How to write a CV?


A CV is like your business card: it gives an overview of who you are as a professional, what kind of experience and competencies you have. A CV is your way to tell why you are the right person for the job. But how should you create a CV that will attract future employees?How can you step out from the mass?

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Appearances do matter!

The first impression is important: employees skim quickly your CV and they should easily find what they are looking for (i.e. the basic information: you name, current title/position/company, previous title/position/company, education etc.). Think about the impression the reader will have of your CV in 2-3 seconds!

To start from the personal details, your contact details should be clearly stated at the beginning. You can use your name as a title of your CV or clearly write it at the beginning. Use your professional email, preferably an email with your name (the email address also makes an impression!). Provide your phone number, and maybe a link to your public profile such as LinkedIn. Add your address if you find it relevant.

Next, it is recommended to add a personal summary/statement: who you are professionally and what are your most significant qualifications for the job and why you are the best candidate. This should capture the interest of the reader: this is your entry pass to an interview. Tailor the summary for the job you are applying for! But remember, rather give examples than use a lot of adjectives. If you say you have good management skills, give an example, show it!  

Avoid saying that you are generally good with computers

The next section should describe your work experience, particularly the work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Write your work experience in inverse chronological order, starting from the latest one. Write down your work title, the name of the company, the time you have been employed, and maybe even website of the company. Add a brief description or use bullet points to highlight your main tasks, achievements or responsibilities, for example. Show your competence for the job and highlight the parts that are the most important for the job you are applying for! You can also show the voluntary work experience you may have, or have an additional section describing voluntary work or/and other extracurricular activities (e.g. a member of student association or your role in various organizations). (You can choose whether to start with work experience or education, depending on your style and what you want to highlight first).

After describing your work experience, you should show your academic qualifications (i.e. educational background). Write your education in inverse chronological order. Write down the name of the school, the years you were enrolled, and the degree title. You can add a brief description or use bullet points to point out the courses you have taken, especially those ones that are relevant to the job you are applying. Depending on your style, you can also highlight educational achievements, or add some extra courses you might have taken that are relevant to the job.

After these sections, add key skills, i.e. IT skills, language skills, or other bonus skills you might have, depending on what you find relevant. Show the IT programs you have used, and languages you speak (or language certificates), and give a brief estimation of your level (i.e. advanced, beginner etc.) or use a creative way (e.g. graph). Avoid saying that you are generally good with computers, nowadays everyone is :)

Should I include any references?

But what about references? Some require having contact details of your referees but if they are not generally required, you can mention: available upon request (but be prepared to show references!).

After the key elements, you can add a picture of you if you find it appropriate. It is one’s opinion whether to add a picture or not. However, each country has a different approach on whether you must include a picture of you in your CV. For example, in some countries, the law forbids any personal information to be shared on the CV, including a personal photo. In such a country, your CV would be rejected because of the photo only. Consequently, it is highly recommended to take into consideration the country’s requirements and legal HR practices when applying for a position there  

And what about the layout and creativity? The layout makes an impression and if you don’t feel like being creative, there are several CV templates available online, and even Word offers CV templates. Use clear font and think about the company’s profile and the job you are applying! (maybe even use the colors of the company)  

But lastly, it is recommended that the lengths of the CV should not exceed two pages! You should carefully think that every word has something to say. And remember, read, read, and read your CV, and make others (friends, family) read it as well: check for the spelling mistakes and double-check that your contact information is correct! It’s always useful to ask someone else to read your CV and ask their feedback. Professional looking CV always improves your chances of getting an interview and any feedback is valuable!

And remember, the purpose of the CV is not to get you a job, the purpose is to get an interview!

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Hopefully, you find these CV tips useful, but what’s next? This year’s Next Generation Global Health Forum concentrates on career steps for global health students. By joining the conference on 14-15th July 2017 in Barcelona, you have a great chance to meet global health professionals and learn their keys to success, and learn more tips on how to create an attractive CV! So, save the date, please check the GHNGN website, the conference website, and the FB event for more information, and buy your ticket today!

Buy your ticketsTODAY

See in Barcelona in July!


The text is based on:

Borg, N. (2015) How to write the perfect CV: Graduate land. Available at:  <> [Accessed 13 May 2017].

Hädicke, G. (2016) How to make your CV stand out. Lund University. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 May 2017].

Monster (2017) CV Advice. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 May 2017].


Bio_picture_Niina-Maria Nissinen Niina-Maria Nissinen is a public health master student at Lund University, and a news writer at GHNGN. Her interest in public health is in drugs, alcohol and mental health with a special focus on social structures. 

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