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What is a CV? Meaning, Templates & Samples

If you are a college student or trying to enter the professional world, you have probably come across the requirement of submitting a CV. But what is a CV? It is usually a document shedding light on your academic and professional experience. 

Are you curious about the full form of CV for job? If yes, you should know that it stands for curriculum vitae. The phrase is Latin and translates to “course of life” in English. A CV usually includes more information than a basic resume. 

But writing a CV for yourself can seem like a daunting job. What should you include in it? Is there any particular format that you need to follow? Go through this article and find answers to all these questions related to drafting a CV. 

When to Use a CV?

Once you understand what is a CV, you should know when you might need to submit it. Here are some instances where you will have to submit a CV:

1. Academic applications

Are you thinking about pursuing a teaching position in your dream college or university? You might need to submit a CV to support the application. 

2. Research positions

A CV document will shed light on your credentials when you are applying for a research position. It is great for highlighting your research experience and record of publications. 

3. Grants and fellowships

To secure fellowships or scholarships, candidates must provide a CV resume highlighting their achievements and professional experience.

4. International job applications

Employers in different countries expect you to submit your CV along with the job application.

Also Read: CV Format for Freshers & Templates

Key Sections to Include in a CV

After knowing what is a CV, you should remember that this document requires you to add some particular details. Take a look at that below;

Contact Information

A CV should include accurate contact details so that the employer can get in touch with you. 

  1. Name: Mention your full name. 
  2. Address: Your current residential address is a must. 
  3. Phone number: Add your mobile number so the authorities can get in touch with you via phone. In today’s time, it’s preferable to enter your WhatsApp number on the CV. 
  4. Email address: The email address is extremely important for professional communication. So, mention it correctly on your CV.


Your educational background is a deciding factor in whether you are eligible for the role you are applying for. This is the kind of information related to your academic background that should be present in your CV:

  1. Degrees earned: First, mention the degrees that you hold. It’s better to mention them in reverse chronological order. 
  2. Institutions attended: Apart from your degrees, you need to specify where you got them from. 
  3. Dates of attendance: Mention the exact dates of your degrees. 
  4. Relevant coursework: What did you learn during the courses? Talk about relevant coursework that will validate your knowledge regarding the job. 

Research Experience

If you are applying for research prospects and have prior experience, specifying that will increase your hiring chances. 

  1. Research projects: Talk about the key aspects of the projects you have worked on. 
  2. Publications: Have you published any of your research articles? Provide links to them. 
  3. Presentations: Talk about your presentations so that the employer gets more details about the research projects. 
  4. Grants and fellowships: Did you receive any grants or fellowships to pursue your research? Don’t forget to mention that in your CV. 

Related: How to Write a CV to Capture the Attention of Employers

Teaching Experience

If you are applying for teaching roles, you should highlight any prior experience related to it. 

  1. Courses taught: Mention the disciplines that you are capable of teaching. Moreover, you should mention whether you have taught at the high school or college level. 
  2. Teaching assistantships: Have you worked as a teaching assistant? Highlight your experience. 
  3. Mentorship: Who has been your mentor in the teaching world? Talk about it, and you can even add them as your trusted references. 

Work Experience

If you have prior work experience, it should occupy a part of your CV. 

  1. Relevant jobs and internships: The purpose of a CV is to make your employer aware of your past work experience. Apart from your full-time jobs, mention internships in the CV as well. 
  2. Responsibilities and achievements: What were your responsibilities while working at a particular company? How long did you work? Did you receive any special achievements? Highlight all these aspects. 


If you understand what is a CV, you probably know that it’s important to mention your skills in it. 

  1. Technical skills: Are there any technical skills that you have to thrive in the professional world? For instance, you might know some programming languages or maybe you have SEO skills. Mention all your relevant technical skills in the CV. 
  2. Language proficiency: What are the languages you can speak, write, and read? Mention all the languages along with your level of proficiency. 
  3. Soft skills: Nowadays, you also need some soft skills to thrive in the professional field. Therefore, talk about your soft skills, like leadership abilities and communication power. 

Awards and Honors

Awards and honors are a reflection of your hard work and capabilities. So, according to the CV definition, these achievements should find a place in it. 

  1. Academic awards: Mention the specific title of the award, its purpose, and date of recognition. 
  2. Scholarships: Have you received any scholarships during your academic life? Talk about that. 
  3. Fellowships: Have you been part of government-funded or other prestigious fellowships? If so, it’s a great thing to include while writing your CV. 

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

If you understand what is a CV, you will know that it’s a place to mention all your professional connections. 

  1. Professional organizations: List all the professional organizations to which you have a membership. 
  2. Committees and leadership roles: Do you have leadership roles in specific professional committees? Talk about the committee and your exact responsibilities. 

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Formatting and Design Tips

Once you learn what is a CV, you will understand that it’s a professional document. You don’t need to follow a specific format for a CV. However, following certain formatting and design tips will make the CV more effective. 

1. Choose a clear, readable font

While trying to figure out how to write a resume or CV, the first thing to remember is that it should be clear. You might think that a stylish font will add to the visual appeal. But a clear font is necessary for easy readability. Choose fonts like Calibri, Arial, and Times New Roman to format your CV. 

2. Organize sections with headings and subheadings

Are you wondering how to write CV resume with more clarity? If so, you will have to add headings and subheadings for every section. It will help the recruiter to easily find necessary information from the document. 

3. Tailor your CV to the specific opportunity

If you understand what is a CV, you know that you can use it for different purposes. But you can’t use the same CV for every application. While the basic structure remains the same, it’s important to tailor your CV for the specific application. 

4. Proofread for errors and clarity

After completing your CV, you will have to proofread it carefully. The best CV doesn’t have any spelling, grammatical, or typing errors. If the recruiter can spot errors in your CV, it is not good for your impression. 

CV Templates and Samples

If you want a better understanding of what is a CV, you should take a look at templates and samples. Check some out below:

1. Academic CV template

[Full Name]
[Contact Information]

[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]
[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]
[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]

Research Experience
[Project Name], [Organization], [Date]
Brief description

Teaching Experience
[Role], [Institution], [Date]
Brief description

[follow referencing styles like MLA or APA]

[Title], [Conference], [Year]

Awards and Honors
[Name of the Award], [Institution], [Year]

Professional Memberships
[Membership], [Organisation], [Year]

[Name], [Profession], [Institution], [Contact Information]

You May Also Like: 20+ CV Templates: Download a Professional Curriculum Vitae

2. Research CV template

[Full Name]
[Contact Information]

[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]
[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]
[Degree] in [Subject], [Name of Institution], [Graduation Year]

Research Experience
[Project Name], [Organization], [Date]
Brief description

[follow referencing styles like MLA or APA]

[Title], [Conference], [Year]

Research Skills
[Skill]: Description

Research Interests
[Interest]: Description

Awards and Honors
[Name of the Award], [Institution], [Year]

[Name], [Profession], [Institution], [Contact Information]

3. Graduate student CV sample

Rahul Malhotra
+91 98345 xxxxxx
Indira Nagar, New Delhi

Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Delhi, April 2021 – March 2024

Public speaking
Oral and written communication
Collaboration and organizational skills
Ability to work in teams

Language Proficiency
English- Reading, Writing, Speaking
Hindi- Reading, Writing, Speaking
Spanish- Reading, Writing, Speaking

Awards and Achievements
Merit Scholarship, April 2021 – March 2024

Mrs. Kritika Iyer
Dean of Arts, University of Delhi
Contact: 91 78366 xxxxx

More Resources:

4. Postdoctoral researcher CV sample

Varun Dubey
+91 83302 xxxxx

– Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics | 2021 – University of Southern Scotland
– Master of Arts in English| 2019 – University of Delhi
– Bachelor of Arts in English | 2018 – University of Delhi

-Research Fellow | August 2021 – Current
-University of Southern Scotland
-Conducting research and presenting at seminars
-Working with other researchers and research assistants
-Delivering seminars to university students

-Academic writing
-Proficiency in the old English language
-Qualitative and quantitative research

How long should a CV be?

A CV is usually one to two pages long. At times, people with extensive academic and work experience might have a 3-page long CV. But it’s recommended not to make it any longer than that. 

What if I don’t have much experience?

If you have no professional experience, your CV should focus more on the other aspects of your life. For instance, it should include more details about your academic history and skills. Moreover, you can talk about your involvement in volunteering and extracurriculars. 


So, what is a CV when applying for a job? It’s a document with information related to your academics, job experiences, skills, and achievements. The details will help the recruiter determine whether you are suitable for the specific role. 

FAQs on Effective CV Templates and Samples

Q1: Is a resume the same as a CV?

Ans: The words CV and resume are often used interchangeably. But they aren’t the same thing. A resume mostly focused on work experience and skills. However, a CV will also highlight your academic history and research publications. The difference between resume and curriculum vitae is also visible in terms of length. Usually, a CV is longer than a resume. 

Q2: Is a CV better than a resume? 

Ans: The answer will differ according to the specific job and industry. While you might need to submit a resume in some places, a CV is compulsory in others. 

Q3: Can I submit a handwritten CV?

Ans: It is usually not recommended to submit a handwritten CV. A professional-looking CV usually needs to be printed with a clear font and a simple design. 

Q4: Do I need to mention my full name in my CV?

Ans: Your full name is the first piece of personal information to mention on your CV. A good practice is to keep the font of your name at least 6 points larger than the remaining text. 

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