The Curriculum Vitae: Tips for Executives

Style and presentation:

  • Think of your curriculum vitae (cv) as a two-minute commercial: an opportunity to sell yourself.
  • Make sure your cv is clear. Describe your achievements using the active voice. Keep the language simple, avoid acronyms, and be succinct.
  • Choose the format that shows your background to your best advantage and is appropriate to the impact that you wish to create.
  • Be specific - list the experience criteria and indicate how you meet each.
  • Use a clear, readable typeface, and do not crowd too much text onto each page.
  • The maximum length should be three pages, preferably two.

Basic information:

  • Personal information such as name, address, home and office phone numbers, fax number and e-mail address.
  • Language profile, spoken and written; include the date of your most recent Second Language Evaluation, along with the level acquired.
  • Level of security clearance, where applicable.
  • Personal identification number (PRI)
  • N.B.  There is no need to provide personal information such as sex, age, health, race, religion, marital status or political affiliation, or to enclose a photo.

Career highlights:

  • List positions held over the last 10 to 15 years – title, group, level, department, division and duration. List the most recent job first.
  • When you describe these positions, concentrate on your accomplishments that demonstrate the personal qualities senior managers and executives display.
  • Be specific about your experience in managing human and financial resources, and managing change.
  • Be brief, but emphasize outstanding achievements.
  • If relevant, you may include other information such as special experience or skills acquired through work with groups such as boards of directors, professional associations, civic or charitable organizations.
  • Be sure to emphasize skills and experience directly related to the position you are applying for.

Education and professional training:

  • List post-secondary diplomas and degrees, where applicable, as well as relevant public service management development and orientation courses. Include dates, and list the most recent first.
  • Should you be called for an interview, be prepared to provide proof of your education.


  • List only your most important publications, and only if they are relevant to the position being sought.
  • If the list is longer that ten or fifteen lines, you may prefer to include it as an appendix.


  • You may wish to indicate "references upon request". However, if you decide to provide references, the following should appear on a separate page: names, current titles, current departments/organizations, e-mail addresses, phone/fax numbers, nature of their relationship to you (superior, peer, client, staff/employers).

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