Do’s and Don’ts of CV Writing

Successfully navigating through the job market can prove a tumultuous journey for even the most seasoned candidate. With an influx of applicants swarming for any given position, job searchers can feel like a nameless face in the CV crowd. If you’re tired of getting lost in the candidate shuffle, read on. Understanding some simple do’s and don’ts when putting together your CV can help you stand out on paper and garner the attention of executive recruiters and hiring managers alike.


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#.


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.

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.”