Preparing Your Résumé or Curriculum Vitae


Your Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a structurised listing of vocational facts. Its purpose is to provide convenient and quick reference to information of yourself to a reader of it. It is your mission to make it the best way possible.
Make it clear, easy to read, well organized and neatly typed. Do not over-embellish - two fonts are usually optimal - and each one must be used for its purpose. For example, one is used for section titles, and the other for body text. To keep the text readable, avoid using a font size of less than ten points. You may also use indentions, space, alignment, bold and italic text, but remember to be consistent.
Though they are similar documents, the résumé and Curriculum Vitae have their differences. Résumés normally present a few essential sections, discussed below: "Personal," "Experience," "Skills" or "Capabilities" (including languages), "Extracurricular Activities" and "References." Whatever combination you choose, it is not to exceed one page in length. Because résumés concentrate on the specific data and accomplishments of past jobs, include the most relevant and substantial for each potential position. The Curriculum Vitae (sometimes called just vita) provides a comprehensive list of information necessary for perfect candidacy by listing your experiences in extensive detail. It is used more often than a résumé for presentation of a biography for academic positions. Vita may be up to four pages in length. However, short versions of CVs are not unheard of.
Another difference between a CV and a résumé is format. While CVs adhere to chronological order, résumés present information in several different formats. The key résumé formats are chronological, functional and focused (the latter is less widespread, though there are even less traditional forms of résumé: a letter, article, etc).
Chronological order is the most acceptable and widespread résumé presentation. It is characterized by the presentation of sections in connection with studies, jobs, and so on listed in reverse chronological order. It offers the most convenient reference alongside one's fact sheet.
Skills or areas of qualification as a stem organize the functional résumé. In the functional résumé one splits his activities and accomplishments into domains of competence in sections titled, for example, "Assets or Capabilities." Professional history then follows, with brief statements of the employment data.
Finally, the focused (or targeted, analytical) résumé depicts all that candidate has done and known (skills, accomplishments, etc) in relation to the targeted position by distributing it into sections like "Attainments" and "Accomplishments."
There is no strict rule in presenting information; the goal is to do so in the most positive, comprehensive and simultaneously concise way. Do anything that you believe will be appropriate regarding the position for which you are applying.
Be specific with your information; it gives reliability to your credentials. Communicate dates, titles of positions and names of institutions. However, omit irrelevant information: for example, your height, weight and health usually bear little relation to your qualifications.
Information in résumé or CV is given under sections. Depending on your objectives and the kind of document you're presenting - résumé or CV - you may in any section give the full listing of facts or provide information for a certain period of time (for example, for the last five years, indicating this in the section title), or even selected information.
Your résumé or CV will start with the header, which comprises your name, surname, and contact information: address, telephone number and email (your home email address is mandatory; you may also include your work email address if appropriate). Do not forget to provide contact information, or your perspective employer may not be able to reach you.
The following are basic suggestions for possible resumé or CV sections:

Objective (optional)

Some people start their résumé or CV with the "Objective" section, but it is not always necessary. It is needed, though, if you know that there are several positions open at the company to which you are applying. It is particularly useful when you do not provide a cover letter. Objective should consist of a short, definite statement (usually merely the title of the position you are applying for).


This section gives the most basic information: your origin, age, etc. Consider whether it is necessary section in your résumé. State here your date of birth and place (city, country) of birth. If you are applying to an international program or job overseas, it is important to include your citizenship information here. Follow with your marital status and number of children, if any (these are even more optional items).


Along with the "Experience" section (see below), this is a mandatory one. In this section, list all significant certificates received, beginning with your most recent studies. Include school education only if you are an undergraduate applicant. Graduates do not usually mention pre-college education. Entry contents may be represented in two ways, depending on what you want to emphasize. One way is to list the dates of attendance (years and probably months) and name of institution at the beginning, followed by the city of location (and probably country if preparing an international application), then the department, specialty, degree earned and date when earned. Alternatively, list the date the degree was earned first, then the degree (and field of specialization), department and institution. If you are recent graduate, you may also include the title of your thesis and GPA (Grade Point Average) if it is high enough. Here you may also include scholarships and honours you have received, or you may place this information in a separate section (see "Awards," below). If you studied at several schools before you obtained a degree, it is not necessary to list every institution you attended.

Along with information about your higher education, name any courses taken and certificates earned that you believe necessary, including the institution having issued credentials, and the month and year of issuance.

Entry may also begin with the name of the degree earned, not with the university. In this case, giving the date of the program completion at the start seems more appropriate.

Experience (Professional Records)

Here you give positions you have held in reverse chronological order. You may specify all of your previous jobs or make a selection of the significant ones (in CV format you usually provide a comprehensive list). Begin with the dates, then provide employment information, starting with the position title (which is usually highlighted). Then give the name of the institution and its form of establishment (e.g. joint-stock company, limited, etc). Abbreviations must be spelled out. (You may briefly describe the activities of the institution in parentheses.) Indicate the institution's address (including country for international applications). Students and recent graduates who have previously only held unqualified jobs may wish to start their job entries with the institution name instead of the position title. If you are a recent graduate, you need to denote every professional job you've held, whether an internship or summer job. Be explicit with your information: it is highly recommended (especially when the position title is not explicit) that, in addition to job title and company information, you include a brief description (in incomplete sentences) of your job responsibilities, using present-tense verbs for current jobs, and past-tense verbs for previously held positions. To escape monotony, diversify the action verbs you use. Incorporating bullets for itemization will break up solid text and make the text easier to read.

For added effect, do not just describe your job responsibilities but provide quantifiable rate indicators, or better yet, your achievements - concrete results, if possible - in measurable terms as well. For example, rather than writing, "advised on taxation," instead write, "advised on taxation approx five clients daily (15 in peak of submitting quarterly reports)." Or, instead of "designed company's web site," you write, "designed company's web site, which increased company's overall product sale by 50 percent." If your accomplishment resulted in promotion, bonus, salary raise (in percentage; do not refer to the monetary amounts of salary), be sure to mention that as well. Describe the extent of your responsibilities (for example: "Managed purchase budget of $[number]," or, "Supervised [number]-people staff"). List the most impressive notes first to evoke reader interest. Again, omit irrelevant information: phone numbers or names of employers (though you may name supervisors of postdoctoral work). Finally, do not mention reasons for leaving former jobs.


You may present a set of only relevant or selected conferences attended. Alternatively, you may name only conferences visited abroad, and then title this section "International Conferences." Give the name of the conference, date (or you may start the record with the date) and place (city and, selectively, country), title of delivered paper, if any (do not forget to include this in "Publications" section as well and refer to this section), organizers, and organizers' location. In this section and format you may also indicate seminars and workshops attended.


First, indicate your native language (or languages), then mention any foreign languages you know, accompanied by your level of proficiency: basic or introductory, intermediate, working knowledge, reading or audible understanding (or understanding text, speech), fluent.


In this section, you may want to emphasize your specific skills pertaining to the position of your application. Or you may describe other skills and their level (probably mentioning certificates) not denoted elsewhere in your résumé or CV, i.e. typing skills, computer skills, driver's license, First Aid or Lifeguard certificate. Everything listed here should be vocational.

Computer Skills

In this section, name all significant software (and probably hardware) you are familiar with. Make sure the names are spelled correctly. Begin with operational systems and continue with MS Office programs; Word and Excel are the most valuable ones. If you are able to program, under subdivision Programming Languages, indicate programming languages you know.

Extracurricular Activities

If you are a student applying to university, any information representing you as an all-round person will be beneficial. If you are not a student, a brief description of the activities beyond your main ones will convey your energy and involving character.


This is not a vital part of your résumé or CV; however, if you are applying for a job, under the title of this section you may insert the phrase "Available upon request." If you have space, it is even more helpful to provide a list of referees with names, positions, and work contact information. This information may also be listed on an attached sheet, titled "References." Referees must be from the professional sphere or academia, and not your friends or relatives.

You may also include other relevant information in your document, listing it under specially designed sections. For example, researchers may provide the sections "Research" or "Research Interests," and those having worked abroad may choose to include a section titled "Research Experience Abroad" (indicating time span, position and place). Professors may include "Teaching Experience," "Foreign Lecturing," or "Lectures and Presentations"; likewise, physicians may include sections such as "Community Service," "Licensure," or "Qualification Examinations."

Make sure your paper has no grammatical or orthographic mistakes. If you are not a native English speaker, let someone with high proficiency in English (say, native speaker or English teacher) proofread it. In any case, let many people look at it to trace probable shortcomings.

Remember that with this document you must make a good impression on someone you do not know. If you do not represent yourself well, you may be rejected from the position you are applying for. A well-written résumé or CV substantially increases your chances of obtaining the desired position.



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