Writing a Technical Curriculum Vitae or CV for Engineers - The Difference Between a Resume and a CV

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Curriculum Vitae

CV (Curriculum Vitae) writing is a task that tends to give jitters to every job seeker. For first timers and technical people it is a daunting task. Drafting a CV is inevitable. It could be required before an interview or at the time of the interview. A well-worded, presentable CV can be achieved only after several attempts. The skills to be highlighted in a CV would depend on the kind of job you are applying for, which would further determine the type of CV you chose. In this article we learn how to write a CV for electrical engineering jobs. CV’s for electrical engineering would come under the category of a technical CV.

CV and Resume

Before getting started on writing a CV let us appreciate the difference between a CV and a Resume. A Vitae and resume both have the same objective, which is to provide information about you, your qualification, your skills and qualities. These documents vary in length and in format.

Brevity is the soul of a resume. A CV is more detailed, it states the technical and the academic qualifications and achievements in detail.

Both the documents need to be drafted with adequate care. A resume may suffer because of brevity, much information may be left out in an effort to be brief. While drafting a CV you need to watch against providing unnecessary details and repetition.

Writing a Curriculum Vitae

Your CV is your introduction, the beginning of your interaction with the company and the interviewer. A CV helps the interviewer answer a few questions like:

  • Why should you be hired?
  • Are you worth what you are asking for?
  • What value will you add to the company?

It creates an impression about the person who is going to walk in for the interview. The impression that the interviewer forms about you upon reading your CV, may be strengthened or altered when you are called for an interview.

A technical CV suits electrical engineering jobs best for the reason that it gives you enough opportunity to highlight your technical skills, technical qualification and experience. The best bet is to go for a chronological listing within a technical CV. Your CV should be written with the objective of linking what you have done in the past, with the current job that you are applying for.

Let us get started and look at the necessary headings that a CV should carry.

Personal Information: Under this header, you would put your name and contact information. The necessary entries in this would be:

  • Name
  • Postal Address
  • Email and
  • Telephone Number.

[Remember: Provide contact information for which you will be available.]

Experience: This is a very important header. Information under this head helps the hirer to understand your technical competencies. Arrange the information chronologically from the current going back to the beginning of your career. Avoid giving false or incorrect experience. You would not be able to justify your experience during the interview. The information would revolve around:

  • Name of the Organization
  • Work Period
  • Designation
  • Responsibilities (technical and non-technical)
  • Achievements


  1. Information under this header helps the hirer to gauge your performance in the past assignments.
  2. The hirer is definitely interested in knowing the responsibilities that you have handled in various organizations.
  3. Use this head to highlight your technical competencies.
  4. In case during the course of employment in the past you have a significant achievement, do mention it.
  5. In case you do not have an experience, do not panic or try to cook up an experience, simply eliminate this head.]

Academic Qualifications: Under this heading, you would put your complete academic career. You would start from the highest education that you have received and work down to your undergraduate work. As your experience grows, minor qualifications can be ignored. Avoid stating any acronyms or abbreviations, as far as possible state full name of the college, qualification etc. In case it is your first job, highlight the practical projects that you have handled as a student. You would provide information about:

  • Qualification
  • University or College you attended
  • Period
  • Major/Minor subjects, Dissertation, Thesis, Projects handled
  • Achievements


  1. Avoid giving false or incorrect information.
  2. As your experience grows, minor qualifications can be ignored.
  3. Avoid stating any acronyms or abbreviations, as far as possible state full name of the college, qualification etc.
  4. In case it is your first job, highlight the practical projects that you have handled as a student.]

Some Additional Headings in a CV

Technical/Professional Qualifications**:** In case you hold a specific professional qualification, make sure that you not only mention it but highlight it too. This would give you an edge over your competitors. For example, you are applying for a design engineer position and your CV states that you hold an extra certification in CAD that definitely goes in your favor.


  1. Your suitability for a technical job would depend highly on what information you put under this heading.
  2. Highlight your technical qualifications.
  3. Highlight the practical work that you have done.
  4. An experience revolving around a technical qualification would be like ‘icing on the cake']

Professional Development/ Continuing Education: Many careers require one to continuously work and up-grade. This happens by attending professional education, conferences, workshops etc. In case you have attended, these workshops do give them place in your CV.


  1. Attending such business related events shows one’s desire to be up to the mark with reference to one’s profession.
  2. It shows your zeal towards your profession and growth.
  3. Conferences, workshops further act as a platform for interaction with industry people. These are also hunting grounds for talent]

Affiliations/Memberships/Grants: Under this head, you are to mention any professional accreditation, license, certification that you hold. It could be possible that before you start working, you are required to be registered with a statutory authority in your field, do not hesitate to mention your registration.


  1. This adds authenticity and authority to your profile.
  2. Some companies may be under statutory restrictions and may be on the look out for candidates with specific affiliations and memberships or their equivalents]

Other Work/Volunteer Work Experience: In case you are or have been involved as a volunteer with an organization, feel free to provide the details. It is a possibility, that your work experience well describes your technical skills and your volunteer experience describes your managerial skills. Many companies have social responsibility programs these days. A company would like to have an employee who can think beyond himself and just remuneration.


  1. Use your volunteer work experience to highlight additional skills.
  2. Use volunteer work experience to exhibit your versatility.]

Other Information: This is a very vast heading. Any awards won, out of country experiences, languages known are examples of some of such entries that can be also be added in a CV. Incase you are a bi-lingual or multi-lingual do mention the languages you know and your level of proficiency in them. Knowledge of different language and cultures makes you a likely choice for international assignments.


  1. Incase the information is too varied, arrange it under different heads]

References: Companies generally ask for two references. References are to be people whom you have worked with. Provide complete contact information, work organization and designation of your references.


  1. It is foolishness to think that providing references is just a formality and companies do not actually go for reference checks.
  2. Always provide authentic references.
  3. The best reference that you can supply is of your last reporting manager]

Sign Off: Last but not the least remember to sign off. Put your name, and signature on the CV.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do not be in haste to write down your resume.
  • Do not feel tempted to copy from a sample CV on the net or from a friend’s CV. Be original.
  • Have a focused CV. Do your research well, in terms of the job and the company you are applying to.
  • Know your marketability skills.
  • Prepare a rough draft, where in you write down all the relevant information.
  • Prepare the rough draft under the following heads:
    • Personal Information,
    • Experience,
    • Educational Qualification,
    • Professional /Technical Qualification
    • Affiliations/Memberships/Grants:
    • Other Work/Volunteer Work Experience
    • Other Information
    • References
  • Read and re-read the rough draft. Incorporate only the necessary information in the final draft.
  • Provide authentic information. Avoid any false or misstatements.
  • Pay attention to presentation of the resume. Use only professional fonts, that is, Times Roman or Arial. The font size should be readable.
  • Spell Check your resume.
  • Last but not the least remember to sign off.
  • Concentrate on the presentation and the layout.

Humility can be kept for some other time. Go and make an impression!