There is no definitive way of creating a CV, but it is important to think of it as a tool for communication with a potential employer. Thus, a CV needs to stand out from the crowd and provide the potential employer with relevante information in a clear manner. Always try to address the specific potential employer in both form and content. To be able to do that you need to research the company or organization.
Structure of a CV
The contents and structure of a CV can be as presented below. It is, however, not limited to these elements.
- Contact info
- Good profile photo
- Profile text
- Work experience
- Voluntary work experience
- IT and technical skills
- Language skills
- About you (e.g. hobbies and sport activities)
tAIlor your cv to the Specific job
You need to tailor your CV to the specific job and ensure the script is relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV. It all depends on the relevance of each element. The different experiences have different aspects to them in relation to the position for which you are applying.
It is highly recommended to include a profile text to your CV. It is a small text – about 5-8 lines – that connects your abilities and motivations to the specific job. Why do you apply for this particular job? How can you use your competences in the job? Make it relevant for the specific potential employer. Keep in mind that this is the only part of a CV that focuses on the future.
When describing your experiences, leave as little space as possible for interpretation – always back up your claims with a context. That goes for both professional, academic and personal competences. If taken out of context, they are just meaningless words.
For every work experience and education you have had, consider including the following points:
- Focus: What did your work focus on?
- Compenteces: What competences did you develop?
- Results: What results did you make?
What about publications?
Include a list of your publications (or specific publications) only if it is relevant for the job you are applying for. Otherwise include the number of publications as a result of your work and/or refer to your VBN profile or ORCID iD.
- Think about the layout - it should create an easy overview.
- A CV in Denmark can be up to 3 pages long.
- Use your private adress, e-mail, and phone number as contact information.
- It is not necessary to include your date of birth - and never include your CPR-number!
- Within each section, list your experiences in reverse chronological order.
- Do not take knowledge for granted.
- Translate your competences into the language of the employer.
- Match the language used by the company in the job advertisement.
- As a PhD or junior researcher you have more than two year of work experience, and therefore, we recommend you to present your work experience before your educational background.
- Include your PhD both as a work experience and an educational background.
- You do not need to provide the names of references in your CV. You can (but do not need to) write 'references available upon request' - most employers would assume this to be the case.
- Check and double check your spelling and grammar in order to avoid errors - and enlist a second pair of eyes to check over it. It might not be the deciding factor, but it surely leaves an impression.
- Often times potential employers spend less than one minute going through an applicant's CV - and only if it is interesting and relevant do they read the application. So, make sure to communicate your relevance to them in a clear manner.
CV in other countries
The above applies to a Danish context. If you are searching for a job abroad, we recommend you to research on practices in the specific country – check out the advice presented by the career center’s website at an esteemed university. This will provide you with you good inspiration.
Find inspiration for your CV online. Take a look at others' CVs. What works? What do you like?
Individual career counselling
As a PhD student, recent PhD graduate (until one year after obtaining the PhD degree), or young researcher at AAU, you can book a one-on-one talk to discuss your CV and future career. Read more about individual career counselling.