If you’re pursuing a career in academia or research, you know a curriculum vitae (CV) is a basic requirement to get consideration for a career position.

It’s also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.

A CV contains more details than a resume, which is normally only one or two pages.

The trick is to develop an effective CV to influence decision-makers to give you the job you seek.

For optimal results, this article shows you what to include in your CV and how to write it.

If you’re a novice, it will also give you ideas for your career success.

It will be an omen on what you need to be focusing in the future to build your credentials.

While comprehensive with several tips, they basically comprise two basic recommendations in substance and style.

You need to know what to include in your CV and how to write it.

1. What to include:

Style and Format. Use a simple font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Don’t get too cute.

There are various ways to organize your CV, but consistency is important. The content in each section of your CV should be uniform with the others.

In describing your accomplishments in each position, the layout should resemble the others. Hold the readers’ interest by using bulleted lists wherever feasible.

Ethics and accuracy. Be sure of your facts. Check and re-check your grammar, tense, and spelling. Ask a knowledgeable person to proofread your CV with a critical eye and act as a devil’s advocate — to thoroughly scour each facet searching for errors.

Content information. Your name and contact information should be inserted at the top. In the U.S., do not include personal information such as your birth date and gender. It might be OK in some other countries.

Education. List the institutions you attended, the dates and degrees you earned.

Honors and Awards. Include any fellowships, scholarships, awards, and memberships.

Dissertation and thesis. Mention your dissertation title and thesis. Include a description and the name of your advisor.

Experience — Research. Specify your experience with full details. If your research was published, mention where.

Experience — Work. Include your work experience — academic and non-academic, if it’s applicable. Show the employer, position, dates, responsibilities and accomplishments.

Experience — Teaching. Specify your teaching positions. That includes the school and course, and any other germane information.

Relevant skills. Perhaps you have additional skills to include — for instance, administrative, computer or fluency in languages.

Presentations and publications. Mention what you’re currently doing. That would include anything you’ve contributed — written and co-written. List your presentations at conferences — the name of your paper, the conference name, date and location.

Professional association memberships. If you belong to a professional organization, indicate your affiliation and what you do.

Extracurricular and pro-bono activities. Mention your service and volunteer work. Include any other miscellaneous information that seems appropriate.

Professional references. Include at least three references. Specify the contact information for associates who agree to be a reference.

Now that you know what to include, it’s important to consider your self-marketing — how to write a CV to enhance your chances.

2. How to write it:

Emphasize the results of your work. Every decision-maker will subconsciously ask the “so what?” question or the acronym, “WIIFM — what’s in it for me.” Prospective employers aren’t interested in a mere job description in your CV and cover letter.

For example, when you mention an employment responsibility, explain the benefits — the strong results you delivered for your employer. Your results must be relevant to the position.

Remember the meaning of the acronym — STAR — for situation, task, action and result.

Use forceful verbs. You’ll have a more powerful CV, if you use forceful verbs. For instance, “identified and targeted new opportunities for growth in grants … which resulted in … “

Keywords. Many employers use screening software, which means you must anticipate and use the right keywords. If you’re not sure about the right keywords, check the ads for positions in your sector. Use the relevant keywords that seem most popular in your CV. Actually, be sure to use the same keywords in your LinkedIn profile and cover letters, too.

Note: This also means you might have to change your job titles to conform to the keyword screening used by recruiters and employers. Usually, this means your title might need to be simplified. That’s another reason to research keywords.

Be brief. Use an economy of words. Don’t be long-winded. If you have a tendency to be verbose, look for ways to be descriptive but concise. True, CVs are longer than resumes. Try to limit your CV to three or four pages.

If you’re a consultant, you’ve had a lot of projects and clients. Don’t list all the details for positions 10 years or more ago. List your work but simply include your title, employer’s name and date.

Be focused. Your CV should be tailored for each job you’re pursuing. Yes, customize your CV and cover letter to address the specific points in the advertisement. Be especially mindful of the job’s “required essential experience and skills.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related job-hunting strategies:

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — To sail through the human resources filtering system, here are five online-application tips: 1. Put social media to work for you. Make certain your social media – Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – are current, professional and show maturity. Be careful what you publish – always keep in mind your career goals.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen. The employer already thinks enough of you to schedule a discussion.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

Multiple Job Offers? Ask the Right Questions to Win in Your Career  — Suddenly, you’ve got choices — several companies have said “We want to hire you.” Now, what do you do? Here are five strategies for career success.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

-Arthur Ashe


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.