Free Curriculum Vitae (CV) Template (Plus CV Example)

Updated August 10, 2023

During the job search process, employers may ask for a resume or a CV, also known as a curriculum vitae, as part of your application. While many people are familiar with the basic format and content of a resume, a CV is more extensive and complex to build. If you're writing a CV, learning how to organize your information effectively can help you show the hiring manager you're the best candidate for the role.

In this article, we explain why CV templates are important, detail when to use a CV, list the sections you can include, provide a template and review an example you can use as a reference when writing your own.

CV Format
Image description

CV Format

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary

  3. Professional history

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Awards

  7. Publications

Why is a CV template important?

A CV is a multipage document that encompasses several different topics, so using a comprehensive CV template can help to organize your content and submit a document that contains all the relevant information for a position. CVs can range from just a few pages to over 20 pages for an experienced individual. To effectively present your entire professional history, you need a CV template that is easy to use and has a clear, logical structure for a hiring manager to follow.

CV templates can be a convenient place to store and update your professional history as your career progresses. You can find CV templates with different themes in popular programs like Microsoft Office or by searching for open-source tools to create a visual CV on the web. We also share a few free downloadable CV templates plus an example CV below that can be modified to suit your professional needs.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Job Applications

When to use a CV

While resumes are the traditional way to share your work history with employers in the United States, international positions and academic opportunities often expect a CV as a part of the job application. Be sure to thoroughly review job listings and opportunity information before submitting a CV, as many hiring teams and internship directors may prefer to receive a resume instead.

People with a career in academia can create a CV to highlight their education, publications, fellowships and achievements that are more relevant to their line of work. Medical, scientific and research-based professions might also require a CV when creating applications for nursing programs, physician roles and other highly specialized jobs. If you're unsure whether a prospective employer expects a CV or a resume, you can check the job posting or reach out to the hiring manager to ask.

11 sections to include in a CV

A CV includes all the information that's relevant to your career path. Some professions may have additional sections and others may include more basic information. Here's a template of the sections your CV can include:

1. Contact information

At the top of your CV, include the contact information requested in the job description. If you have multiple phone numbers or email addresses, be sure to list your best methods of contact so the hiring manager can reach you directly. Depending on your industry and the position to which you're applying, you may include a professional headshot in your CV. This section can include:

  • Your full name

  • Address

  • Phone number

  • Email

  • Online portfolio (only if requested or relevant to the role)

  • Social media (only if requested or if relevant to the role)

Related: How To Write Contact Information That Gets Your Resume Noticed

2. Information for an international CV

For international jobs, including some basic personal information is the norm on CVs. If you're applying for a job outside of the United States, research that country's expectations for the sections on your CV. Information you can include in this section, depending on the country where the job is located, includes:

Personal information:

  • Date of birth

  • Place of birth

  • Citizenship

  • Visa status

3. Personal profile

Also known as a summary or CV statement, a CV profile is a brief overview of your most notable achievements, experience and skills that make you a unique candidate for the role to which you're applying. In three to five concise sentences, your profile can grab the hiring manager's attention. Avoid using clichés or overly wordy details.

4. Professional experience

Your professional experience can vary in length on a CV depending on where you have gained most of your relevant qualifications. CVs generally include all relevant job details over the course of the past 10 years, but you may also include lifetime achievements outside of this time frame if they apply. Working in reverse-chronological order starting with your most recent position, list on your CV the title of your job, internship or fellowship followed by your start and end date at each organization.

Some people include a brief description of their duties, while others simply list the job title to provide a more general overview of their career trajectory. Consider whether these details would add to your application before deciding on a format. People with ample experience may prefer to only list each job title to make room for their other accomplishments, while a recent graduate might prefer to include details about each job to make their application stronger.

5. Education

In the education section of a CV, list each institution you attended, the time frame of attendance, your majors and minors and other educational programs. If you're applying for a position in academia, this section can be more extensive and include details on your capstone or dissertation presentation.

You may also choose to prioritize this information by placing it at the top of your CV. Education can include post-doctoral training, graduate programs and college. Only include your high school credentials if you are a recent high school graduate or did not attend college.

Related: How To List Education on a Resume (With Examples)

6. Publications and presentations

In this section, list your publications, presentations and research. If you have significant accomplishments in any one area, you can split this section into multiple headings for books, articles, research and presentations. With only a few publications or presentations, you can group them under one heading, such as Publications and presentations, to emphasize your versatility without making this section of your CV look sparse or unfinished.

7. Certifications and skills

This section is where you can share your skills and certifications. Include both technical skills and soft skills that are relevant to the position to show you are a good fit. Be sure to find the keywords in the job description and include the relevant ones to help your CV get noticed by a hiring manager or an employer's applicant tracking system (ATS). Review the other sections of your CV and consider any special skills you have that can be showcased beyond the details in your professional or academic history.

8. Honors and awards

Including honors and awards shows that your professional community recognizes your skills. List the name of the award and the date you received it.

Related: How To List Honors on Your Resume

9. Community service

Because a CV takes a holistic view of your entire career, you can provide details about your volunteer experiences. Sharing your relevant community service shows your soft skills comprehensively and indicates passion and motivation. This section can be more extensive if you have less professional and academic experience. Include extra administrative responsibilities such as being part of a committee or leading a team and share your primary accomplishments while serving in that role.

10. Memberships

If you are a member of any professional organizations, list them near the end of your CV to show your industry connections. Professional organizations indicate that you are involved in current issues related to your field and have relevant community connections.

11. Interests and hobbies

When applying for an international position, include a section providing an overview of your interests and hobbies. The interests you share relate to your skills and experience while providing a comprehensive view of who you are as a person. When writing this section, consider how your various interests and hobbies could make you a more compelling job candidate. In the United States, CVs do not usually include this section and instead focus on your direct job experience and technical knowledge.

Related: Listing Hobbies and Interests on Your Resume (With Examples)

CV template

You can use a template to keep the style and formatting consistent throughout your CV. Here's a CV template you can use when writing your own:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]

[Phone] | [Email] | [City], [State], [ZIP]

[Online Portfolio/Professional Website (Optional)]


[2-3 sentences or 2-3 bullet points that include your years of professional experience, accomplishments, top skills and strengths as they relate to the position and what you’re looking for in your next role.]


[Degree Type], [Major (if applicable)] | Month/Year of Completion

[Institution Name], [Location]

  • [Details about achievements or dissertation]


[Job Title] | [Employment dates]

[Company Name] | [City], [State]

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]

[Company Name] | [City], [State]

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]

[Company Name] | [City], [State]

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • (Action verb) + what you did + reason, outcome or quantified results


[Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill] | [Relevant skill]


  • [Certification], [Certifying organization] - [Year earned]


  • [Award, recognition or volunteer work] - [Year earned]

  • [Award, recognition or volunteer work] - [Year earned]


[Add as many sections as you need to meet the job qualifications. Sections could include research experience, academic projects, teaching experience, publications, presentations and references.]

Download CV Template

To edit the template in Google Docs, go to File > Open > Upload > and select the correct file from your device.

Related: What Are Certifications? Definition, Benefits and Types

Example CV

Here's an example CV you can use as a reference when writing your own:

Debbie Thet
Columbus, Ohio | (221)-774-2489 |
Biology professor with more than five years as an educator, and more than seven years in the biology field. Author of several publications and recipient of the 2023 South Northwestern Professor of the Term award.
University of Green Mountain County
Bachelor's degree in biology
South Northwestern University, Biology Professor
September 2018–Current
  • Design lectures and create study materials for a 90% pass rate
  • Meet with students during office hours to guide them through issues
  • Deliver guest lectures to more than five other courses during each term
  • Instruct more than 1,000 students per term in both physical and online courses
  • Implement new measures for approaching material that double knowledge retention
Advanced Biology Research & Medical Technology, Inc., Research Assistant
August 2016–September 2018
  • Planned more than 50 lab experiments per month
  • Monitored and enforced safety measures for a 30% incident reduction
  • Compiled complex data into brief reports for use in scientific journals
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Spreadsheet management
  • Lab management
  • Leadership
  • Attention to detail
  • Grant writing

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