community college that strongly emphasizes teaching, then showing your teaching background is of paramount importance. In any case, you will want to be sure that the information that will be most helpful in determining your qualifications for the job for which you are employing comes before information that will be less helpful.

Is there a standard curriculum vitae format?

One of the most important things to remember when working on your curriculum vitae is that there is not one standard format. There are different emphases in each discipline, and a good CV is one that emphasizes the points that are considered to be most important in your discipline and conforms to standard conventions within your discipline.

So how can you find out what these conventions are? A good place to start is to find as many examples as possible of CVs by people in your discipline who have recently been on the job market. You can find these by asking other grad students and junior faculty in your department if you can have a look at their CVs, and you can also make use of the Internet to find CV samples in your discipline.

Resources such as The Curriculum Vitae Handbook by Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe (Rudi Publishing: Iowa City, 1994) also include sample CVs for various disciplines. One caveat to remember regarding examples, however, is that they should never be used as models to be followed in every detail. Instead, they should be used as sources of strategies for how to present your own information most effectively. The most effective formatting for you will likely be distinguishable from the most effective formatting for someone else because your experiences and strengths will be different, and you will thus benefit from formatting adapted specifically to your situation.

How should I construct my work description entries?

Two common strategies that apply to CVs as well as resumes are gapping and parallelism . Gapping is the use of incomplete sentences in order to present your information as clearly and concisely as possibly. For example, instead of writing, "I taught composition for four years, during which time I planned classes and activities, graded papers, and constructed exams. I also met with students regularly for conferences," you might write, "Composition Instructor (2000-2004). Planned course activities. Graded all assignments. Held regular conferences with students." By using incomplete sentences here, you cut out unnecessary words and allow your reader to see quickly what you have been doing.

Parallelism is also very important to a strong CV. Generally, you will want to keep the structure of your phrases and/or sentences consistent throughout your document. Thus, if you use verb phrases in one portion of your CV to describe your duties, try to use them throughout your CV. Particularly within entries, make sure that the structure of your phrases is exactly parallel so that your reader can understand what you are communicating easily.

One distinction between the work description sections of resumes and CVs is that bullets are very commonly used in resumes and tend to appear somewhat less frequently in CVs. Whether or not you use bullets to separate lines in your CV should depend on how the bullets will affect the appearance of your CV. If you have a number of descriptive statements about your work that all run to about a line in length, bullets can be a good way of separating them. If, however, you have a lot of very short phrases, breaking them up into bulleted lists can leave a lot of white space that could be used more efficiently. Remember that the principles guiding any decision you make should be conciseness and ease of readability.

How can I improve my CV?

The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab provides the opportunity to work with one of our graduate instructors in order to get some assistance with your CV, and many other universities offer similar opportunities through their writing centers. Also, consider showing your CV to your dissertation chair in order to get some feedback from him/her. Finally, many departments have job search or job placement committees that provide you with the opportunity to meet with faculty members in your department for extensive editing. If such a resource is available for you, that may be the best source of advice of all.

What other resources are available for help with my curriculum vitae?

There are numerous useful resources, both online and in print. Here are a few.

The Chronicle of Higher Education 's job site features a number of articles that may be helpful to first-time applicants on the job market.

The Curriculum Vitae Handbook by Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe (Rudi Publishing: Iowa City, 1994) includes sample CVs for various disciplines and tips for how to write CVs in various contexts.

The Academic Job Search Handbook (3rd Edition), by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick (who are the authors of the Chronicle 's "CV Doctor" column) also provides sample cover letters and CVs

Home » Campus Life » Career Education » Career Studio » Job Search » Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV) » How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is more than a resume – it is a detailed look at your career path, including your achievements, publications and awards. A CV should be used when applying for positions in academia or to science- or research-oriented industry jobs. In some European countries such as the UK, a CV is the standard for all types of job applications. (To find out whether a CV is preferred in another country, check the Career Guide for that country on Going Global .)

The principal difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is typically two or more pages and includes more comprehensive information about a candidate’s research background, presentations, publications, committee memberships and other experience of an academic, clinical, or scientific nature. Resumes are narrower and more tailored, while a CV is more detailed and does not exclude any professional experience.

Step 1: Choose a Format

Select a simple and appealing format for your CV. Avoid borders, colors, images or graphics, as these tend to be difficult for automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to read. Our basic formatting suggestions are below.

  • Center name at top of page and make it two font sizes larger than the rest of the text
  • Use a professional-sounding e-mail address that you check often; remove the hyperlink
  • May include both current and permanent addresses , if desired
  • Optional: Include your LinkedIn profile URL
  • Font: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman (same font throughout)
  • Font size: 10-11 point
  • Margins:   .5 to 1 inch, all sides
  • Page Numbers: In general, CVs tend to be longer than resumes, ranging in length from two to ten pages. Be sure to include your name and page number on each page after the first page.
  • Use consistent formatting for dates throughout (e.g., 2/18, Feb. 2018, February 2018)
  • Consider aligning all dates on the right side of your document
  • Use bullet points to give relevant details and explanation of your experiences
  • Bullet point style and formatting should match throughout
  • Bullet points in a CV typically do not use a period because they are usually not complete sentences
  • Within each section, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Consider using bold and all caps for HEADINGS in the body of your CV
  • Consider using bold for Names of Degrees and Position Titles
  • Consider using italics for Name of Organization, City, and State

Looking for visual examples? Check out these templates for reference:

  • CV Template with a Research Focus (download)
  • CV Template with a Teaching Focus (download)
  • CV Template for Nurse Practitioners (download)

Step 2: Collect and Fill in Information

Make a list of all your teaching experience, research experience, work experience, awards and scholarships, study abroad and training programs, professional associations, publications, presentations, technical skills, languages, education, and certifications. Use exact names for degrees, programs, organizations and titles.

Review the position description and determine the skills and experience the employer is seeking. Order sections of your CV from highest to lowest priority based on position description.

Remember that sections are flexible and can be combined to tell your unique story. Information within each section should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent listed first.

Education (required)

  • Generally at the top of your CV
  • Degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.) and month/year of graduation, University, and location
  • Major(s), minor(s), and any concentration(s) within your major(s) or minor(s) if applicable
  • Optional: if you’ve completed a thesis, list the title of the thesis and your advisor’s name or committee members’ names
  • Optional: list relevant awards and honors that you earned for academics

Licensure (if applicable)

  • Title of licensure
  • Granting organization
  • Expected date and/or expiration date
  • Optional: include license number

Certifications (if applicable)

  • Title of certificate

Honors, Awards, Fellowships (if applicable)

  • Name of Honor, Award, Fellowship, granting organization, and year
  • Include a brief overview of the honor/award/fellowship

Research or Teaching Interests (if applicable)

  • Share a few of your research or teaching interests, and be prepared to talk about them in future interviews

Experience (required)

If the position focuses on teaching, list your teaching experience first. If the position focuses on research, put your research experience first.

Teaching Experience

  • Always include job title (e.g. lecturer, teaching assistant, instructor, etc.), dates, name of organization, and location
  • Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
  • Do not list course numbers
  • Do include what population of students you taught (e.g. undergraduate, graduate), number of students, and the class format (e.g. online, hybrid, or in-person)

Research Experience

  • Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
  • Helpful to give a very brief overview of the research project
  • Helpful to give a brief overview of demonstration scientific techniques used and/or advanced technical skills

Clinical Experience

  • List specialization, number of hours, month and year, organization, and location of relevant clinical rotations in reverse chronological order
  • Bullet points should focus on advanced responsibilities and accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Work Experience

  • Demonstrate skills gained and accomplishments achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Publications and Presentations (optional)

  • Depending on the number you have of each, you might want to break this into two sections
  • Important to use consistent formatting (MLA, APA, or other)
  • Helpful to bold your name within the citation
  • List publications and presentations in reverse-chronological order
  • Optional: list articles or papers that are in progress and will likely be published

Institutional Service (optional)

  • Committee(s) service: role, dates, name of organization, name of committee, and location

Community Service (optional)

  • Choose quality over quantity in this section
  • Only include experiences where you developed skills relevant to the position
  • Always include role, dates, name of organization, and location

Professional Membership(s) (optional)

  • List name of organization, years of participation, and any leadership roles

Skills (optional)

  • List specialized and/or technical skills

References (recommended)

  • We recommend listing contact information for three to six individuals
  • Contact Information: Name, Title, Department, Organization, Mailing Address, Email, and Phone Number
  • Ask for each person’s permission prior to listing them as a reference

Step 3: Carefully Review Your CV

Since CVs involve a lot of detail and careful formatting, mistakes are easy to make. Before you consider it final, meticulously review the content and formatting of your CV and search carefully for typographical errors. If possible, have your faculty, principal investigator, advisors, committee members, or career coach conduct a final check. It might help to have a person from your industry look over your CV as well.

Want a second opinion?

Come to walk-in hours to review your CV with a career coach.

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A resume is a brief, informative document summarizing your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and differentiate you from other candidates.

Used most frequently in academic settings, a CV (curriculum vitae) is also a summary of your experience and abilities, but a CV will include more credentials relevant to academia and research, such as publications, presentations, and references.

Your cover letter is a way to introduce yourself to organizations in a narrative form that will accompany your resume. Use your cover letter to describe your qualifications as well as your interest in both the job and organization so the employer will want to interview you. Since the primary purpose of a resume and cover letter is to “market” you, always keep the organization’s hiring needs in mind.

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Creating an Undergraduate CV

Your curriculum vitae (CV) is a representation of your scholarly identity and trajectory in your field. 

A CV is used to apply to research roles or other academic positions. It shows your academic credentials and achievements, experience conducting research in your field, and other experience relevant to the opportunity you’re targeting.

Your goal is to convey your interest in the field, as well as the relevant skills and knowledge that will prepare you to excel in the target opportunity.

When might I use a CV as an undergraduate?

You may be asked for a CV when you’re applying to a research position, to a fellowship, or to graduate school in the sciences. If you’re applying to a research position in industry, pay attention to whether they ask for a resume or a CV in their posting, as they may prefer a resume. In your cover letter, you can let them know that a CV is available upon request.

Many faculty may be happy to receive either a resume or a CV from undergrads looking to conduct research with them. Remember that in this case, whichever document you submit should still be tailored toward research in their field! If you haven’t done research before, convey your interest and preparedness by showing the transferable skills and knowledge you’ve built through your coursework and other experiences.

What should my CV look like as an undergraduate?

Unlike your one-page resume, your undergraduate CV can be two pages.

Sections on a CV

The sections on a CV are designed to feature the experiences that academics (like professors or researchers) acquire over time. As an undergrad, the sections on your CV will depend on the experience you’ve had so far—and the professors or researchers interested in hiring undergrads won’t expect you to have graduate-level experience. So, don’t worry if you don’t have information to go in all of these categories!

Start with these mandatory sections:

Contact information.

Include your name, address, phone number, email address, and professional website or profile (if you have one).

Include the degree-granting institution and school, the degree you’re receiving, your major or concentration, and your expected graduation date. If you’re writing a departmental thesis, include the title and the names of your thesis advisers. You can include relevant coursework, which we generally recommend keeping to two lines of text or less.

If you have additional higher education, you can also include it. If you’ve studied abroad, for instance, you can include the institution name, the month and year range you attended, and relevant coursework you took during this program.

Your CV may include some of the following sections: 

Research experience.

Include the name of the lab or department and institution, the position you held, the location, and your dates of involvement. We recommend including a brief description of the project, your role, the primary methods used, and key findings.


This section includes scholarly publications such as journal articles, book chapters, and published conference proceedings.

Format each bibliographic entry according to your discipline’s style guide, with the article or chapter title, journal name, and publication information. Include authors in publication order, bolding your name.

Include publication status if the piece is not yet published—e.g., in preparation, under review, forthcoming. We recommend listing the DOI if the article has been accepted but does not yet have page numbers.


This section showcases scholarly presentations you’ve made, usually at conferences or symposia.

Include the author(s) and title of presentation, the conference or symposium name, and the location and date (or month if a range) of the presentation. Specify the format of the presentation—e.g., poster or oral presentation.

Grants / Awards / Academic Honors

List any academic awards, fellowships, grants, or funding received. In each entry, include the award name, award-granting institution, and year of the award.

If the nature of the award will not be clear based on the award name, you can briefly clarify parenthetically.

Teaching Experience

Include the name of the course and institution, the position you held (e.g., Teaching Assistant, Instructor of Record), the location, and month-year range of the teaching engagement. We encourge you to include a brief description of your role.

Additional Professional Experience

On a CV, you may include recent professional experience that is pertinent to your scholarly trajectory. You can title this section by the job area if helpful—e.g., Additional Engineering Experience, Editorial Experience, Museum Experience.

Include the name of the organization, your job title, and the location and month-year range of the experience. You can include a brief description of your role and accomplishments to highlight relevant transferable skills.

Leadership / Activities / Service / Volunteer Work

Include the organization, your position title, the location, and dates of your involvement. You can include a brief description of your role and accomplishments.

Professional Memberships or Affiliations

List any memberships you maintain to professional organizations in your field. Many scholarly associations have low-cost student memberships.


Include any relevant certifications or licensures you hold.

Create categories for your skills, such as languages, technical or computer (software, hardware, coding languages), laboratory, machining, and design. In each category, list the relevant items—e.g., language names, tools, programs. For languages, we recommend indicating your proficiency level. Keep each category to 3 lines maximum.

This includes a list of relevant references, including their name, title, institution, and contact information (phone and/or email).

How should I format my CV?

CVs typically have a much simpler format than resumes. You’ll left-justify the content, use one-inch margins all around, and a size 11 or 12 font. Use bold and italics sparingly, and avoid extra design elements. Include a right-justified header includes your last name and page numbers (#/#).

How should I describe my experiences on my CV?

Typically, undergraduate CVs include short descriptions of your experience that focus on field-related content such as a description of the research project and the methods you used. Remember, your reader is likely another scholar in your discipline who will be able to interpret this technical language. It is more common to display these descriptions in paragraph form, but some people prefer bullet points for clarity.

Learning About CV Conventions in Your Field

Many professors, postdocs, and graduate students post their CVs on their departmental or lab website. Their CVs will be a lot longer than yours—some professors’ CVs run up to 15 pages. You may notice that faculty CVs will be, in most cases, less detailed than your undergraduate one, with fewer descriptions: they may be serving as records of research and teaching conducted, rather than job-search documents. Nevertheless, these CVs can help you understand trends and conventions in your discipline.

Can I see what a CV might look like?

Sure! We’ve created a couple of sample undergraduate CVs for your reference.

  • Sample Undergraduate Science CV
  • Sample Undergraduate Humanities / Social Science CV

Where can I get feedback on my CV?

You can get feedback on your CV from your previous research mentors (faculty, postdocs, grad students), instructors of relevant courses you’ve taken, career counselors , fellowship advisers , or writing consultants .

We recommend always seeking feedback from mentors in your field, as they will be able to offer discipline-specific insights and tips.

Related Resources

how to write a cv for university

Finding an Undergraduate Research Position

Getting research experience during your time as an undergraduate can aid in your pursuit for graduate school or certain career opportunities. There are many opportunities available to conduct research alongside faculty at Columbia or other universities and research institutes.

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How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) (With Examples)

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

how to write a cv for university

What is a CV?

When to use a curriculum vitae, what to include in a cv, customize your curriculum vitae, curriculum vitae sample.

  • More CV Examples and Writing Tips

If your career path includes work in academic, scientific research, or medical fields in the United States, chances are good that you’ll be asked to provide a curriculum vitae rather than a typical resume. In Latin, the phrase “curriculum vitae” means “course of life.” Which is quite appropriate if, as an entry-level candidate, you feel like you’ve spent your entire life in graduate school or medical school.

In modern English, the concept behind the curriculum vitae might better be translated as “the course of one’s professional education and career.” In short, institutions that request these documents are most interested in one’s well-rounded credentials for the job (as expressed through training and subsequent career experience). This differs from standard resumes , which focus more on competencies .

Here's information on why, when, and how to use a CV, when to use a resume vs. a curriculum vitae, CV writing, and formatting guidelines, the differences between U.S. and international CVs, and examples.

When should job seekers use a curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a “CV,” rather than a resume? In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions. It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.  

When seeking a job in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, expect to submit a CV rather than a resume.

Keep in mind that overseas employers often expect to read the type of personal information on a curriculum vitae that would never be included on an American resume, such as date of birth, nationality, marital status, and place of birth.

United States law governing what information job applicants can be asked to provide does not apply outside the country.

There are several  differences between a curriculum vitae and a resume . A curriculum vitae is a longer (two or more pages), more detailed synopsis of your background and skills. As with a resume, you may need different versions of a CV for different types of positions.

Like a resume, a curriculum vitae should include:

  • Contact information

In addition to these basics, a CV also includes:  

  • Research and teaching experience
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Fellowships
  • Professional associations and licenses
  • Awards and honors

Also list any other information relevant to the position you are applying for. You may also include a personal statement to make your CV stand out.

Start writing your CV by making a list of all your background information, then organize it into categories. Make sure you include dates on all the publications and experience you list.

Depending on the country, you may also need to provide the following in an international CV:

  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Number of children (ages optional)
  • Personal interests like hobbies
  • All education including high school / secondary school
  • Photos are also recommended (a professional headshot is best)

Date of Birth on CVs

Some countries outside the United States expect you to include your date of birth on your CV. If you are applying to a foreign job, research the particular country's protocol for job applications.

If you are using a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to apply for a job in the United States, due to current laws regarding age discrimination, you  may not be required to include your date of birth  on your curriculum vitae.

Once you have made a list of the information you want to include, it's a good idea to create a custom curriculum vitae that specifically highlights the experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It takes more time to write a custom CV, but it's worth the effort—especially when you are applying for jobs that are a good match for your skills and experience.

  • Use  accomplishment-oriented bullets  that start with an action verb and include a result.
  • Start with a  Professional Profile  (also called a Summary) that highlights the best of what you as a candidate are offering.
  • Edit content to include those areas of expertise, skills, and knowledge that specifically match the job requirements; not all the details of your education and employment history (work, research, fellowships, etc.) may be relevant.
  • Carefully rank and organize the sections of your CV according to what the institution you are applying for is seeking. For example, if you are applying to a university where research is emphasized, you should begin your list of publications on page one, right after your initial professional profile. If, on the other hand, you know that teaching is valued over the publication by the department, you’ll want to give your professional career history pride of place on the first page.

This is an example of a curriculum vitae. Download the curriculum vitae template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Curriculum Vitae Sample (Text Version)

Dorothy Doctor, M.D. 3204 Windover Way Houston, TX 77204 dorothydoctor@email.com 000.123.4567

Curriculum Vitae

Dedicated and patient-focused M.D. positioned to excel within residency providing an opportunity to grow in knowledge and therapeutic practice of pediatric medicine.

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), May 2018 – David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

B.S. in Biology,  summa cum laude , June 2014 – Stanford University


David Geffen Medical Scholarship, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Stanford Department of Biology Award, 2013 Stanford Dean’s List, 2010-2014


USMLE Step 1, May 2016 USMLE Step 2 CK, May 2018


UCLA, Department of Oncology Research Assistant  (2015-2016)

  • Assisted Joe Johnson, M.D. and Sue Sanderson, Ph.D. in research and submission of “Novel Immunotherapy Approach to Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS).”

STANFORD UNIVERSITY Resident Assistant  (2013-2014)

  • Provided leadership, companionship, and emotional support to undergraduate residents of a university dormitory.


American Medical Student Association, UCLA (September 2013 – June 2018)

  • President, local chapter, May 2014 – June 2018
  • Coordinated well-attended Wellness on Campus Fair, September 2017

Volunteer , Venice Family Clinic (September 2014 to June 2017)

  • Helped to support the needs of underserved families at the free medical clinic.

Hospital Volunteer , Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (September 2014 – June 2015)

  • Volunteered in pediatric, ER, and surgery rotation positions

Volunteer , UCLA People-Animal Connection Program (September 2013 – June 2014)

  • Provided companionship to critically ill children in the animal-assisted therapy program.

English (native) Spanish (advanced oral and written fluency)


American Medical Student Association, 2014 - present American Medical Association, 2017 – present


CrossFit, surfing, photography, and oboe performance.

Review More CV Examples and Writing Tips

These  sample CVs  form a helpful guide of what to include in your CV, tips for writing it, and how to format it.

UCDavis. " Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae: What's the Difference ?" Accessed Oct. 1, 2020.

Pomona College. " How to Write a Curriculum Vitae ." Accessed Oct. 1, 2020.

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How to write a student CV (with examples)

Guide to writing a student cv, with a list of skills and examples for students with no experience in employment..

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How to write a student CV

What to include (intro, links, experiences, skills, references), style and other cv writing tips, for students with no experience in employment, writing a cv for university.

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a personal document that summarises your experiences and skills. You use it when applying for jobs to show employers why you might be suitable for a role. 

Sometimes you submit a CV on its own, but often you also have to submit a cover letter. The cover letter gives a more in-depth explanation of why someone should hire you. An employer can use your CV to find evidence of the experiences you refer to in your letter. 

There is no one correct way to write a CV. The following advice is a general suggestion for what you can do, informed by feedback from employers and student recruiters. 

How to write a student CV 

Your CV is to show why you would make a great employee. A messy CV may suggest that you'll be a messy worker – take care when writing, so the employer will see you're committed to the role.  

Employers often receive hundreds of applications and usually look at CVs first. Yours should be concise and eye-catching – ideally no longer than two sides of A4 paper. If there's too much information, the employer may lose interest and move on to the next. 

If you can, avoid sending the same CV for all jobs you apply for. Instead, try to tailor them to each employer and role. You can create a master CV with all your experiences and skills and make a new copy to tweak and tailor to the role you're applying for. 

What to include 

Before putting your CV together, start by writing down all your experiences you can think of that may have helped you develop your skills. These could include: 

  • Jobs you've held 
  • Qualifications from GCSE level and above 
  • Other academic achievements 
  • Your hobbies 
  • Teams or societies you've been in 
  • Awards you've received 
  • Events you've been a part of 

You can use this information when planning what to write in each of the following sections. 


At the top of your CV, include your: 

  • Full name 
  • Professional email address 
  • Phone number 
  • General location or current address 
  • Optional: a tagline that summarises you (for example, "Graduate graphic designer") 

If you want, you can include a personal statement. This could be a few sentences that provide an overview of who you are, what you have to offer and your ambitions. A personal statement isn't mandatory; you only need to include it if you think it works well and doesn't take up too much space on the page. 

An example of a personal statement could be: 

Conscientious business student looking to work in customer service during summer. Keen to develop interpersonal, teamwork and organisation skills in a retail environment.

Links and portfolio 

You can include links to your online profiles or work to enhance your CV. This could be your: 

  • LinkedIn profile 
  • Website 
  • Online portfolio 
  • Social media that you use for your work 

Links give the person reviewing your CV further examples of your work. Sharing them is especially useful if you display visual work online. This could be your art, writing, software development or other digital design. 


When writing out your employment history , list out the jobs you have worked in reverse-chronological order. You want to include: 

  • Your job title 
  • Name of the company you worked for 
  • How long you were employed there (for example, "Jan 2020 – March 2021") 
  • Primary responsibilities of your role 
  • Any achievements you had in this role, such as being recognised as employee of the month 

This section can include any paid work you've had as well as internships, placements and voluntary work. If one of your less recent experiences is more relevant than your current role, don't be afraid to rearrange your CV to highlight the important bits. 

Next, add your education . Similar to employment information, write about your most recent education first, detailing the: 

  • School, college or university where you studied 
  • Dates you studied there 
  • Subjects you took 
  • Qualifications and grades you achieved (or predicted grades) 

After this, you can write about other relevant experiences , such as: 

  • Clubs, societies, teams or groups you belong to 
  • Extra training you've completed, for example, a first aid course 
  • Starting a website 
  • Achievements like the Duke of Edinburgh award 
  • Completing an enterprise programme 
  • Winning a scholarship 
  • Hobbies like playing an instrument 

With every experience you write about, mention what you achieved during that time and how you developed your skills. 

For example, if you have been captain of a sports team, you could say how you managed the team for a competition and that this helped you build leadership skills. 

If you can't think of any experiences to write about, check out our further advice below . 

Gaps because of Covid-19 

Don't worry if there are some gaps in your employment history due to the pandemic. Most employers are fully aware of how difficult it has been to find secure employment during this time. 

However, if you can, show how you made the most of any time you had out of employment. You could write about: 

  • A course you've taken 
  • Skills gained like learning a language 
  • Any relevant online events you attended 
  • Charity work or helping your community during lockdown 
  • New hobbies you've picked up 

Skills for CV 

When adding skills to your CV, list them in a separate section or write them under each related experience. Try to back them up with examples to clearly show how you have these skills. (Alternatively, you can create a skills-based CV – see below .) 

Your skills should match the job role. What is the employer looking for; what does it say in the job advert? Think about if your experiences have helped you develop these qualities. 

Subject-specific skills 

You may have subject-specific skills that are relevant to the role. For instance, if you study history and apply for a social media position, you could say that your degree has shown you how to be great at sourcing relevant information and writing engaging content. 

Or, if you've used software such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Excel, these computer skills may be attractive to employers recruiting for design or administration roles. 

Transferable skills 

Throughout your education or work experiences, the likelihood is that you have also developed several skills that can apply to numerous job roles. Transferable skills that many employers look for include: 

  • Time management 
  • Teamwork 
  • Leadership 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Communication 
  • Organisation 
  • Working under pressure 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Customer service 
  • Meeting deadlines 

See our advice below about how to adapt the skills you've gained during your studies for your CV. 

Further relevant skills could be: 

  • Ability to speak other languages 
  • If you have a driving licence 
  • Good level of fitness 
  • DBS check 


Before an employer hires you, they will probably ask for references. This is so they can be sure that they hire the best person for the role. 

You can add the contact details of your 'referees' to your CV. The employer can then phone or email your referees to confirm what you've written and find out more about your experiences. They could check with a previous employer, for example, that you used particular skills in a certain role, or if you were punctual and hard-working. 

You usually only have to provide details of two contacts. Ideally, one should be a previous employer. The other can be an academic contact, such as a teacher. Unfortunately, you cannot choose a personal contact, such as a friend or family member. 

If you don't have any employment history, referees you could use include: 

  • Someone you've volunteered for 
  • A community leader, such as a Scouts leader or sports coach 
  • Your school work experience manager 
  • A mentor or tutor 

Make sure you ask for your referee's permission before adding them to your CV. 

Alternatively, you can write "references available on request" if you want to save space – unless the employer has specified that they want references on your application. 

  • What are internships?

There are no rules for the format of your student CV, but it's best to keep it professional and as easy to understand as possible. Aim for: 

  • Simple layout 
  • Clear structure with headings 
  • Short paragraphs and sentences 
  • Key points in bullet lists 
  • Varied and interesting vocabulary (look at the job ad to see the kind of language used) 
  • Minimal use of the word "I" 
  • No spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or typos 
  • Honest writing with little humour and exaggeration 

You can get creative with the design if you think the employer will like it (perhaps if they're a graphic design company). But avoid going over the top as it may distract from the important information. 

CV writing tips 

  • Don't make up information or exaggerate – you may get caught out at the interview stage 
  • If you're an international student, you might want to say if your visa allows you to work part-time in the UK 
  • Rewrite, edit and proofread your CV, take breaks when doing so, and ask someone to check it for you to ensure it makes sense and there are no mistakes 
  • Regularly revisit your CV to make sure it's up to date and relevant to what you're applying for 
  • Use your school, college or university career service for extra support with your CV, even if you're a recent graduate 
  • Avoid putting your photo on your CV, as well as your age, race, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics, to help employers follow anti-discrimination laws

For students with no experience in employment 

Don't worry if you're unsure what to write about on your CV – you'll have gained many skills throughout your studies that are appropriate for a job. Think in depth about the activities you've been involved in during your education. For example: 

  • Have you completed a group project in a science class? Skills you have developed here are communication and working with others 
  • Created your own artwork or piece of music? You have creative skills 
  • Studied French, German or another language? Even if you're not fluent, learning a language shows your commitment 
  • Good at solving mathematical problems? You can think critically 
  • Worked on a piece of coursework or revised for exams? You're adept at time management and organisation 

Think about your hobbies, interests or any other activity you've been involved in. Do you fundraise for charity? Run any long races? Build models? Play an instrument? These show you have enthusiasm, focus and dedication. 

Whatever you're good at or interested in, try and make it applicable to the skills that the employer is looking for. 

Skills-based CV (alternative layout) 

Instead of organising your CV around your experiences, you can highlight your abilities through a skills-based CV. Choose your best skills and write them as subheadings, listing evidence below. For example, if an employer is looking for communication skills, you could organise your experiences as follows: 

Communication   During my degree at university, I was always active in seminar discussions, where I’d carefully explain and debate my thoughts to the wider group  My course involved regular presentations of our work to tutors and the class, which demanded clear and effective verbal communication skills  Through essays and coursework, I honed my written communication skills and can structure arguments coherently on the page  I also enjoyed several group projects where as a team, we’d listen to everyone’s perspectives and ensure everyone felt valued in the group

After categorising each skill, you can then list any relevant employment, volunteering or other experiences below. 

Writing a CV for university 

You don't need a CV to apply for university through UCAS, but you may need it for: 

  • Applying for a scholarship 
  • Grant proposals 
  • University teaching roles 

Whoever is looking through your CV for academic purposes is likely to be looking through many others. So be sure to tailor it for what you're applying to. Make it clearly show your education history, work experiences and achievements.

For more information on applications, see our applying to university guide .

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Developing a strong CV for Your Graduate School Application: How it Differs from a Resume

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Embarking on your journey to graduate school involves creating a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that stands out. While a CV can be quite similar to a resume in some aspects, for graduate school applications, it serves a very different purpose. Unlike a resume, which is typically concise and focused on work experience, a CV for graduate school is more detailed and academically oriented. Developing a strong CV is not a one-size-fits-all process. The advice provided here stems from one of many perspectives, other valid opinions also exist, especially from your advisors and within your field of study or discipline. There is no guaranteed format that will ensure success in securing a place in a program or a job, but suggestions towards what institutions are looking for.

How a CV Differs from a Resume

Length and Detail : A CV is typically longer than a resume because it includes more detailed sections on education, research, publications and other relevant academic data. While resumes are usually one to two pages, a CV can run several pages if the experience warrants it.

Purpose and Focus : The resume is a brief snapshot of your skills and experiences tailored to a specific job, emphasizing brevity and relevance to the job market. Conversely, the CV for graduate school is an exhaustive record of your academic journey, meant to showcase your intellectual background and readiness for rigorous scholarly work.

Content : Resumes often begin with a career objective or summary statement and focus on professional achievements and skills. A CV, instead, begins with your educational history and delves into academic achievements, including any research, publications, and detailed descriptions of academic projects.

Readability: The Crucial Element

With the potential of hundreds of CVs landing on an evaluator’s desk, readability is important. A CV that’s easy to navigate can make all the difference. Here’s how to enhance the readability of your CV:

  • Use a clear, legible font of at least 12 points; never go below 10 points to ensure clarity.
  • Maintain margins of at least one inch, but not smaller than 0.5 inches, for an organized layout.

Common CV Sections

Your CV should include (but is not limited to) the following sections:

  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Professional or Work Experience
  • Community or Academic Service
  • Honors & Awards

This list is not exhaustive, but it illustrates the comprehensive nature of a CV. Its purpose is to give the admissions committee a holistic view of your academic experience and strengths and potential as a researcher or a professor.

Tips for Crafting Your Graduate School CV

  • Tailor Your CV : Customize your CV for each graduate program you apply to, emphasizing the experiences and accomplishments that are most relevant to the field of study.
  • Highlight Your Academic Achievements : Put your educational background and any research, teaching, or academic work at the forefront.
  • Be Specific : Provide details about your research projects, including the objectives, methodologies, and conclusions, as well as any contributions to publications or academic conferences.
  • Professional Presentation : Format your CV clearly and professionally, using headers, bullet points, and consistent font and spacing to make it easily readable.
  • Proofread : A CV with typos or grammatical errors can detract from its professionalism. Make sure to proofread your CV several times and consider having a mentor or career consultant review it.

In conclusion, while a resume might be your go-to for job applications, developing a CV is a critical step in the journey to graduate school. It’s a chance to comprehensively represent your academic career and to persuade the admissions committee that you are an ideal candidate for further study. Remember, the CV is not just a summary of your past; it is a document that speaks to your future potential in the world of academia.

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How to Create a Basic Resume Format for Freshers

You're a fresher who has just finished university and is ready to start your career. The first thing you need to do is create a resume so you can start applying for jobs.

how to write a cv for university

 A basic resume format for freshers is similar to the resume someone with more work experience might use. You'll fill in as much as possible in each section and add any other miscellaneous information that might help promote you as a good candidate for a job.  

Header with your contact information 

Personal statement 

Work experience (such as part-time jobs, internships, or volunteer work)

Additional miscellaneous sections that might showcase what you have to offer

Header with contact information 

Start by adding your contact information to the top of the page. This will be the easiest part, but ensuring you get it right is essential so interviewers can contact you. Keep it simple with your full name, address, phone number, and email address. 

Suppose you have professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn or Twitter; you can add the links to those below your contact information. Make sure that any social media you add is clean enough for your employers to view, and only add it if it enhances your career somehow. Also, if you need a professional email address, you'll want to create one, preferably with some version of your full name.  

Next, you'll want to write a concise yet accurate personal statement summarising who you are and what you want in two to three sentences. Get straight to the point. As a fresher with little or no work experience, you'll want to highlight other aspects of who you are, though you will want to incorporate your current job goal. Remember that studies have shown recruiters spend less than eight seconds looking at a single resume. So, this is your place to grab their attention [ 1 ]. 

Here, you can talk briefly about your education, including your major. You can mention any internships, part-time jobs, awards, or certifications you've earned. You can also highlight your top skills. Highlighting your skills is an excellent idea if they match up with the wording used in the job advertisement.  

This can be the most challenging part of filling out a resume format for freshers because it takes some thought and creativity to begin. A good sample personal statement might read something like this: 

Recent university graduate with a degree in business administration and a passion for customer service, seeking an entry-level role in retail. Highly organised, excellent communicator, and great problem-solver, as demonstrated through a part-time job in sales and a three-month internship at XX store. 

If you have little or no work experience, focus on your educational background instead. List any postsecondary schools you've attended, dates of attendance, dates of graduation, and degrees you've earned. You can also add additional information if it's favourable, like your GPA, relevant coursework, significant projects, any clubs or societies you participated in, scholarships, honours, and any awards or accolades you earned. 

Start the entry with the degree or school name if you attended a highly respected university. Choose the one you think will get the most attention. Follow with the dates attended, and then add any remaining information in order of importance. 

Work experience 

Being a fresher doesn't always mean you don't have any work experience. Many people work their way through university or take on part-time jobs. You might have cared for your neighbour's child on weekends in secondary school. If you have work experience, you'll want to add it to your resume so that the interviewer knows you have successfully held a job, even if it is unrelated to the job you're applying for. 

Start the listing with the role or title you had, like "cashier", "customer service representative", or "barista". Place the dates of the job below the job title. There's no need to use exact dates—you can add the months and years. You'll also want to list the name of your employer. Next, list your key responsibilities and any skills you gained.  

What to do if you don’t have work experience? 

You have few options if you have yet to gain work experience. If you participated in any internships, you could list them here instead. You can also list any volunteer work you have been a part of. You can even list extracurricular activities here, like if you were a university sports team member or a student body president. Major projects you've completed, like research or website building, can also be added to your work experience section. 

As said earlier, when you list your skills, you want to match them to the job you are applying for and use similar language. For example, if the job requires someone who is a good communicator, highlight your communication skills. 

To list your technical skills and your workplace skills, consider making two separate lists. Under workplace or human skills, you can list general skills like communication, time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Under technical skills or technical skills, you can list skills like data analysis, Microsoft Office, technical writing, or social media marketing. 

If you speak multiple languages, highlight this under your skills section. If an employer seeks someone bilingual, this can be a significant advantage. As you list your languages, be sure to add whether it's your native language or you're fluent in it and if you can speak, read, write, or understand it or all four. 

Additional customised sections 

Whether you're a fresher with little to no work experience or you've been working for decades, there's a standard rule that your resume should only be one page long per each 10 years of experience. Meanwhile, you may need help filling in the page. If you've focused on your experience, list your skills and work or similar experiences. If you still have space, add a section that tells the recruiter more about you. Some acceptable ideas include the following:  


Awards you've earned

Hobbies and interests

Volunteer experience (if you didn't use this in the work experience section)

Links to a personal blog, website, or portfolio that showcases your skills

Additional courses that didn't fit into the education section 

What you're most proud of accomplishing in life 

A personal philosophy 

Personal and professional references

Any other miscellaneous skills that you couldn't fit into your skills section 

Next steps 

To prepare even further for entering the world of work, consider taking an online course on Coursera. You'll find options that can prepare you for everything from resume writing to job interviews, offered by the biggest names in business and education worldwide. Consider courses like:  

Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters by the University of Maryland 

How to Write a Resume (Project-Centred Course) by the State University of New York 

Interviewing and Resume Writing by the University of Maryland 

Land Your Next Role by Aptly 

The Art of the Job Interview by Big Interview 

Article sources

The Ladders. " Why do recruiters spend only 7.4 seconds on resumes? , https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/why-do-recruiters-spend-only-7-4-seconds-on-resumes." Accessed October 25, 2023.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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How to write a CV

A good CV should:

  • Be factual and accurate.
  • Be targeted to the job you're applying for.
  • Be short - ideally no more than 2 pages/sides of A4.
  • Convey an impression of what you'd be like as an employee.
  • Be easy to read, engaging and look professional.

Women studying at a table

What to include in a CV

You should include:

  • Your mobile telephone number, address – first part of your postcode or town / city (don’t provide your whole address for data protection reasons) and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile also provide your URL.
  • Your education and qualifications from school, college, university or vocational.
  • Your work experience (paid or unpaid), with responsibilities and achievements developed in these posts.
  • Your key or transferable skills.
  • Any additional relevant skills, such as language skills or specific IT skills.
  • It’s also useful to include a ‘personal profile’ or short paragraph highlighting your key skills and career aims to catch the eye of your potential employer.

You don’t need to include:

  • Your marital status.
  • Your health status.
  • Your nationality.
  • Your full address details (especially if your CV is publicly accessible for example on job boards).
  • School and university addresses, or examining boards.
  • Minor qualifications unrelated to the post applied for.

Choose the right type of CV

How you present your skills, achievements and ambitions in a CV (curriculum vitae) are key so it’s important to choose the right format for the job you're applying for and your circumstances.

There are 2 main types of CV:

  • A chronological (or traditional) CV, and
  • A skills-based (or functional) CV.

Other types of CV include:

  • First job - non graduate CV.
  • First job - graduate CV, and
  • Unemployed CV.

Chronological CV

This type of CV lists your details, under appropriate headings, starting with the most recent.

This format of CV can suit best if you…

  • Have experience and skills that closely relate to the job you're applying for.
  • Want to emphasise career progression.
  • Have had mainly continuous employment with no gaps.
  • If you want to use this format and have gaps in your work history, give an appropriate reason for them, such as bringing up a family.

Skills-based or functional CV

This type of CV emphasises your skills and personal qualities rather than your employment history.

This format can suit best if you…

  • Are changing career and want to show employers how transferable skills gained in other types of employment will be relevant for the post.
  • Have extensive gaps in your employment history, because they are not as prominent as they would be in a date-listed order in a chronological CV. Be prepared though to explain any gaps at interview.
  • Have had a series of short term paid or voluntary roles; this format enables you to group together related skills and achievements gained from these.

Person using a grinder

Other types of CV

While a skills-based CV or chronological CV will be appropriate for many jobs and circumstance, there may be some sectors and jobs where you want to use a combination of these formats or has different requirements.

A hybrid CV is a mix of the chronological and the skills-based/functional CVs. It sticks to the more conventional order of the former but combines an ordered layout with more emphasis on achievements and skills found in the skills-based, rather than on responsibilities.

The hybrid CV can be a good option if you want to draw attention to specific skills or achievements that would help you stand out as a candidate.

Technical CV

Mostly needed for IT roles, the technical CV provides a format for highlighting specific technical skills relevant to the role (eg programming languages, systems, platforms) alongside the all-important ‘softer skills’ that all employers are looking for.

Creative industries CV

With the expansion of digital and creative industries over recent years, CV formats have become more imaginative in these sectors. A highly creative CV format can be suitable for some roles in creative and artistic sectors such as marketing, design or journalism where it could help you stand out from the crowd. In its presentation, it can demonstrate your design skills and creativity in a way that a potential employer can see and feel. Infographics are a popular tool for taking large amounts of information and presenting them in a visually engaging way.

Many employers will be looking to assess your creativity through your portfolio, often at interview stage. However, if practical, you can put elements of your portfolio onto a website and include the web address in your CV. If you do this, make sure your work is structured and indexed, well photographed and highlights the range of your work which is relevant to the role.

However creatively you plan to present your CV, remember that employers will still need to see, at a glance, that you have the criteria they're looking for. Presentation must be balanced with the essential requirement of providing relevant evidence targeted to the role and the employer.

If the career gap you are concerned about was a very long time ago, say 10-15 years, there is no need to for you to worry. The chances are the employer won’t even think about it. Similarly, if the gap is a matter of a few months rather than years, don’t lose sleep over it. The easiest way to avoid these sorts of gaps gaping out at the employer is to only give the years for your employment rather than the months. For example, you could say 2004 – 2012 (rather than May 2004 – February 2012) which would give you some room to cover the gaps. 

No matter how negative you think the reasons are for any gaps in employment, it really is essential that you do not try to hide them by extending the length of time spent in other positions. A lot of jobseekers have a tendency to do this “It’s just a couple of years, no one will know”. Employers are more than likely going to take up references from your previous employers and will be able to find out straight away whether or not you have been dishonest.

Some gaps in your work history are easier to explain than others and the key is really to try and make it sound as positive as possible. Always try to focus on positive points from your career gap, experiences you have gained or the new skills you have learnt. Try to use the gap to your advantage. For instance, if you went travelling to India during your gap year at University, you could say that the experience developed your budgeting skills, independence and awareness of different cultures. Now if you were applying for a job that involves working with people from different ethnic backgrounds, this would be a very useful attribute to highlight on your CV.

Backpacking in Norway


If the gap in your career was due to you doing some voluntary work, make sure you mention this. Working voluntarily at your local youth club or community centre is a great way to showcase what you have been doing whilst you have been out of work. The experience and skills you acquire will definitely be seen as transferable to employed situations, and it will also demonstrate to employers that you are enthusiastic and willing to invest your own time in making a positive contribution to help others and to help yourself.


Another good example to use is self-employment. If you tried starting up your own business, you can then say that you now have experience of being your own boss. You could point out all the new skills you have gained from sales to budgeting and from marketing to hiring and firing assuming that you had people working for you. Even if the business venture wasn’t successful (don’t mention this negative aspect on your CV) at least you can take a lot of positives from your career gap.

Caring for a family member

The good thing about disclosing the reasons behind a career gap are that you are under no obligation to reveal everything. It is always easier to explain gaps in detail later in interview situations rather than on your CV. Sometimes the bare minimum is sufficient but that’s only true if the reasons you have given are satisfactory and positive. For example:

“A family member was ill and I was responsible for caring for them. Once they recovered I was able to start looking for work.”

This gets straight to the point and thus prevents employers from making both negative and instinctive conclusions about the gap. Not only have you explained what you were doing but you’ve provided reassurance to potential employers that the issue is now completely resolved and that you are fit for work.

Lady sitting next to an elderly man

CVs for different scenarios

You may have gaps in your employment history or have information you need to disclose to a prospective employer. These example CVs can provide some tips and advice on how to explain these scenarios.

If you have a gap in your career history

PDF document

If you have a criminal record

If you have a disability

Key steps for creating a CV

Aim to create a ‘master’ CV (curriculum vitae) which includes a range of skills, qualities and achievements which you can then tailor and adapt to specific vacancies you're applying for.

A seven-point plan to prepare a winning CV

1. Gather information

Gather together the core information that you’ll need to populate your CV: dates of study and your qualifications, dates of employment, voluntary work and your core contact details.

Choose the most appropriate format of CV for the job you're applying for or your circumstance.

3. Draft a Personal Profile (or Career Summary)

This section is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s where you give an overview of who you are and inject a touch of personality. Tailor it to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role. Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences. Write in the third person, for example, ‘A natural sciences graduate, with over 10 years’ experience in the environmental conservation sector…’ instead of ‘I am a natural sciences graduate’. 

To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:

Your key strengths and attributes.

A summary of your experience and brief details of achievements or results relevant to the role.

Your career goals.

4. Use clear and positive language

Avoid general phrases and clichés such as ‘I work well as part of a team and on my own initiative’. Incorporate key words and phrases that appear in the job specification.

Don't compare yourself to others notepad writing

5. Be concise

Organise the content so your CV is no more than two sides of A4. Try to include a brief ‘Personal Profile’ at the start, and make sure your relevant experience and qualifications are prominent. Highlight key information with headings and bullet points. Minimum font size would be Arial 10, Calibri 11 or similar. Sans-serif fonts are easier on the eye.

6. Review and check your CV

Have you given enough prominence to the experience or qualifications that the potential employer is looking for? As a rule the first two thirds of the front page should show how you meet their needs. Check it for accuracy, grammar and spelling. Ask someone who knows you to look over this to review it. If you know someone who works in the same sector, their views could be really valuable.

7. Tailor your content for each job application

Draw on your most relevant skills or experience, giving brief and specific examples that demonstrate your qualities and achievements. Identify how your contribution made a difference and what added value it offered. As a general rule, if the information is not relevant to the needs of the employer as specified in the person specification then do not include it in your application. This is not the entire story of your life, just the parts that are relevant to that employer.

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StandOut CV

How to write your degree on your CV

Andrew Fennell

You’ve quite literally dedicated years of your life to your university degree, so you understandably want to do this justice on your CV.

However, knowing the best ways to present your degree on your CV, how much detail to include and where to position this information isn’t always second nature, particularly if you’re new to the world of work.

So, if you’re looking for the best way to showcase your degree and impress recruiters, this guide is for you. Below, we’re going to share with you some proven and effective ways to write your degree into your CV.

Bold CV builder - small

Add your degree after your name

One of the simplest ways to include your degree on your CV and to let the recruiter know right away that you’re qualified is to add your degree after your name.

How to write degree on CV

But of course, you don’t want this to take up a lot of room or to look too ‘clunky’, which is where standardised abbreviations come in.

In the UK , there are several types of degrees you can study, and therefore you need a way to demonstrate and differentiate these. The standardised abbreviations are:

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Medical Degree (MD)
  • Bachelor of Science Honours (BSc (Hons))
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA (Hons))
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

To add these to your CV, simply put your name at the top as you normally would, followed by a comma and your relevant abbreviation, for example, Joe Smith, PhD.

If you’ve got multiple credentials that you need to add, you should do the same but list these in ascending order, for example, Joe Smith, MSc, PhD.

Bold CV builder - large

Where to include your degree on CV

As well as putting your qualification next to your name at the top of your CV, there are a number of other places you can highlight this.

You can mention this in your personal profile , stating your course name and given grade if you’ve already graduated.

But perhaps most importantly, you need to include your degree in your education section . This is an essential part of your CV as it is a formal summary of your qualifications. In this section, you will list your qualifications in reverse chronological order, so your degree will come first. You should include the name of your course/degree, followed by the university you study or studied at, and the dates you attend(ed).

The other details will depend on whether you’ve already graduated or you’re still studying.

Student/School leavers

If you’re still a student and you haven’t got a grade behind you yet, there are several ways you can support this section. Instead of including a final grade, you can include the degree you are studying for, to show you are working towards it

You could also include details of any exams you have taken and how you scored on these and possibly even your predicted grade if you know it.

How to write student education

Experienced candidates

If you’re a more experienced candidate, you might prefer to save space on your CV to discuss your career history, but your degree could still be very attractive to employers, so don’t forget to include it.

You could add your degree initials next to your name and mention it briefly in your education and CV profile

Experienced candidate degree CV

Where to put your education on your CV

Something else that you have to consider when writing your CV is how you’re going to structure it. There are a number of different ways you can do this depending on the role you’re applying for; for example, is it an academic role, a graduate role, etc.?


However, there is a standard structure (also known as a chronological CV) that most job hunters tend to use, and this goes as follows:

  • Header – containing your name (and possibly credentials) and contact information
  • Personal profile
  • Core skills
  • Work experience/employment history
  • Hobbies and interests – optional

Here, you can see your education section is placed towards the bottom of your CV.

However, if you’re a student or fresh graduate with no experience you might wish to prioritise your degree by putting your education section above your employment history.

This might also be the case if you’re applying for a graduate role or if the employer has placed importance on education over experience in the job description.

How to write first-class honours degree on cv

If you’ve achieved a first-class honours degree, you should be very proud of yourself, and you need to make sure you shout about this throughout your CV.

When adding this to your personal profile, you might wish to abbreviate your credentials to ‘1st’ or simply leave it as ‘first class’ – ultimately, it’s up to you which you prefer.

So, for example, you might write

‘I am a talented marketing professional with a first-class honours degree in Digital Marketing’.

Alternatively, you could choose to write:

‘I am a skilled tradesman who achieved a 1st class honours degree in Welding Engineering’

When it comes to including your degree in your educations section, the same rules apply. However, if you’re looking to save space at all costs, you might prefer to use the abbreviation of 1st – after all, every little helps.

How to include an unfinished degree on your CV

How to write 2:1 degree on CV

If you achieved a 2:1, this is also great news, and there are multiple ways you might wish to show this on your CV. Although 2:1 is the most common way of writing your degree, 2.1 is also an acceptable version in the UK.

“Junior designer with 2:1 degree in Graphic Design from the University of Brighton”

These two (1st and 2:1) are both classed as upper-division honours degrees. If your grade was lower than this, you might wish to simply characterise this by your degree type and name rather than including the lower grade.

For example, you can open your profile by saying, ‘I am a Graphic Designer with a degree in Design Studies, ’ avoiding giving an actual grade.

In conclusion, whether you’re still studying, you’re a recent graduate, or you’ve been a part of the workforce for several years now, highlighting your degree on your CV is so important. Using our tips and advice above, you can carefully write your degree into your CV to show your passion for your industry and that you’re qualified for the role.

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20 Tips on How to Write a Resume

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20 Tips on How to Write a Resume was originally published on Resume.io .

how to write a cv for university

When you come to write a resume, you need to spend more than the two minutes that you spend reading this article to research your approach. While we have created these 20 tips, here is a far more in-depth “ how to write a resume ” guide – that is 52 minutes well spent!

We would like to share some general tips around resume writing. As with much job search advice, many of them are common sense, but in the brain fog of a job search they are worth repeating. Do the basics and do them well.

Get all the key info onto the front page. 40% of job seekers will opt for a two-page resume, so choose a resume template that puts your core selling points in the first page.

Include a hyperresource_location to resource_locationedIn. Most resumes should have a resource_location to your resource_locationedIn. Spell the hyperresource_location in full as resource_locations may not always work or the person may be reading a print-out.

Have both PDF and Word documents ready to go. There is nothing worse than having to do last-minute editing. Some employers request one or the other. Use a resume builder.

Avoid emojis. Stay on the safe side. Yes, increasing amounts of people are using emojis on their resume. It may become mainstream, but until that point, we would advise against it.

A resume with symbols is okay though. Using symbols and icons on your resume is acceptable, but you run the risk of the ATS system not picking up on vital information.

Tailor the summary for each role. Change at least 20% of your resume summary for each role. Tailor the application – write it for each individual hiring manager.

Write a reverse chronological resume. Only opt for another format if you are a recent graduate or career changer who wishes to emphasize relevant skills over work experience.

Create bullets starting with action verbs in the past tense. Directed, facilitated, monitored, etc. In this way you get straight to the heart of the action without any additional waffle.

Share what you did and why it mattered to you. While a cover letter is the main vehicle for showcasing your personality, try to share your “why” wherever possible within a resume.

Don’t mention responsibilities – only achievements. Most candidates can (and will) create a list of past responsibilities that fit the job description. But were they any good at the job?

Don’t be afraid to give a reason for an employment gap. It is often better to address an employment gap (over 6-9 months) in a resume. You can also only list years of employment.

Focus on hard skills in the skills section. Your soft skills should come across within the achievements that you share. Hard skills are easier to quantify – only pick the rare ones.

Start the stories that you wish to tell at an interview. Do not include anything in your resume that you would not wish to expand upon during an interview. Be selective.

Share your education, no matter how long ago it was. The education section of a resume is an essential book end to your career. Share the details – ideally with GPA or equivalent.

Tell a career story of continuous development. Try to make it clear that you are on a continuing path of growth. Build to a crescendo towards the point of looking for a new role.

Include keywords for the ATS, but don’t overdo it. If your most recent job titles and experiences are a rough fit for the role, then you should pass the initial ATS test.

Have a look at example resumes for inspiration. The internet is full of example resumes for all sorts of occupations. Most are pretty decent, so adopt the best bits for yourself.

Don’t include references. You might wish to include a line such as “references on request”, but it is obvious that references will be requested when the time comes. It wastes space.

Only quantify with numbers if they are genuinely impressive. It is advisable to quantify achievements, but only do it if they numbers will set you apart from the competition.

Sleep on it before you send it off. Never (ever) send your resume off to an employer if you sense you are rushing. Those last-minute changes could make all the difference.

As mentioned, these tips are merely scratching the surface. Everyone’s situation is different, so take every piece of advice and ask yourself whether it applies to you. Be deliberate when you write your resume – you often only get one chance to get it right.

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4 ways to use AI in your job search

resume computer job search

Below are specific ways you can use AI to complement your job search process and some things to consider to ensure you use it most effectively. 

Craft your resume 

It takes time and effort to tailor your resume to each position. A strong resume has succinct and compelling bullet points that reflect your experience. AI can help you write resume bullet points to achieve these objectives.

  • Customize your resume by writing bullet points and then prompt ChatGPT to provide alternatives. 
  • For example, in the prompt, you can type specific responsibilities from your past jobs or internships and ask the tool to generate resume achievements with metrics based on these responsibilities. 

Considerations and limitations

  • AI tools make recommendations based on industry trends and norms, which could be different for the company or position you’re pursuing. 
  • The tool can only include the information you provide.  
  • Look for irregularities, details that don’t align with your experience and repetitive information. 
  • Be careful not to input highly sensitive or personal information into tools like ChatGPT.

Career Services tools

  • Career Services offers free access to Quinncia , an online resume review tool that provides personalized feedback on your resume. 
  • Review resume best practices offered by Career Services. 

Customize your cover letter

Writing effective cover letters can be tricky and time-consuming. Generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, can speed up the writing process. However, you can’t rely on AI tools to do all of the work. While you can use AI to write cover letters, you must edit and personalize your letters to create a genuine and professional end product. Remember, anyone can plug cover letter prompts into ChatGPT based on a job description and get the same responses as you can. The key is customization and blending your unique voice. To create the prompt in ChatGPT, you’ll need the job or internship description, your polished and well-organized resume and a cover letter framework . 

  • Start with your written cover letter and prompt ChatGPT to provide alternative ways to write sentences or sections within. 
  • Write a cover letter for this job description (paste the job description).  
  • That uses these experiences (paste resume content).  
  • Using this cover letter framework (paste the cover letter).  
  • You can run multiple iterations to see which versions you prefer. 
  • Edit the letter by copying and pasting the information into a document editor, like Word or Google Docs. 
  • Be sure to add relevant details, including a header, signature and the company’s contact information.  
  • Tailor the letter to include information demonstrating you understand the company and position. 
  • AI tools can make spelling mistakes and other typos. Be sure to proofread the letter and make any needed changes.
  • Check out cover letter writing tips from Career Services. 
  • Schedule time with a Career Services advisor.

Write effective emails

During the job search process, you will likely need to communicate with potential employers using email. We recommend responding to emails from an employer within 24 hours. Identifying what to write and what not to include can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not used to writing professional emails. ChatGPT can be helpful when you’re under pressure, have writer’s block or want to ensure you communicate professionally. 

  • Paste in the original message, remove personal details and ask ChatGPT for a response.  
  • Skim the response options and use applicable elements from the recommended wording for your response. 
  • Or ask ChatGPT how to respond to the subject of the email. For example, enter a prompt about how to respond to an email asking for interview preferences.
  • Direct communication by email requires a personalized response. 
  • Ensure the tone of the response matches the intent of the email.  
  • Use AI as a guide or starting point for an email response, but don’t rely on the generated content without proofreading and ensuring the email response represents your personality well. 
  • Career Services is available to help you understand the job search process, including how to answer an email or tips to negotiate a starting salary .  
  • Schedule time with a Career Services advisor. 

Prepare for interviews

Answering interview questions can be challenging, especially for your first few interviews. You may not know what interview questions to expect or how to answer them best. ChatGPT and Quinncia’s mock interview tool can help you practice and prepare for interviews before they arrive so you feel more confident.  

  • Prompt ChatGPT with a job or internship description and ask for sample interview questions for that position.  
  • Consider whether you feel confident in your responses to potential questions. If not, ask ChatGPT for sample answers. You can use your experience to prompt ChatGPT for a more relevant response to a question.
  • Remember that humans, not AI, will interview you. How you interact with AI will look different than how you interact with a human. Take what ChatGPT offers, critically analyze it and make it your own.  
  • ChatGPT and similar tools are helpful but cannot replace your creative and thoughtful interview responses. 
  • Remember that ChatGPT is open to everyone. Others may get that same generic response. Prompt the system with specific questions or information for more unique outputs.
  • Career Services provides free access to Quinncia’s mock interview tool to help you practice interviewing. 
  • You can also work with a career advisor to practice and prepare for interviews. Schedule time . 

Take your search to the next level

We are in an experimental phase of AI adoption with massive room for advancement. AI will eventually span all industries and embody existing technologies in unimaginable ways. As a student, you can benefit from learning how to leverage AI technology today. 

Career Services is here to help you learn how to use AI effectively for your job or internship search. We are available to meet with you, answer questions, provide resources and offer training to support your career goals.  


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  5. CV Example for University Students|MyperfectCV

    how to write a cv for university

  6. 20+ Student Resume Examples & Templates for All Students

    how to write a cv for university


  1. CV for University Application [example CV + guide]

    Structuring your CV. As you write your CV, work to the simple but effective structure below:. Name and contact details - Pop them at the top of your CV, so it's easy for recruiters to contact you.; CV profile - Write a snappy overview of what makes you a good fit for the role; discussing your key experience, skills and accomplishments.; Core skills section - Add a short but snappy list ...

  2. PDF CVs and Cover Letters

    Harvard University • Harvard College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ... Your CV represents your accomplishments and experience as an academic and helps to establish your ... speak or write on your behalf. Some formatting pointers: There is no single best format. Refer to samples for ideas, but craft your CV to best reflect you

  3. PDF Curriculum Vitae Tips and Samples

    Tailor your CV to the specific positions to which you are applying and place more relevant sections earlier in the document. - For a position at a teaching-focused liberal arts college, the CV will strongly emphasize teaching. - For a position at a research-intensive university, the CV will accentuate research.

  4. Writing the Curriculum Vitae

    Writing the Curriculum Vitae. This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time. Although there is some overlap between the two resources, this handout should serve as a supplement to ...

  5. How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Step 2: Collect and Fill in Information. Make a list of all your teaching experience, research experience, work experience, awards and scholarships, study abroad and training programs, professional associations, publications, presentations, technical skills, languages, education, and certifications. Use exact names for degrees, programs ...

  6. Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter

    Create a Resume/CV or Cover Letter. A resume is a brief, informative document summarizing your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and differentiate you from other candidates. Used most frequently in academic settings, a CV (curriculum vitae) is also a summary of your experience and abilities, but a ...

  7. Creating an Undergraduate CV

    Creating an Undergraduate CV. Your curriculum vitae (CV) is a representation of your scholarly identity and trajectory in your field. A CV is used to apply to research roles or other academic positions. It shows your academic credentials and achievements, experience conducting research in your field, and other experience relevant to the ...

  8. How To Write an Undergraduate CV in 10 Steps (Plus Tips)

    Here are 10 steps you can take to write an effective CV that outlines and highlights your undergraduate experience and skills: 1. List your contact information. Since you use a CV when applying for job opportunities, internships or graduate programs, it's important to ensure the reader knows who you are and how to contact you.

  9. Student Career Guide: How To Write a University Resume (With ...

    How to write a university resume. The structure of a university resume differs from most resumes, as your purpose is to impress recruiters with your potential, rather than your experience. Here are the key sections you should consider when writing your university resume: Related: Resume Writing 101: Tips for Creating a Resume (With Examples) 1.

  10. How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) (With Examples)

    Depending on the country, you may also need to provide the following in an international CV: Nationality. Marital status. Age. Number of children (ages optional) Personal interests like hobbies. All education including high school / secondary school. Photos are also recommended (a professional headshot is best)

  11. Academic CV Template + Examples, Best Format, & Tips

    An academic CV is a synopsis of your educational background, professional appointments, research and teaching experience, publications, grants, awards, fellowships, and other key achievements. CVs are widely used by researchers and scholars when applying for academic, scientific, or research jobs. Let's make one thing clear.

  12. CV Examples for Students (With How-To, Tips and Template)

    Related: How To Write a CV: Tips, Template and Example. 1. Use the proper format and structure. Before you start writing your student CV, it is essential to determine the correct structure and format. This gives your CV a professional look and improves legibility. Use simple and clear fonts that make it easy to read your CV.

  13. How to write a great CV

    A chronological CV is best if you've got a lot of work experience and/or education in the field that you want to show off. Whichever you choose, make sure everything fits onto two A4 pages. Reverse chronological CV. This is the most common type of student CV. Here are the best ways to write a reverse chronological CV:

  14. 9 graduate CV examples + step-by-step guide [Get noticed]

    Competition for the best jobs can be tough, so you need a CV that holds employers attention and shows them why you are the best candidate for the job. This post contains 9 real-life graduate CV examples that have been used to land interviews and secure job offers for graduates. And there is also a step-by-step guide on how to write your own ...

  15. Student CV Examples, Writing Tips, and Template

    CV Examples for Students. You'll need to write a great student CV if you want to stand out amongst other applicants. Check out our student cv example, template, and 3 writing tips for help. a high school or college student applying for a job or internship, you'll need a great student CV to accompany your job application.

  16. University Student CV Template—20+ Writing Tips & Samples

    Use the reverse-chronological format. Fill it with CV fonts like either Cambria or Garamond in 10-12pt. Add 1-inch margins, large headings, and occasional white space. Make a one-page CV. University students don't need more. Use these CV sections: Header, Objective, Experience, Education, Skills, and "Other.".

  17. University Application CV: Examples, Template, Writing Tips

    A university CV example better than most. How to write a CV for university that gets you interviewed. How to pick and list activities on CVs so you turn heads like Macklemore. The fastest way to get your university application CV noticed. Save hours of work and get a CV like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy.

  18. How to write a student CV (with examples)

    Introduction. At the top of your CV, include your: Full name. Professional email address. Phone number. General location or current address. Optional: a tagline that summarises you (for example, "Graduate graphic designer") If you want, you can include a personal statement.

  19. Undergraduate CV example + Writing guide and CV template

    Structuring your CV. Divide your CV into the following major sections when writing it: Name and contact details - Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you. CV profile - A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you're a good match for ...

  20. Developing a strong CV for Your Graduate School Application: How it

    While a CV can be quite similar to a resume in some aspects, for graduate school applications, it serves a very different purpose. Unlike a resume, which is typically concise and focused on work experience, a CV for graduate school is more detailed and academically oriented. Developing a strong CV is not a one-size-fits-all process.

  21. How to Create a Basic Resume Format for Freshers

    A basic resume format for freshers is similar to the resume someone with more work experience might use. You'll fill in as much as possible in each section and add any other miscellaneous information that might help promote you as a good candidate for a job. Header with your contact information. Personal statement. Education.

  22. University student CV examples & templates

    How to write a CV for a university student. When creating a CV for a university student, the most important thing is to stay accurate and work methodically. If you're wondering how to write a CV, you should know that recruiters value work experience and key skills. So, this is a good place to start.

  23. How to write a student CV (tips and steps)

    Creating a simple CV that's easy to read is important. Make sure the layout you use is clear, clean and concise. Use a consistent font face and size. Clearly break up the CV into sections including education and work experience. List the entries in chronological order with the most recent listed first.

  24. How to write a CV

    1. Gather information. Gather together the core information that you'll need to populate your CV: dates of study and your qualifications, dates of employment, voluntary work and your core contact details. 2. Format. Choose the most appropriate format of CV for the job you're applying for or your circumstance. 3.

  25. How to write your degree on your CV [With examples]

    How to write 2:1 degree on CV. If you achieved a 2:1, this is also great news, and there are multiple ways you might wish to show this on your CV. Although 2:1 is the most common way of writing your degree, 2.1 is also an acceptable version in the UK. "Junior designer with 2:1 degree in Graphic Design from the University of Brighton"

  26. 20 Tips on How to Write a Resume

    Tailor the summary for each role. Change at least 20% of your resume summary for each role. Tailor the application - write it for each individual hiring manager. Write a reverse chronological resume. Only opt for another format if you are a recent graduate or career changer who wishes to emphasize relevant skills over work experience.

  27. 4 ways to use AI in your job search

    Tips. Customize your resume by writing bullet points and then prompt ChatGPT to provide alternatives. For example, in the prompt, you can type specific responsibilities from your past jobs or internships and ask the tool to generate resume achievements with metrics based on these responsibilities.