Resumes & Cover Letters

What Is a CV? Curriculum Vitae Definition, Template and Example

August 25, 2020

A CV or curriculum vitae is a comprehensive document that shows employers your academic and professional record. Curriculum vitae, taken from Latin, means 'course of life', and this document should contain the details of your work experience, academics, skills and awards to help you stand out from other candidates. Your CV allows employers to assess your professional and educational track record in order to determine your suitability for their role. In this article, we discuss what a CV is and provide a step-by-step guide to help you create a compelling curriculum vitae that will impress employers and hiring managers.

What is a CV?

A CV is an important document that showcases your professional and academic credentials, experiences and achievements to employers. In Singapore, there is no distinction between a CV and a resume. Both documents are interchangeable, and you can use them to describe your professional experience, academic history and other accomplishments when you apply for jobs.

In the United States and many parts of Europe, the CV is mostly used to apply for roles in academia, research institutions, the sciences and medical-related fields. However, the British CV is the same as the American resume, and employers in Singapore, South Africa, India, Australia and several other countries treat both documents as the same. While the Singaporean CV follows the same standards as other curriculum vitae, it can include more personal details and can be longer than one page, even if you lack work experience.

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How to write a CV

Follow these steps to craft an effective CV:

  1. Start with your contact information
  2. Write a professional statement
  3. Add your educational qualifications
  4. Describe your professional experience
  5. Include relevant skills and qualifications
  6. List hobbies and interests
  7. Add your references

1. Start with your contact information

Start your CV by presenting your personal information at the top, which should include your name, address, email and phone number. Unlike American resumes, Singaporean CVs can also contain your gender, date of birth and nationality. It is also acceptable to have your passport photo at the top of the first page.

2. Write a professional statement

Describe your professional career in a few sentences by summarising your job experience, accomplishments and ambitions for the new role, if hired. The professional statement needs to be well-drafted and attractive enough to demonstrate your enthusiasm and capabilities to employers and hiring managers.

3. Add your educational qualifications

After your professional statement, list your education in reverse-chronological order. Lay out the most important details of your academic record, which would include the names of the schools you attended, the awards you won, any scholarships you received, the grades you earned and any relevant courses you completed. You can also mention workshops, training, internships, international study and other activities that you attended and excelled in. Also, make sure to include the dates you attended each school.

4. Describe your professional experience

List each job you've had in reverse-chronological order with the job title, employer's name and your dates of employment. After that, discuss your job duties and achievements with each successive company. You can include this information as a list of bullet points, and you should start each one with an action verb. You should also use numbers to increase the impact of your achievements, and try to mention any skills that are relevant to each position.

5. Include relevant skills and qualifications

Present all of your relevant skills and qualifications that showcase you as the ideal candidate for the position you're applying for. You can mention hard skills like computer or language competencies as well as soft skills like communication and leadership. Note that Singapore is a high-tech society, so you should include specific, highly valued tech skills to help you stand out.

6. List hobbies and interests

You can list out your interests and hobbies if you believe they add value to your CV. It can be especially beneficial if your hobby or interest is relevant to the company. For example, if the company sponsors an activity that you love, you should include it in your list. If you don't feel like your hobbies or interests increase your value as a candidate, then you can choose to leave this section off of your CV.

7. Add your references

In Singapore, CVs typically have at least two references. You can list one professional reference from a previous job and one academic reference who can endorse your educational credentials. A good reference from a previous employer or one of your professors will help show your suitability for the role.

CV template

You can use this CV template as a guide to help you highlight the qualities that make you stand out as a candidate:

[Name]

[Physical address]

[Email address]

[Phone number]

Professional statement

[Two or three sentences highlighting your achievements and qualifications for the position you seek]

Education

[Name of institution] | [Start date-end date]

[Degree earned]

[Include any training, awards, internships and relevant courses that are related to the position]

Professional experience

[Job title]

[Employer] | [Start date-end date]

[Bulleted list of your principal duties and accomplishments]

Skills and qualifications

[Bulleted list of relevant skills and professional qualifications]

Hobbies and interests

[Bulleted list of hobbies and interests that show you as a good fit for the company culture]

References

[Preferably list a minimum of two references, or else mention that they can be provided upon request]

CV example

Here is an example of a CV to showcase how you can create one your own:

Zhi Hao

165 Tagore Avenue, Singapore 787551

65 8268 5559

zhihao@email.com

Professional summary

Highly motivated accounting professional with over six years of experience creating short and long-term financial plans, forecasts, budgets and business development models for companies. Experienced in daily administration of the accounting department, staff management and compliance with financial reporting standards.

Education

National University of Singapore | July 2009-December 2013

Bachelor of Accounting Sciences in Financial Accounting

  • Minor in Computer Science
  • Certified Chartered Accountant

Professional experience

Chief Accountant

Ting Financial Pte. Ltd. | April 2017-Present

  • Manage the accounting and procurement departments, which also includes supervising contracts, personnel workflow, budgeting and daily administration
  • Develop, implement and improve financial and accounting reporting procedures to enforce compliance with regulatory guidelines
  • Collaborate with other departmental heads, vendors and government agencies on procurement, statutory payments, taxes and payroll
  • Approve payroll for office and field staff, handle operating expenses, reconcile five savings and operating accounts and oversee annual account audits
  • Hire and train new accounting team members, perform performance evaluations and provide constructive feedback to improve service delivery

Accountant

Jerry Liu Partners | January 2014-March 2017

  • Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports with related documentations
  • Oversaw the company's billing needs, which included office expenses and payment for contractors and vendors
  • Processed and updated employee compensation, payroll and insurance
  • Reconciled operating, savings and investment bank accounts every month
  • Interfaced with the procurement manager and chief accountant to develop short and long-term budgets and assess financial reporting policies

Skills and qualifications

  • Account management
  • Data analysis
  • Financial reporting
  • Budgeting
  • Cash flow
  • Account reconciliation
  • Leadership
  • Fluent in English and Mandarin

Hobbies and interests

  • Reading
  • Swimming
  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Kung Fu

Tips for writing a good CV

Here are some tips to help you write an engaging CV that presents your professional experience and qualifications attractively to impress potential employers:

  • Study the job description before you write the CV. Familiarising yourself with the job description allows you to identify the skill set and qualifications that the employer is looking for in candidates. By including the competencies specified in the job description in your curriculum vitae, it shows that you can handle the necessary job duties and increases your chances of getting an interview.
  • Use the right keywords. Most employers look for specific keywords in the job description to screen out candidates through an Applicant Tracking System. Using those very keywords in your CV can help you get through this tracking system. It also shows the employer that you have read the job requirements thoroughly.
  • Use a template to guide your CV-writing process. Using a template as a model will help you put together a well-organised document that contains all of the essential information presented in the right format and order. This can also show employers that you are an organised and detail-oriented candidate.
  • Proofread and edit before submitting. Before finalising your CV, check the document for grammar, spelling errors and accurate dates, and make sure the formatting is consistent throughout.