Having a professional CV (curriculum vitae) will showcase what you have achieved to date in your career in a concise and appealing way.
It is good practice to maintain a ‘comprehensive’ CV that you regularly add to over a long period of time. It should include all examples of experience, skills, and achievements that you might want to highlight to future employers. From this ‘comprehensive’ CV, you can then draft ‘tailored’ CVs for specific job applications or opportunities, by removing the less relevant elements and re-writing your personal statement/profile.
Your ‘comprehensive’ CV will run to many pages as you develop it over time, but most job applications will only need a CV of about 2 pages long. Only include the most relevant points of your education and experience (and try not to repeat what’s in your covering letter). If you’re early in your career, your CV may only take up one page – that’s OK.
The type of CV you use depends on the type of job you are applying for and the skills and experience you want to showcase. Some of the more common CV formats used by geographers include:
Chronological CV (aka “traditional” CV): Matches your qualifications and work history with the job’s requirements. It is structured in reverse chronological order and details responsibilities and achievements within the context of your work history.
Skills-based CV: Focuses on the specific and transferable skills you offer to the job/employer, with slightly less emphasis on where or how they were developed.
Technical CV: Have an introductory paragraph that contextualises the technical experience and expertise, then provides details of specific technical skills, standards, approaches and capabilities.
Academic CV: Focused on achievements in an educational setting (research and teaching), these often have additional sections for publications, teaching experience, research activities and funding, conferences and presentations.
See more types of CV with examples on Prospects.co.uk.
This guide on How to write a CV from Prospects.co.uk provides a comprehensive guide to preparing your professional CV, especially early in your career.
It’s a good idea to write your CV in the first person (same goes for your LinkedIn profile) – I am…, I led…, I achieved…, I was responsible for…
Your CV should be concise. If you use LinkedIn, Twitter or a professional blog, you can use that to post regular content related to the industry or what you’re working on. This can be useful for showcasing your contributions and achievements. You can put links into your CV where relevant, which allows you to include longer text or images, but remember that a recruiting manager might not look at them.
You can showcase experience, skills and knowledge developed from a wide range of sources, alongside employment and formal education. These might include:
Volunteering – helping other teams or departments in their work, or external organsiation. This can help to fill in skills or experiences you haven’t gained through paid work
Mentoring (offering or receiving), career coaching
Put yourself forward to take on projects, share your knowledge
Identify training and development opportunities that stretch you and fill in gaps in your experience
Network and build up your contacts – you will learn about many opportunities through people you know
Professional membership and qualifications/accreditation.
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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2021) Curating a professional career CV. Available at www.rgs.org/careersresources/CurateCV Last accessed on: <date>
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