How to Write a Curriculum Vitae – Sample CV - Independent Workers / Entrepreneurs

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The curriculum vitae - or CV - is obviously an essential part of your job application (related articles), as this document details your education, skills and professional experience. It is the first - and possibly even the only - document that recruiters will look at before deciding whether they should invite you for a job interview, while the cover letter (writing guidelines) often serves as a mere complement. The curriculum vitae has a dual purpose:

I. From the applicant’s perspective, the goal is to:

  1. Get in touch with the employer by providing basic information when seeking to apply for a certain position.
  2. Highlight the qualities and skills that go along with the job requirements.

II. From the recruiter’s perspective, the goal is to:

  1. Perform a pre-selection of job candidates for the available vacancy.
  2. Orientate the interview and the decisions regarding the selection of the applicants.
  3. Avoid unnecessary interviews when some job candidate’s qualifications clearly do not match the offered position.

CV CONTENTS

The contents of your CV should be stated according to a logical order, so as to allow recruiters to easily and quickly locate the information they are looking for. This requires following a certain structure, though the layout may be customized. A CV usually contains the following sections:

  • Personal data: name, address, nationality, date of birth, marital status…
  • Professional goal stating your wishes and motivation
  • Work experience: you may also state any major achievements
  • Education, both academic and professional
  • Internships
  • Language skills
  • Specific knowledge (project management, IT tools…)
  • Extra-professional experiences that may be relevant to the vacancy
  • Associative life: hobbies, interests
  • References

The job candidate’s work experience, education and training should be listed in a reverse chronological order (the most recent experience comes first). Please note that the order of the headings may somewhat differ from the order proposed above, depending on their relative importance or on the nature of the vacant position (e.g. "Education" may appear prior to "Work experience" for a recent graduate, or "Language skills" before "IT tools" depending on the job requirements).

MAIN TRENDS IN CV WRITING

Here is an overview of the major trends (list) and main pitfalls (list) in CV writing. It is also important to note that all the i​nformation contained in a CV must be made immediately verifiable by the recruiter, by providing the corresponding certificates and attestation documents. Furthermore, you should try to avoid showing employment gaps in your work experience chronology.

INDEPENDENT WORKERS / ENTREPRENEURS

If you are an independent worker or if you have been running your own business for some time, it is important to describe the professional activities you have been exercising in this capacity, not forgetting to mention your main achievements. This is necessary, as you may obviously not issue an employment certificate to yourself. You may however join documents that attests to your achievements, such as marketing presentations, website urls or any other relevant item.

SAMPLE

Here is the sample of an HR Officer’s reverse chronological CV (the most recent experiences are presented first).

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