How To Write A Curriculum Vitae (CV) in 2023

how to write a CV

The major intent in the heart of your prospective employers for advertising the role you are about to apply for is to get the best hands to do the job. They want to consider your skill, experience, and educational qualifications to confirm that you are the right fit. More often than not, these are individuals who have never met you and your only opportunity of making an impression is through your curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter. Your chances of getting the job are determined by how well the two documents can speak for you. This article contains all the necessary information you in order need to craft a good CV.

Meaning of CV

In 1482, Leonardo Da Vinci wrote a letter to Ludovico Sforza, the de facto ruler of Milan, in order to land a job as a military engineer. In the introduction of his letter, he stated as follows, “…I shall endeavour, while intending no discredit to anyone else, to make myself understood to Your Excellency for the purpose of unfolding my secrets, and thereafter offering them at your complete disposal…”

He added that, “I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain, to remove water from the moats and how to make an infinite number of bridges, mantlets and scaling ladders and other instruments necessary to such an enterprise.” The above letter has been described as one of the earliest examples of a CV, because it introduces the writer and contains the qualities that made him fit for the job he was prospecting.

Curriculum vitae is a Latin word that means, “Course of life.” It is a document written with the aim of showing how the course of your life; your skills, experience, and educational qualification, make you the right fit for a particular job.

CV Format

There are different formats for writing a CV which include chronological, functional, and combined/hybrid cv formats. The choice of which format you will use depends on your work experience and level of expertise in the field.

Chronological CV

This format is mainly useful for individuals who have put in a good number of years in a particular field and have a great work history. It gives a breakdown of your work history and achievements you have made on the job in reverse chronological order. That is, it starts with your most recent position. The goal is to emphasize how you are qualified to handle the job based on your career progression. If you are just starting your career in a new field, you should use a functional CV format.

Functional CV

This is the ideal format for individuals who are just entering a particular field, fresh graduates, career changers, and individuals who have gaps in their work history due to certain reasons. This format is designed to emphasize your skills, both soft and hard skills, and competence rather than your work history in the field.

Combination/Hybrid CV

This format is used to showcase both your skills and your work experience. It is often used in roles where the combination of your skills and experience are required to succeed on the job. You have the opportunity to highlight your skill summary and work experience in detail.

how to write a CV

How to write a CV

You have decided the format to use for your CV, now it’s time to write it. These are some of the details you need to include in your CV.

Personal information

This should be obvious right? You don’t intend to state how your skills and qualifications match the job and there would be no means of reaching you on your CV. Hey! Don’t add your marital status, employers don’t need your age at this point, except it is specifically requested. Don’t include your state of origin and local government, except it’s for a federal job where the federal character principle is a thing, nobody cares about those details.

The only details you are required to add are your name and contact information, that is phone number, email address, and location. Some recruiters are of the opinion that your exact home address is not necessary at this point. Therefore, your city or state of residence is sufficient.


Contract of Employment

How to Write a Compelling Cover Letter

Craft a compelling professional summary

The role of a professional summary in a cv cannot be overemphasized. It is a brief and concise exposition of your top skills, experience, and career goals that place you in a pole position to succeed in the role. It is also known as a headline or professional profile. This is one of the greatest opportunities to give a recruiter an idea of how good you are for the role. Meanwhile, don’t copy and paste someone else’s summary, it usually doesn’t end well.

State all relevant educational qualifications

In this section, you are expected to list your academic qualifications in reverse chronological order. That is, the last qualification attained should be stated first. State the institution, the course, the degree or certificate obtained, and the year of graduation. Note, you are meant to showcase the qualifications that align with the role and not all the courses you’ve taken in every and any field. If you are an accountant, you don’t need to include the digital marketing course certificate in your CV.

List your relevant work experience

Work experience is one of the most important features of your CV as it gives recruiters the assurance that since you have done the task elsewhere, you can do it again. In a bid to effectively present your work experience, you should include the job titles, company names, responsibilities/duties carried out in the role, and the dates of entry and exit. If you are still working in the company, do not hesitate to include it.

Please note that you are to add only the experience that relates to the job you want to apply for. If your previous experience(s) does not align with the new role, ensure you include the existence of some skills that are transferable from what you were doing before.

Include your skills and achievements

This is the part where you can state some soft and hard skills that qualify you for the role. Almost all works require the knowledge of Microsoft Office package. If you are conversant with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, do not hesitate to include it. You should also include notable professional achievements, awards and recognitions that can make you stand out from the crowd.

Should there be referees in a CV?

Many HR professionals agree that it is not important to add the names of referees in your CV at the application stage. If you succeed in the application, some of the onboarding requirements for the job would be the details of your referees. Verdict, do not include it in your CV!!!

Do not forget to include relevant keywords

Recruiters in the past had to go through the pains of going through several CVs to determine the suitable candidate to be invited for an interview. However, one of the impacts of technology in the recruitment space is the use of the Applicant Tracking System. The software can review the CV of candidates for a particular role and determine suitable candidates. This makes it important for you to include keywords to ensure that the software gets some of the words that are relevant to your field/niche.

Your CV should be properly formatted

A good CV is not only determined by what is contained in it. The structure and format of your CV also determine how recruiters will perceive you. Use clear font styles such as Arial, Times New Roman, and Calibri. Font sizes within the range of 10-12 are perfect for your CV and ensure you create enough space between the lines. Where you have to make a list, leverage on the power of bullet points to make the CV visually appealing and not scattered.

Do not forget to proofread and edit

The first draft of any written work is usually not its best version. Don’t just write and send your CV. Ensure you proofread and edit it thoroughly in order to avoid grammatical blunders, spelling, and minor punctuation errors.

Is a resume the same as a CV?

In case you have heard the words resume and CV but you are wondering what is the difference between the two, if any. Good news!!! The words mean the same thing, the only difference is in the location where it’s used. In the United States, a CV is seen as a comprehensive report of all your information, qualifications, skills, degrees, certifications, publications, and other elements that portray you as a suitable candidate for the job.

A resume on the other hand is seen as a document that is not more than 1 or 2 pages, with the relevant information that qualifies an individual for a job. However, in Europe and other some other countries of the world, the word CV is used for all job application documents.

Examples of online resume builders

There are several online resume builders that are designed to relieve you of the stress of designing a CV from scratch. These include, but not limited to Canva, and Adobe resume builder


The article has carefully explained the meaning of a Curriculum Vitae, the formats that suits your career level, and practical tips on how to write it. You can also use one of the resume builder tools mentioned above, while including the tips treated in the article. In the circumstance that you require a professional to assist you in crafting a compelling and optimized CV, you can reach out to our team of professionals through our email and it will be ready within 48 hours.

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