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The dos and don’ts of CV Writing

In the academic market, a curriculum vitae or CV is very important and, after your cover letter, is your first introduction to the search committee. The CV is a summary of your educational background and research and professional experiences. Your CV is a tool to help you move from an application to an interview.

What to Do When Writing a CV

  • Make your CV visually appealing. Look at how others have done their CV. Ask your professors and colleagues for examples.
  • Start your CV with general contact information that includes your name, address, telephone, fax, email and url (if you have a web page about yourself as a professional).
  • Include these sections in your CV: contact information; education and experience. Include these sections depending on your strengths and interests: honors and awards (from post-secondary school); teaching and research interests; publications; presentations; professional activities (committee memberships, intern experiences, relevant volunteer work); skills (second language and/or computer proficiencies); and references (you may include these or indicate they are available on request).
  • Check your CV carefully for spelling and typographical errors.
  • Use formatting such as bullets, italics or bold font only sparingly and use paper that is white, beige or a neutral color that weighs between 20# and 50#.

What Not to Do When Writing a CV

  • Don’t try and do it all by yourself the first time. Seek help from others such as faculty advisors, career specialists or colleagues.
  • Don’t worry too much about length — there are no rules on length. The CV should be professional and should include your important data. Keep your CV to a reasonable length. One page is almost certainly too short, two pages may not be enough to cover the essential detail for someone who has had a full career, and three pages is probably the upper limit.
  • Don’t include the following information. These things are not necessary: age; ethnic identity; political affiliation; religious preference; hobbies; marital status; sexual orientation; place of birth; photographs; height; weight and health.
  • Don’t pad your CV by listing excessively detailed information about research or teaching. Instead, provide the titles of research projects and course names along with brief summaries of your work.
  • Don’t include information that is humorous. The CV is not the place for humor or being “cute.”

    WHETHER you’re being headhunted or applying directly for a new position, your CV remains key to marketing yourself. Even if you’re an executive with a well-established career, whose accomplishments can probably speak for themselves, you probably need to set some time aside and make sure your CV reflects the breadth and scope of your accomplishments.

    Good luck!


Hey, there! Am an average guy with great dreams and high hopes pursuing the one and only famous degree "B. Tech." :-P

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