Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae, CV

Résumé or CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a short (usually one or two pages), individual summary of your work and life experience. It shows the employer what skills, knowledge and experience you have to offer. The CV should be adapted to each individual job you are interested in. It should not contain gaps but should only include experience relevant for the particular job you are applying for. You can draft a basic CV which you can adjust to certain jobs and update from time to time.

The CV is your personal marketing tool, make it look like you! Remember that a CV should be clearly structured and easy to read. The employer may receive tens of CV to read so make sure your relevant skills stand out!

The CV consists of several parts. The order and headings can vary, but there are certain basic parts a CV must include. Additionally, to the must haves, there are parts that are highly recommended and can set you apart from others.  It is not recommended to use standard CV templates as the Europass CV. This one has been produced for job applications at the European Union in Brussels.

There is no rule regarding the length of a CV as it naturally grows with your growing experience. However, it should be as compact as possible and for a career starter the rule of thumb is approximately 2 pages.

Must include:

Curriculum Vitae or Résumé

Personal and contact details
Your personal information should include your full name, date and place of birth (is not an absolute requirement in today’s discussion about age discrimination), nationality only if it is relevant (i.e. for working visa), address, E-mail, telephone number and links to online CVs as a LinkedIn Profile or a video CV.

Whether the following section of the CV is work experience or education depends on your strongest selling point. Is the job that you are applying for rather related to previous work experience or to the studies that you have done.

Work experience
List your experiences in descending order. Mention your employer (company name), employment period and your job title and give a short description of the employer, especially if one can assume that the new employer does not know this company (i.e. which industry, size). Also include your tasks and responsibilities, as well as your achievements showing your skills. Use verbs describing action. You can focus on specific projects and describe shortly with what skills you were able to gain what achievements. Highlight your specific role in those achievements. In this section you should not merely list your jobs, but what skills you have acquired through them by giving concrete examples.

In this section you list your experience also in reverse order. Mention your degree, degree programme, specialisation, study duration and school you have graduated from. Also use this section to highlight your acquired strengths and skills by pointing out for the job application relevant courses and projects and your achievements in there.

Skills and knowledge
This section should include your linguistic and IT skills and other things you are especially good at. Mention achievements and additional educational information that are connected to the job you are applying for, e.g. driving license, occupational safety cards (i.e. hygiene passport, first aid card), online courses, voluntary work, projects etc. If you have in one area especially a lot of skills then group them to make the structure clearer, i.e. IT skills can be grouped in Office Software and Operating Systems

Recommended to include:

Introduction/ summary
This recommended section follows the personal and contact information and precedes work experience or education. In here you can describe your goals, motivation, background and what you are good at. Use concrete examples or feedback you got.

Interests and activities
Do not use the word hobbies in this section. You can include your interests if there are relevant to the job or show an important side of your personality (volunteering, sports etc.).

You can ask your former employers, colleagues or teachers to provide you with references. A reference should be from someone who can tell something about you, e.g. if you have already gained some work experience in Finland.

It is not a requirement, but it is common. If you include a photo in your CV, make sure it is a professional picture and not a passport picture. It is a visual statement that can showcase your personality.

For the purpose of authenticating a CV, it is good to include a signature with a date at the bottom.

See a sample CV