What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a comprehensive description of your academic credentials and achievements. You will use a CV if you are applying for a teaching or research position at a college, university, or research institution. You may also use your CV during graduate school to apply for grants, fellowships, or teaching positions.

What is a Résumé, and How is It Different From a CV?

A résumé is a concise document that gives a brief overview of your skills and experience. It is used to apply to most industry positions and office jobs. A résumé should be one page; however, some employers will accept two pages. A two-page résumé is typically more appropriate for those with extensive work experience, or for artists. A CV can be several pages long and is used for academic and research positions.

What Should a CV Include?

Your CV is your marketing material; it must be appealing and clear, and convince a search committee of your qualifications. Consult with your advisor and other faculty to learn about CV conventions in your field. CVs in all fields should include the following sections:

  • Name, address, telephone number, and email address
  • Education: degrees, institutions, and degree dates
  • Dissertation or thesis title(s), names of advisor and committee members
  • Awards, fellowships, and grants
  • Publications and presentations (divided by audience/type)
  • Teaching experience and interests
  • Research experience and interests
  • Related experience (for example, administrative or editorial experience, which is increasingly common on academic CVs)
  • Language, computer, and/or other skills
  • Service and membership in professional associations (e.g., Modern Language Association)
  • Activities and/or interests (optional)

Depending on your discipline, you may have additional sections:

  • Data sets (sciences)
  • Performances (performing arts)
  • Exhibitions

How Should I Organize My CV?

Present your qualifications and achievements in a clear, concise, and organized fashion. Use topical headings and consider their order. What comes first will receive more emphasis. CVs typically begin with your name and contact information, followed by academic credentials to draw attention to your degrees.

Formatting should make your CV easy to read for your intended audience. Names, titles, and dates should appear in the same place within each entry. Be consistent in your use of punctuation, typeface, and indentation. Liberal use of white space and judicious use of bold and italics can help make your CV a swift and pleasant read. Also, review the description of the job you are applying for, and organize the information on your CV according to what topics seem most important. For example, if you are applying for a research position, you may want to include a section titled “Research Experience” under your “Education” section. If you are applying for a teaching-intensive institution, emphasize your teaching experience over your research.

There are no universal rules for CV organization, so it is best to seek out examples and advice before settling on a format. Some departments have sample CVs from alumni, and faculty often post their CVs online, so review these examples to assist you with formatting. Finally, meet with your advisor to review your CV, and show it to your peers and professors to get feedback.

What Should I Exclude?

Do not include personal information on your CV for positions in the United States. This includes your age, height, weight, marital status, race, and religion. In general, you do not include US citizenship or permanent residency on a CV. That said, if you think the employer would be uncertain of your status, you may include your work authorization to clarify your qualification.

How Long Should My CV Be?

Content determines the length of the CV. The CV of a student or junior professor may be two to four pages in length, but this varies by discipline; senior faculty may produce CVs that of ten or more pages.

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