Curriculum Vitae

Writing Curriculum Vitae 

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? 

A curriculum vitae, often referred to as a CV, is a comprehensive overview of your scholarly and academic achievements as well as your professional accomplishments. It is the standard document in the United States of America for presenting your qualifications for academic employment. However, other than research positions or corporate partnerships with higher education institutions, CVs are generally inappropriate for most jobs in the public and private sector in the U.S. Unless a CV is specifically requested, assume all academic positions at four-year universities (and some community colleges) require CVs, and all other positions require resumes.  

Note: A professional CV is not subject to the brevity and page restrictions of resumes and are, in most cases, several pages long! 

When do you use a CV? 

It is common to use CVs when applying to the following: 

  • Academic and research positions 
  • Grants, fellowships, awards 
  • Some graduate school programs 
  • Overseas employment and international organizations (different countries have different formats, so do your research here!) 

What's the difference between a CV and a resume? 

Great question! Let's take a look: 



Academic, research, scientific and international employment 

Industry employment in the U.S.

Detailed summary 

Brief synopsis 

Goal: Construct scholarly identity

Goal: Construct professional identity

Includes references 

Does not include references

No page limit 

1-2 pages maximum 

Organizing Your CV

What sections are required in a CV?

  • Contact Information (Name, email, phone number, mailing address, URLs to online porftolio and/or LinkedIn profile) 

  • Education 

  • References 

What sections are commonly used in a CV? 

  • Honors/Awards/Distinctions
  • Fellowships/Grants
  • Teaching Experience (courses taught)
  • Research Experience
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Works in Progress
  • Research Interests
  • Other Professional Experience (clinical, consulting, fieldwork, etc.)
  • Professional Training
  • Professional Service
  • Memberships or Professional Affiliations
  • Languages
  • Dissertation or Thesis
  • Academic Service
  • Special Training
  • Research Techniques/Computer Skills/Laboratory
  • Volunteer work/Service Activities
  • Committee Assignments
  • Community Involvement
  • Study Abroad
  • Book Reviews
  • Conference Presentations
  • Certifications/Licenses/Credentials
  • Internships
  • Leadership
  • Patents
  • Workshops/Panels
  • Summary/Profile
  • Practica


Formatting Your CV

  • Standard fonts (Times, Helvetica), 10-12 point. 
  • Text formatting like bullet points and bold text to makes information easy to find! 
  • Include your name and page number on every page. 
  • List most relevant and compelling information at the top of your sections. 
  • Be consistent in your formatting, however you end up deciding to format your CV. 
  • No mistakes allowed--misspelled words or similar grammatical mistakes are the fastest way to get your CV tossed! 
  • Break up long sentences. 
  • Avoid overusing acronyms, abbreviations, and industry-specific words or expressions. 
  • Highlight results and accomplishments, not just tasks! 
  • Know your audience. What is the employer looking for in terms of skills? Qualifications? 
  • All entries within each section must be in reverse chronological order. 
  • Save as a PDF document--title should include your name and date, such as "S.SlugVita2018.pdf." 

Some overseas employers may expect additional personal information not required in the U.S., such as your birthdate, marital status, nationality, and a personal photo. Do your research! 

For a complete handout of Curriculum Vitae information, click here.

If you have specific questions or concerns, contact a career coach via email or phone.