WRITING YOUR CURRICULUM VITAE

The EU Europass CV model is  recommended by both the International Office and Recruitment Services of this university. See Europass information from Turku University website (in Finnish). From the Europass web site:

What is Europass?
Whether you are planning to enrol in an education or training programme, looking for a job, or getting experience abroad, it is important to be able to make your skills and competences clearly understood.

Europass is a new way of helping you to:
* make your skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe (European Union, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries);
* move anywhere in Europe.

Europass consists of five documents:

* two documents (Europass curriculum vitae (CV) and Europass Language Passport) you can fill in yourself; and
* three other documents (Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility) filled in and issued by competent organisations.

I recommend that you write a Europass CV, but some of the information below may be of interest.


There are so many excellent links on the internet (some selected below) that I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel in these pages. Wherever possible, I've tried to cover aspects that Finnish (and international) students have had difficulties with. I'm also writing this from a British/European perspective; some of the links below will be helpful for American resumes and CVs.

One link that I've used a lot in these pages is Alec's free resume / CV writing advice & tips (UK-based). A recent article in the Guardian (16 August 2004) also gave some tips.

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?
Notes on presentation
Basic (chronological) CV model followed by notes
American distinction: resumé and CV
Types of CV: chronological
, functional, performance, targeted, alternative 
Sample CVs: chronological, functional, performance, targeted, alternative 
Useful links
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What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

The Curriculum Vitae is not a legal document, but a factual representation of your personal and professional qualities and merits to date ("the course/story of your life").  Your CV may be used: a) to apply for a particular position that has been advertised (accompanied by a letter of application or covering letter); b) to draw attention to your qualifications with future openings in mind. (you may be "headhunted" at a later date by a company which has your CV); c) to act as the basis for questions asked in an interview.  

  It is, above all, your document, a representation of your identity and history, who you are. What you choose to write in your CV is important. It tells the reader about your past and present, and will influence your future. It should not be too long. However, if you leave something important out, nobody will know about it. Conversely, if you add to the truth and lie about your merits, you may be caught out at a later date. But you are "selling yourself", so present a positive picture of yourself and your achievements. Don't mention any failures / bad results or make excuses. Also don't leave any blank years - account for what you were doing (e.g. part-time work).  Be comprehensive, concise, truthful, but not too modest!  

It's a good idea to write and save  a longer CV including everything you have achieved to date, constantly updating the information as you go along. With each application you make, you will need to select relevant details for that particular situation. So your CV is not static: it is changing with you and it should be rewritten for each application.

The receiver /reader of your CV should be foremost in your mind when you choose what to include and write about. Read the information about the position carefully, think about what the receiver/reader is looking for and what you have to offer. 

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Notes on Presentation

It's worth spending time on this! Good quality paper; word-processed, not typed; no fancy fonts;  1 or 2 x A4 pages; visually pleasing (layout); no spelling, typing, grammar mistakes. First impressions count - organise and list achievements to immediately attract attention. Be positive!

Your Curriculum Vitae should be written as a separate document, NOT as part of a letter. Templates for writing a CV can often be found in conjunction with word processing packages. These are often based on an American model, which may differ in certain ways from the British or other European models (although this is changing). It is worth thinking about the receiver/reader of your CV, and which model is expected in the context.  

Tips on word-processing and printing

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CURRICULUM VITAE

Name:
Nationality:
Address:
Telephone:
  +358 (0) ....
Mobile / cellular phone:

Email:

Languages

Skills

Education/ Qualifications

Work experience

Leisure Interests

Referees

 

Signed:

Date:

   
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Personal details

 The choice of what to include is YOURS!  Is the information relevant to your application?

In American (and increasingly European/British) CVs, only contact information (name, address, telephone, email etc.) is included. Sexism, ageism or other -ism's are considerations! Note this advice  from the University of California Careers Service (one of the links listed below on this page).

"DO NOT include on your curriculum vitae the kinds of personal information that have nothing to do with your qualifications for the position. Here are some items that range from tasteless to illegal if included. Do not list your height, weight, or any other physical characteristic. Do not give your age, marital status, sexual preferences, racial or ethnic identity, political or religious affiliations, place of birth, or other information of this kind. Do not attach a photograph." 

Name

One of the websites links below advises applicants with foreign names to indicate Sex: M or F

Marital status

If you do choose to mention your Marital status, note that there are only 2 categories: single and married. 

If you are single, but live with your partner, you might choose to write "single, cohabiting". You don't need to mention the name of your partner!!  Cohabitation is the translation of "avoliitto"; don't use "open marriage" - it means something completely different, i.e. an agreement between a married couple that they are each free to have other sexual partners!

 If you are divorced (or separated), you could also mention this: "single, divorced", but "single" is your marital status. Similarly if you are engaged, you could write: "single, engaged", but "single" is your marital status. You might possibly want to mention your children and their ages, e.g. married,  2 children aged 5 and  9 years.  Names of spouses/children are not necessary in any of these cases.

 Date of birth (not age) is sometimes included;  Place of birth may be relevant e.g. to prove you are a native speaker, or to show that this is different from your nationality.

Nationality

Don't forget to start with a capital letter: Finnish, Spanish, Swedish, German . . .

Languages

Your knowledge of foreign/second languages is definitely worth mentioning. By international standards, Finnish students have a lot to offer. Specify the level if you can, and describe what you are able to do with the language in question, for example, Finnish (native), Swedish (fluent), English( advanced), Russian (intermediate), German (spoken only), French (written only) 

Skills

These may include computing languages or packages (specify degree of familiarity), keyboard skills (NB not piano!), driving. Many UK career services mention  having "a clean driving license" as a merit!

Army rank 

Contemporary Finnish Military Ranks
This could be mentioned earlier under personal details or later under experience.

Education/ Qualifications  

The American sequence of first mentioning present (latest) institution, and dates, and then  going backwards in time seems to be practice in British CV writing nowadays. The receiver/reader immediately sees the most interesting information first. The last three places of study are enough. Don't forget the dates (years)!

Master's degree studies. See University of Turku information in English and/or the International Office "University studies in Finland" for help with terminology. List details about your university education: a brief overview of subjects studied (major/main  and minor/subsidiary) and a brief description of any more specialised work you have done (master's thesis, seminar paper, project etc.).

Mention dates when you started and finished at different educational institutions between school and university.  If you attended a polytechnic, folk high school or any other college, it is worth finding out the exact translation of the name of the institution. Also find out  what the name of your qualification is in English (if known). 

If your senior/upper secondary school was one of the last three institutions, give dates when you attended and the name of the school (and name of town). If relevant, mention the subjects you passed in the matriculation examination: Finnish, Swedish, Mathematics (basic or advanced course), English (A language), French (B language), General Studies (Physics, Chemistry, History ...). Grades are not necessary, but if you feel  they are relevant, go ahead.
Finnish matriculation examination grades

Work experience / Employment

It is important that every year since school should be accounted for, so even short-term, part-time employment in gap years should be mentioned, but not in great detail. Give more information about positions relevant to the one you are applying for. Like educational institutions, go backwards from most recent to past employment.

If relevant, you might mention that you did /chose the alternative to military service (siviilipalvelu, civiltjänst) - include dates and place of work, job description.

Leisure Interests

Mention  free time activities (especially organised ones where you have taken an active part) that you can talk about in detail: sports, music, drama and other cultural activities. Mention membership of clubs and societies, positions of responsibility,  prizes etc. Show how these have developed qualities the reader/receiver will value.  Mention the level of achievement you have
reached and specific things you have done, in order to indicate your commitment. 

Referees

The names and contact information of 2 persons who can be contacted to give you a reference should be given here. Ask the referees' permission first, and give them a copy of your new CV, covering letter and information about the position you are applying for. An academic reference from a professor or senior member of staff would be appropriate as you are/were at university. The other reference can be from a previous employer or family friend (not a member of your family). The referees should be in a position to comment authoritatively on your abilities and potential etc.

Don't enclose work certificates (testimonials) with your application.

See : What information will I need
See also: Writing your student / graduate CV; Student example CV; Graduate CV example

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American distinction: resumé and CV

Extract from JobSearch:

"What Is The Difference Between A Resume And A Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae is a comprehensive biographical statement (generally three or more pages) emphasizing professional qualifications and activities. Often C.V.'s are specifically requested. A C.V. is generally used for the following:

Application for graduate program admission 
Academic teaching positions 
Academic and institutional research positions 
High level administrative positions: Elementary, Secondary, and College level 

Sample American Curriculum Vitae

A resume is an individually designed summary (usually one or two pages) of your personal, educational, and experience qualifications as they relate to the type of employment you are seeking. It is a written advertisement: your sales promotion piece. It should be a simple, well-organized presentation of YOU - your interests, skills, abilities, and accomplishments.

Resumes Get Interviews--Not Jobs! Unless requested, it is usually not appropriate to send a C.V. as a first contact. When in doubt, send a resume with a notation that a curriculum vitae (and/or references) will be sent later upon request. This makes it clear that you know the difference between the two. Don't weaken your employment possibilities by sending the wrong document."

Sample American resume (and cover letters)

A quotation from Geert Hofstede: 

"Assertiveness vs modesty? . . . .  American applicants, to [European] eyes, "oversell" themselves. Their CVs [+ resumes] are worded in superlatives,  mentioning every degree, grade, award and membership to demonstrate their outstanding qualities. 

[European] applicants, in American eyes, undersell themselves. They write modest and usually short CVs . . . expect an interest in their social and extra-curricular activities during their studies . . . and are careful not to be seen as braggarts ." 

"American [receivers/readers] know how to interpret American CVs . . . and they tend to discount the information provided. [European][readers] tend to upgrade the information."

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Types of CV:

There's no doubt that the American way of selling yourself has influenced European contexts (especially working life). This can be seen below in the types of CV described in the links below.

Selecting your CV format:

Chronological (as in basic CV model above):

In a chronological CV, (the European model), do not write in sentences. Your accompanying letter has that function. Dates, qualifications, educational institutions, companies that you have worked for and the title describing the work, honorary positions etc should be included but not long descriptions of what they involved. "Chronological" refers to "time".

Functional CV
Performance CV
  Targeted CV
 Alternative CV

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Sample CVs

Performance
Functional
Targeted

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Useful links

UK/European

Alec - CV / resume tips and advice
University of Bristol Careers Advisory Centre
University of Leeds (UK) Career Centre
University of London Careers Service

SkillsGroup Advice Centre / Ireland
Student Pages.co.uk

US

Curriculum Vitae and Application Letter
Jobsearch 
Jobstar Central
University of California Careers service

University of Columbia Career Center
University of Waterloo Careers Services