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Preparing Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a structurized 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.

Make it clear, easy to read and well organized. And neat of course. The typed paper affords the best presentation. To stand out one should make his document distinguishing. Using several fonts may contribute to pleasant look of it. But do not overembelish-two fonts is usually optimum. And each one must have its purpose. For example, one is used for section titles, other-for body text. Try different fonts on your computer to choose those you believe appropriate. At that avoid using font size less than ten points to keep the text readable. In layout you may also use indentions, space, alignment, bold and italic text. But remember to be consistent in decoration.

Though the similar documents, the resume and Curriculum Vitae have the difference. It mostly lies in brevity. Resume normally has a few most essential sections like Personal, Experience, Skills or Capabilities (including languages), Extracurricular Activities, References. They may be supplemented or replaced with the others but so that not to exceed one page in length. Due to that resume concentrates on the specific data and accomplishments of the past jobs, the most relevant and substantial for individual position. Plus it pays much to visual appearance. Curriculum Vitae (sometimes called just vita) emphasizes rather comprehension of information necessary for perfect candidacy by giving extensive detail of candidate's experiences. It is more widespread than a resume used in presentation of one's biography for academic positions. Giving the most full listing of facts, vita may take up to four pages of length. Though, as a fruit of individualization, there may be a short version of a CV as well.

Another difference between Curriculum Vitae and resume is format. While CV adheres to chronological order, resume has several formats of presenting information. The key resume formats are chronological, functional, focused. (The latter is less widespread; though there are yet less traditional forms of resume-a letter, article, etc.) Chronological is the most acceptable and widespread resume presentation. It is characterized by giving data in resume sections in connection with the undertakings (studies, jobs, etc) given in reverse chronological order. It offers the most convenient reference along one's fact sheet. Functional resume is organized by skills or areas of qualification as a stem. In functional resume one splits his activities and accomplishments into and describe them under domains of competence in section titled as Assets or Capabilities, or similarly. Professional history then follows in brief statements of the employment data. Finally, focused (or targeted, analytical) resume depicts all that candidate has done and known (skills, accomplishments, etc) in relation with the targeted position by distributing it into sections like Attainments and Accomplishments. This type is less admissible and comprehensible by recruiters. To meet the expectations of appearance of the autobiographic document, this text illustrates presentation of information attached to the time the events took place (chronological format) though hints expand the format to synthesized.

There is no strict rule in presenting information; the main point is to represent it in the most positive, comprehensive and simultaneously concise way. Do anything what you believe will be appropriate regarding the position you are applying for or what will make the most impression, or what will make your resume or vita more structurized.

Be specific with your information, it gives reliability to your credentials. Communicate dates, titles of positions, names of institutions. While, omit irrelevant information: your height, weight, health usually bear little significance and relation to your qualifications. Information in resume or CV is given under sections. Depending on your objectives or kind of document, Resume 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.

Resume or CV starts with the header, which comprises your name, surname, and contact information: address, telephone, email (the home ones are mandatory; those of work you may include also if you consider it appropriate). Do not forget to give your contacts; otherwise perspective employer will not be able to reach you.

Below are given the suggestions for possible sections to your document (capitalized, in parentheses beside section titles, are given the variants of titles).

Objective (optional)

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


This section gives the most basic information about you giving an idea of your origin, age, etc. Consider whether it is necessary section to your resume; frequently it appears redundant since affects little your skills. State here your date (in format: Mmm DD, YYYY [M-character for month, D-for day, Y-for year]; point month in letters to avoid ambiguity, possibly shortening it to three letters except for March, June, July) and place (city, country) of birth. Applying to international program or job overseas, your citizenship will be opportune information. Follow with your marital status (single, married, divorced, separated, widow or widower), number of children if any (these are even more optional items). Only if you are beginning student can you give information about your parents. Normally recruiters are not interested in your family's details.


Along with Experience section this is a mandatory one. Under this section you list all your significant certificates received. Start entry with the studies taken most recently first. Include school education only if you are an undergraduate applicant. Those having graduated do not usually mention pre-college education. Content of the entry may be represented in two ways, regarding what you want to emphasize, either: the dates of attendance (years and probably months) and name of institution at the beginning followed by the city of location if it is not incorporated in the institution's name (and probably country if you prepare international application), then the department, specialty, degree earned, date when it is earned; or another way: date the degree earned coming first, then the degree (and in what field of specialization), department, institution. If you are recent graduate you may also include title of your thesis (diploma project) and GPA (Grade Point Average) if it is high enough. Plus, here you may include scholarships and honors you have received under studies or you may take this information in separate section (see Awards below). Also you may indicate percentage of your educational expenses earned by summer or any other job. If you studied at several schools before obtained degree, it is not necessary to give every single institution you attended.

Along with the higher education, you name any courses taken and certificates earned that you believe necessary, recording, likewise, the institution having issued credentials, month and year of issuance. Considering organization of your paper, you may split Education section on Higher Education and Supplementary Education sections or subsections under Education header.

Sample pattern of entry:

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Department of... , MA degree in... , Certificate, May 29, 2001. (Master's thesis: [title])

University of Atlanta, Department of... , Postgraduate course in... , Certificate, May 30, 2000

Dnepropetrovsk National University, Faculty of... , specialty of..., Bachelor's Degree, 11 June 1998 (Bachelor's thesis: [title]); Qualification of..., Diploma of Specialist, 15 June 1999 (Diploma work: [title]).

Summer-university course in...

Entry may also begin with the name of the degree earned, not with university. In this case, giving the date of the program completion (in either detail) at the start seems more appropriate. For example:

MA degree in ... from University of... , Faculty of... . Master's thesis: [title]

Certificate from postgraduate course in... from University of... , Department of...

Diploma of Specialist from Dnepropetrovsk State Technical University of Railroad Transport, Faculty of... , specialty of... . (Diploma work: [title])

Experience (Professional Records)

Here you give positions you have held in reverse chronological order. You may specify all of the jobs or make a selection of the significant ones (in CV you usually make comprehensive relation of them). Begin with the dates (recording them in YYYY or MM/YYYY format). Then provide employment information. You start with the position title (which is usually highlighted). Then give name of institution having employed you, its form of establishment (e.g. joint-stock company, limited, etc). Abbreviations to be spelled out. (In parentheses you may shortly describe the activities of the institution.) Indicate then institution's address-city (and country for international application). Students and recent graduates having held previously only unqualified jobs may wish to start their job entries with the name of institution instead of the title of position. If you have graduated recently, you need to denote every job you have done whether internship or summer job. But leave out unserious ones like babysitting; hardly it can be of interest to an employer or admission officer. Be explicit with your information: it is highly recommended (especially when the position title is not such an explicit) that under line with job title and company information you include brief description (in incomplete sentences) of job responsibilities you took, starting it with the present tense verbs for current jobs, and with past tense verbs for the former. Diversify action verbs you use to escape monotony. Utilizing bullets for itemization will contribute to ease of reading by breaking up solid text.

If you want to impress more effectively, you do not just describe responsibilities under experiences relating to the position you are applying for but provide quantifiable rate indicators, or better yet, your achievements, concrete results, if possible, in measurable terms as well (in this will help answering the questions, How many? How much? How often?). For example, instead, "advised on taxation," you 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 that increased company's overall product sale by 50 percent." Besides, mention if your accomplishment resulted in promotion, bonus, salary raise (in percentage, do not refer to the monetary amounts of salary). Describe extent of your responsibilities, for example: "Managed purchase budget of $[number]," or, "Supervised [number]-people staff." Put the most impressive notes first to evoke interest of a reader. Avoid redundancy-too obvious or unnecessarily restating words and phrases like, for example, topical to resume and CV, "responsibilities included." Again, omit irrelevant information: phone numbers or names of employers (though you may name people supervised your postdoctoral work). And do not mention reasons for leaving former jobs.

Example of entry:

Research Assistant. Laboratory of ..., Department of ..., Michigan State University, Grand Rapids.

  • Prepare preliminarily reports on the results of the experiments for the research in... (two experiments per week)
  • Developed software for the automatic analysis of the results of experiments which allowed undertake more tests and subsequently resulted in 30 percent increase of the data precision and reduced term of the research

You may divide the description of the important for the position specific abilities and responsibilities of individual former job into subdivisions of the areas of competence and introduce these subdivisions under the record of employment information for this job. This will produce combined format of your document.

To describe accomplishments especially significant for a position of application, you may include in your resume Accomplishments section specially provided for this. Here you give details for the particular activities that resulted in positive changes: time span and circumstances in which accomplishment occurred, description, and results, again, advisably in numerical terms.

Make reference to other relevant section if in job comments you mention facts pertaining to it (for example, refer to Projects for details if you quote work on a project in a certain job entry).

If you have job taken simultaneously with the other, you may describe it under separately provided section Moonlighting.

Organizations (Organizational Activities, Membership, Affiliations, Professional Organizations, etc)
If you have ever been a member of any international or national professional, public, or charitable organization, list them indicating the name of a body (if necessary, with short explanation of organization's activities in parenthesis) and year since which you have been involved with it (tell if you have held an elective office). Plus, you may provide examples of your specific accomplishments at those organizations (for facilitating appraisal, give analysis of results, if possible, expressed in numbers as well as describing job accomplishments in Experience section). But, if it is not principle for you, do not mention movements advocating ideas that may contradict recruiter's views (to determine those ideas, consider how different social groups perceive the promoted concepts).

You may present a set of only relevant or selected ones. Or you may name conferences visited abroad only and then entitle this section International Conferences. Give name of the conference, date (or you may start the record with the date) and place (city and selectively country) it was taken, title of delivered paper if any (do not forget to include it in Publications section of your resume or CV and refer to this section), organizers (with their location-city, country).

Seminars and Workshops
You indicate here any corresponding events in the way similar to the content of Conferences section. Furthermore, you may combine this one with Conferences section entitling combination Conferences and Workshops, for example.

Awards (Honors, Scholarships)
State year and name of the prize and awarding body with its location. Awards may be Diplomas with Distinctions (with honors, summa cum laude), "Gramatas," scholarships, fellowships, grants (last three may be picked out in separate sections or subsections), special bonuses.


First, indicate your native language (or languages). Then any foreign languages you know accompanying with the level of proficiency: basics or introductory, intermediate, working knowledge, reading or audible understanding (or understanding text, speech), fluent.

If you have many publications you may divide this section on books (or separate printings), articles (in books, in journals, in encyclopedias), monographs, abstracts, book reviews, mimeographed publications (you may also single out articles in ezines (electronic magazines). Plus, at the beginning of the section you may give total number of your publications followed with separate numbers of each publication group: books-[number]; articles in books-[number]; articles in journals-[number]; etc.

There are several formal styles of presenting information in bibliographic notes. Yet, since it is your document, while following the general rules, you may modify standard reference styles. In entry, you first give title (may be highlighted by italic or bold type) indicating in parenthesis in what language it is written (as well as other comments you'd like to add), then coauthors if any, city of publishers' placement if you report a book (followed usually by colon), name of publishing company (again, pertinent to book), italicized name of publication where your piece, if an article, appears (location of editors may be also given in parenthesis), month or number (if periodical) and year of publication, pages on which it appears (with preceding "p" for page or "pp" for pages) or, for book, total number of pages (in this case, followed by "pp").

Along with published works you may give those that are currently only submitted (but not yet published) or works in preparation. You signalize their status particularly. But include them warily, only if either you have several pieces already published (otherwise it will hardly look legitimate and reject credibility even though what you state is true) or you consider mentioning it extremely important or suitable.

Under subtitle you may also include presentations you have given.

International Experience
State here any international experience you have had. If you have vast international experience, you may be more specific and split this section by the types of experiences you have or give one narrow-directed section, for example entitled International Work Experience. Indicate here dates, countries, and purpose of visits. If you are a student and do not have international experience but traveled much your own country, you may give list of significant trips and entitle then the section-Tours.

Skills (Qualifications, Competences, etc)
In this section, you may want to emphasize specific skills you have that pertinent to the position of your application. Or you may describe other skills and their level (probably mentioning certificates) not denoted elsewhere in your resume or CV, i.e. typing skills, computer skills, driver's license, First Aid or Lifeguard certificate. (Some of the skills may be given in subsections or distinct sections as suggested further.) But everything 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 (manufacturers frequently modify spelling of regular words). You can start 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 in what language.

Driver's License
If you are applying for a job it will be quite valuable if you have driving license. Mark in this section whether it is international or domestic, category (if you have gained it in the NIS) with explanation what kind of vehicles you are permitted to drive, the date you have received it, and expiration date if any.

Extracurricular Activities
If you are a student applying to the university, any information representing you as an all-round person (in recounting any activities whether in sport, university, student center, or home) will be beneficial. If you are not a student, brief description of the activities beyond your main ones will convey your energy and involving character.

Realized Projects or Participation in Projects
If you have ever prepared (participated in preparation), submitted or taken part in any projects (especially those, financing of which you had to have won from other funding bodies), specify here the details of it: year or years it was undertaken, project title, short description if you believe it needed, your function in it.

Voluntary Work
Indicate any voluntary work you have done in the same way you did it in the Experience section.

Here you may include any interests you have that may have no relation to your professional track but would give a personal characteristic on you. Information in this section will give a reader a hint on your personality.

This is not the vitally necessary part to your resume or CV. However, if you are applying for a job, under the title of this section you may insert the phrase "Available upon request," or, what is more helpful, give the list of referees with names, positions, and work contact information. Better yet, you may give it on attached separate information sheet on references. Referees to be from professional sphere or academia, not your friends or relatives.

You may also include in your document other relevant information, giving it under specially designed for it sections or may split the presented ones as you deem necessary. For example, researchers may provide the sections Researches or Research Areas of Interest, those of them having worked abroad-Research Experience Abroad (indicating time span, position and place). Professors may include Teaching Experience, Foreign Lecturing, or Lectures and Presentations; physicians-sections as Community Service, Licensure, or Qualification Examinations.

Make sure your paper has no grammatical or orthographic mistakes. Let any one with high proficiency in English (say, native speaker or English teacher) proofread it. Any way, let many people look at it to trace probable shortcomings.

Remember that you have to make a good impression of yourself on someone you do not know by the only document. If you will not present yourself well with this, you may be rejected from a position you are applying for. Well written resume or CV increases substantially your chances to obtain the position you are applying for. Therefore, to be successful in your endeavor, you should approach thoroughly the task of preparing this document.

Questions Regarding Resumes

  1. Do you need an Objective?
    Probably not, because if you are like many candidates you do not know the exact title of the job you're pursuing. Therefore, the tendency is to write an Objective that is far too general. Avoid trite phrases like "challenging position" and ''growth potential''. They take up crucial space in which you could describe your qualifications. Challenge yourself to write a meaningful Objective in five words or less, naming a specific job or industry.
  2. In what order should you present information?
    People read from the top down and from left to right, so begin with your most persuasive information. Start by presenting the section which demonstrates your strongest qualifications, whether it be Education, Certification, Experience, or even Volunteer Activities. If your job title is more impressive than the company, list it first. Similarly, if your degree is more impressive than the college, list it first.
  3. Should you include a Personal Section?
    Rarely. Information such as age, height, weight, health, marital status, and hobbies usually has little relevance to your qualifications for the position.
  4. Should any information be de-emphasized or omitted?
    Absolutely. In general, all information that detracts from your candidacy needs special treatment. For example, weak qualifications, such as a lack of a college degree should be de-emphasized by placing the Education section at the end of the resume. Some types of information, such as political party, race, or disability have no relevance to your ability to perform in the business world, so should not be addressed on your resume.
  5. How can you select an appropriate resume format?
    There is no single correct resume format. People in the same field require different formats because their breadth of experience, length of employment, degree of education, accomplishments, and future goals all vary. It's likely that the same person at different career stages will need completely different formats for each stage.
  6. How can you draw attention to the most important data?
    Surrounding your most important data with empty space on paper instead of other data is the most effective method to emphasize information. Other simple graphic techniques include highlighting in bold, italics, or capital letters; using bullets, and indenting.
  7. What is an alternative resume format?
    An alternative resume format is a non-traditional method to present your professional history. It is used in special circumstances to make an impact, target a particular position, or when your resume is not an effective marketing tool for a certain position. It can take the form of a. letter, biographical sketch, portfolio, photograph, press release, etc.
The Ten Most Common Resume-Writing Mistakes
  1. Too long. The preferred length is one page.
  2. Disorganized. The information is scattered around the page and hard to follow. It's poorly typed, it's hard to read, it looks unprofessional.
  3. Overwritten. Long paragraphs and sentences; takes too long to say too little.
  4. Too sparse. Not enough information.
  5. Not oriented for results. Doesn't show what the candidate accomplished on the job.
  6. Too many irrelevancies. Height, weight, sex, salary, marital status are not needed. Include hobbies or vocational or social interests only if they clearly contribute to your work ability for your current job target.
  7. Misspellings, typological errors, poor grammar, incorrect contact information. Resumes should be carefully proofread before they are mailed.
  8. Tries too hard. Fancy typesetting, binders, photographs, and exotic paper distract from the clarity of the presentation.
  9. Misdirected. Too many resumes arrive on employers' desks unrequested, and with little or no apparent connection to the organization.
  10. And perhaps the most important: DON'T LIE. Presenting yourself in a favorable light is expected in a resume, but NEVER make the mistake of slipping over the line into inventing you achievements. It not only will make you feel uncomfortable about your true achievements, but it may get you fired if your embellishments are discovered.

ACTION VERBS Preparing your resume or CV use the following action verbs describing your position responsibilities to make your statements sound more convincing. Start the line with one of these verbs in past simple tense (or gerund) which will help you to make your resume powerful, direct and explicit.

Account Decide Invent Reduce
Achieve Define Invest Refer
Administer Delegate Investigate Regulate
Advise Deliver Judge Relate
Analyze Demonstrate Lead Reorganize
Answer Design Lecture Repair
Apply Detect Locate Represent
Arbitrate Determine Log Research
Arrange Develop Maintain Respond
Assemble Devise Manage Restore
Assess Diagnose Manipulate Retrieve
Assign Direct Manufacture Review
Assist Discover Measure Revise
Audit Distribute Mediate Revitalize
Build Edit Memorize Route
Calculate Elaborate Modify Search
Categorize Eliminate Monitor Select
Chart Encourage Motivate Sell
Classify Establish Negotiate Serve
Coach Estimate Obtain Simplify
Code Evaluate Offer Solve
Collaborate Examine Operate Spearhead
Collect Expand Order Speculate
Communicate Explain Organize Sponsor
Compile File Outline Study
Complete Formulate Perform Succeed
Compose Gather Persuade Summarize
Compound Generate Plan Supervise
Compute Guide Prepare Supply
Conduct Handle Prescribe Support
Confirm Help Present Synthesize
Conserve Identify Print Teach
Consolidate Illustrate Process Test
Construct Implement Produce Train
Consult Improve Promote Translate
Contact Increase Protect Troubleshoot
Contribute Initiate Prove Tutor
Control Install Provide Unite
Coordinate Institute Realize Utilize
Copy Instruct Receive Vault
Correspond Interact Recommend Verify
Counsel Interpret Record Volunteer
Create Interview Recruit Write

Sample Resume Format

Your Street Address, City, country
Your telephone number
Your email address

JOB OBJECTIVE (Optional)        What is needed:
  • A short statement (no more than two lines) in clear, specific language

                              What is needed:
  • Name of certificate/degree received and year/month awarded
  • Name of school (location if not apparent from name)
  • Major scholarships/awards/honors received
  • Percentage of college expenses earned through summer or part time jobs
WORK EXPERIENCE                What is needed:
  • Current job responsibilities in past tense
  • Past job responsibilities in past tense
  • Clauses, not complete sentences
  • Acronyms or abbreviations spelled out
  • Use different action verbs so none appears more than twice
   What's not needed: Employer phone number; Name of supervisor; The phrases "responsible for" or "duties included"; The headings "position", "job title" or "duties"; Capitalizing words unnecessarily; References to salary; Reasons for leaving past job

Accomplishments                         What is needed:
  • Job, time frame; or context in which each occurred
  • Numbers to quantify
  • Specifics
  • Solid analysis of results
  • Examples
ACTIVITIES (Optional)                What is needed:
  • Name of organization (several-word explanation if necessary)
  • Brief description of role you played
  • Dates of involvement
  • Accomplishments (with numbers to quantify)
SKILLS (Optional)                        What is needed:
  • One- or two-word description of skill and skill level
  • Correctly spelled names of software programs, hardware, or other equipment
INTERESTS                                What is needed:
  • Brief description of specific activities

Sample Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format

Your Home Street Address, City, country
Your home telephone number

Your Work Street Address, City, country
Your work telephone number
Your email address

Born: MM, DD, YY. Married, X children

1988-1991 took several short-term courses in...
1987 - graduated from post-graduate course,,,
1980 - took Ph.D. degree from XYZ University, Faculty of XYZ. Doctor's thesis: title
1972 - took MA degree from XYZ University, Faculty of XYZ

Professional Records:

Research Interests:

Organizational Activities:
1991-... 1988-1990...

Foreign Research Experience:
1990-... (where and position) 1988-1990,-.

Participation in Main International Conferences:
1990, November Conference on... .in.. .Paper: (title)
1990. October Conference on...in...Paper: (title)

Seminars, Courses Given within Area Studies:
1991. April, (title and place)
19S7, July-August. Course on (title) and place

Year and name of the prize or awarding body

Professional Organization:
Membership in international & national professional organizations (since when)

Working knowledge:... ... Understanding:... ...

Separate printing - X titles; articles in books - X; articles in encyclopedias - X; articles in journals - X; mimeographed publications - X; reviews - X

City, Month, Year


DO NOT use this insert in actual documents!


Lee Williamson
1619 Dupont Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland 28050
Telephone: (301) 936-1212


MBA/International Economics 1990
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC

BA/Finance 1987
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC


Internal Auditor
Graph-Soft Corporation Research Triangle Park, NC (International software manufacturer, $250M annual sales)

  • Plan, direct, and perform financial statement and operational audits of domestic and foreign subsidiaries. Specialize in international divisions.
  • Prepare reports recommending accounting control improvements for review and implementation by top corporate executives and divisional management.
  • Assist external auditors in performing their year-end audits

Contact Administrator
Durcon Industries Durham, NC

  • Administered international sales contracts up to $1M including preparation of invoices, identification of export/import regulations, arrangements of customs inspections, authorization of shipment releases, and customer relations.
  • Automated document tracking system to expedite contract administration

Audit Trainee
Kline, Gold & Pierce, CPA's Chapel Hill, NC


Software: Lotus 1-2-3, G/L Plus, dBase.
Hardware: IBM-PC, IBM System 36


Fluent in reading, writing, and speaking German and French.


Available upon request

(098) 7759847
- Educational Information & Advising Center OSVITA