CV Format

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A CV or resume format is subject to two related constraints: the existing standards and requirements and the "evolutionary" forces changing these. Preferences for chronological formatting morph into expectations of prioritized or summarized presentation; thick resumes yield to the expectation of 1-page resumes in turn expanded to two pages as a recommended format.

Deciding whether to include graphics, hyperlinks and reference letters as attachments can be challenging, especially if employer preferences are not known in any given case or in general. In an age of rapidly evolving technology (including resume scanners and their keyword sensitivities) and homogenization of CVs through advice widely disseminated by communications technologies and "experts", crafting a distinctive, yet acceptable CV can be a daunting challenge.

In such a rapidly evolving and competitive environment, keeping abreast of the available tools and expectations is critical, e.g., when dealing with an employer who regards a CV formatted in Word as outdated and insufficient.

The CV Format, or CV layout, is simply the manner in which a prospective employee decides to present his or her curriculum vitae. In addition to any requirements specified by a prospective employer or an agency for doing so, there are a number of commonsense and established givens. The first of these is that the CV should always include a job-seeker's contact information at the very top of the CV. This information should make it as easy as possible for prospective employers to get in touch with the job hunter should they desire to do so. Typically, header information should include the job hunter's name, address, telephone numbers (including a cell phone number, if available) and e-mail contact information.

The second given is that the CV should be as complete and accurate as possible. Every so often, news stories erupt about college or other officials who are forced to resign because they presented false information in their CVs. The third given is that spelling in the CV should be correct, and the CV should be grammatically consistent, as well as grammatically correct whenever possible. (Some people prefer to present parts of their CV in a bullet-point format without complete sentences. This is not incorrect, although complete sentences are normally incorrect grammar, as long as the individual is consistent throughout the bullet presentation.)

Many people choose to look at examples of various CV formats and layouts prior to preparing their own; a basic Internet search can provide most people with thousands of examples from which to select. Others may work from a generic template, frequently tailored by the provider for specific occupations.

The key to an effective CV format is to remember the CV's purpose, which is to present a full and complete synopsis of the individual's career, educational, academic and other accomplishments, experience, skills and values, in such a way as to encourage a prospective employer to hire that individual for a position. Keeping that in mind is the key for each individual to select the appropriate CV format.
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