Academic Writing Complete Guide

Purpose and Audience of this Guide
Why read academic articles?
Essay Writing
Report Writing
Oral Presentations
Finding Sources
Good Academic Scholarship
Understanding Feedback
Exam preparation and Techniques


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CV writing and editing

In some counties like the United States, when applying for positions, you may be required to submit a curriculum vitae rather than a resume. This is because curriculum vitae are more detailed than a resume. Some of the details found in curriculum vitae include your education, academic accomplishments, research, publications, affiliations, awards and so on.
However, many people still confuse resumes with curriculum vitae but there is a difference. The information included in a resume is not as much as the one included in a curriculum vitae.

Differences between resumes and curriculum vitae

The length, the purpose, and the layout are some of the noticeable differences between the two documents. A resume is a summary of your skills and experience and it goes over one or two pages. Conversely, curriculum vitae are detailed documents that exceed two pages. A resume is customized to meet the needs of a particular job posting whereas a Curriculum vitae stays put and any changes made will be included in the cover letter. There is a clear chronology followed by a CV which lists the applicant’s career life in its entirety. The information that is contained in a resume can be changed and shuffled to suit the applicant and the job posting. Simply put, a CV records your career history whereas a resume is a brief, targeted list of skills and achievements.

CV usage around the world

Some countries use CV in every context. Such countries include New Zealand, UK, and Ireland and resumes are not used at all. In mainland Europe, they utilize CV and they even have a downloadable format from the internet. In US and Canada, people use the CV when they are applying for a job overseas. Germany refers to CV as Lebenslauf, which is one of the many application documents job seekers have to produce just to secure an interview.
South Africa, Australia, and India use CV and resume interchangeably. The term resume is used to apply for jobs in the private sector while the CV is mostly used when seeking a position in the public service.

How to write your curriculum vitae

If you have been asked to send a CV to a company that you want to work for, you must them produce it. Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “Course of Life”. That is just about it. This is a concise document that is a summary of your past, existing professional skills, proficiency, and experiences. It demonstrates that you have the requisite skills to do the job for which you are applying. To create an effective CV, you can follow the following steps:


  • Brainstorming for your CV
    Most CVS contain persona information encompassing your education, qualifications, work experience, your interests, and achievements, skill sand references and so on. However, there is no set format for writing a CV, and what you include remains your prerogative.
  • Check the company’s website for more information
    You can check to see if they require some specific information in your CV. The website might have specific directions on their application page. Always ensure that you double-check this.
  • Enumerate the jobs you have held
    It can include your current job and the positions you have held in the past. Include the dates that you began and ended your term for each position you held.
  • Brainstorm your interests and hobbies
    Unique hobbies and interests will make your CV unique. You have to be aware of the conclusions that can be inferred from your list of hobbies. You have to portray hobbies that display you as team-oriented individual instead if a solitary, passive person. Every company wants someone who can work well with others and can lead a team if the need arises.

    Hobbies and interests paste a positive image, for instance being the captain of your football team, organizing a charity event and so on. Hobbies that imply passive and solitary personality should be avoided. For instance and if you have to include hobbies like watching TV, doing puzzles, you have to give a reason why.
  • Enumerate relevant skills
    You can include computing skills, languages in which you are fluent or specific things that the company is looking for like targeted skills. For instance, if you are applying to be a writer at a local daily you can list that you are conversant in PA style, if it's coding, mention that you have worked with JavaScript. Those are some of the targeted skills.

Writing your CV

  • Create a format for your CV
    Decide if you are going to break each section with a line or pout each section in its own box. You can play around with different formats to see which one comes out as most professional. Do not go more than the front and back of a standard sheet of paper.
  • List your name, address, phone number and your email at the top part of the page
    Use a larger font size to write your name as it is crucial for the reader to know whom he is reading about. The formatting of this information is your prerogative. The standard format would have your name at the center of the page; your home address listed in block format and set to the left. Your phone number and email comes below your emails address.
  • Include a personal profile
    This gives your reviewer an in-depth look at your personality. It is your chance to sell your skills, experiences, and personal qualities. It has to be original and well written, using positive language such as ‘adaptable’, ‘confident’ and ‘determined.’
  • Dedicate a section for your education and qualification
    This can come at the beginning of your CV or it can come after other sections since the order of the sections is your prerogative. You have to list your education in reverse chronology. In other words, you begin with the last university you are attending or attended and walk your way backward. Include its name and the dates that you went there, your major and minor and your grade points or average A levels.
  • Dedicate a section for your work experience
    This is where you list all the relevant experience you have with regard to the position for which you are applying. List the company’s name, its location, the years you worked there, and what you did. Always start with your most recent job. If you have a long list of experience, put only the relevant one to the job you are seeking.
  • Create a section for your skills and achievements
    This is where you enumerate your accomplishments at previous jobs, and the skills you developed through that experience. If you have any published work, lectures you have given and classes you have taught, include them
  • Dedicate a section for your interests
    If you have any relevant interests that portray you in a positive light, this is where you list them. You can select several of the interests you have listed while brainstorming.
  • Create a section for other information
    If there is a noticeable gap in your CV or there is an important piece of information, you want to include, put it in this section. It can be any information that touches on you leaving work to take care of your children, join the Peace Corps and so on.
  • Create a section for references
    These can be the people you have worked with in the past such as employers, professors and so on. They have seen your work and can credibly support the praises they accord you. Your prospective employer may contact them to find out more about your work. It is important to talk with the person you wish to include in your reference first and it is crucial to double check if they still have the same number. Write down their full names as well as their contact information.

Finalizing your CV

  • Check your spelling and grammar
    If you do not want your application to be rejected, ensure that your CV is free from bad spelling and grammatical mistakes. Double check for any wrong spelling especially anything that touches on the company to which you are applying as well as the ones that you have worked for previously.
  • Proofread your sentences to ensure that they are written more concisely
    If your CV is well written, it will do better than a CV that is repetitive and long winding. It is better to list many of your characteristics that a few that are repeated.
  • Read your CV as if you were the recipient and pay attention to the format and the layout. Ascertain if it comes out as professional.
  • Get someone else to read your CV and use his or her feedback appropriately.

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