What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is also referred to as a vita, vitae, or detailed resume. A CV is a summary of your educational and professional experience. Search committees use a CV as an initial screening device to see if applicants possess the qualifications necessary for the available position. A CV sometimes differs from a resume in name only. However, a CV is most commonly used to apply for positions in higher education and therefore focuses on experience and accomplishments related to academics and education. A resume is more commonly used in settings outside academia. A resume is usually briefer and focuses on skills and accomplishments related to professional experience.

What to Include in a Curriculum Vitae

Ordering of Category Headings

The ordering of category headings will differ depending on the type of position for which you are applying. In general, the CV should read most relevant to least relevant. For example, if you are applying for a position requiring more research responsibilities, research-related information should appear toward the beginning of your CV. Categories may include:  

  • Heading: Name, Phone Number, Email address
  • Education
  • Dissertations and/or Theses
  • Honors and Awards
  • Teaching and Research Experience/Interests
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Academic and Professional Affiliations
  • Professional Work Experience
  • Community Involvement/Volunteer Experience
  • Military Experience
  • Languages

What NOT to Include

  • Personal: Health, physical appearance, marital status, children, age, etc.
  • Logistical: Geographical preference, date available, reason for changing jobs, salary requirements

Appearance and Formatting

Length: A 1-3 page CV is appropriate for recent graduates. The length of your CV corresponds to the amount of experience you have, and what information is most relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Spacing: Make sure there is adequate space between sections so the CV is readable. The size of your margins should also be consistent (between .5 inch and 1.0 inch).  

Be Concise: Use concise, active language to describe your activities. Avoid complete sentences and "I" statements.

Make it Your Own: This handout can serve to lay the groundwork for your CV. Experiment with different formatting and styles to come up with a CV that gets your message across in the manner you prefer.