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Career Exploration

Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vita is a concise overview of your educational and scholarly background and accomplishments as they relate to your academic career goals.

When to Use a CV

In academia, the CV is the foundation of applications for employment, funding, honors/awards, and/or fellowships. PhD's, MFA's, and Master's degree holders pursuing teaching or research positions in university or college settings submit a CV. For most ABDs and recent PhDs 2-4 pages is the typical length, but it may be longer if experience warrants.

Keys to a Well-Constructed CV

There are general standards for an academic CV but no prescribed format, and there are different conventions for every discipline. Before you start, it is important to consult with members of your department about unique features for your field.

Organized
  • Present your information in a manner that highlights what is most relevant and pulls the reader's eye directly to it.
  • Put the most important information on the first page. Place your name and page number at the top of other pages.
  • Never use a prescribed template for your CV, but rather, organize your vita according to categories that are relevant to your specific qualifications and the interests of your potential employers.
Clear
  • Use concise and unambiguous language. Do not distract the reader from the important information with awkward phrasing or verbose sentences.
Consistent
  • Grammar, spacing, formatting, and fonts (use 10-12 point).
Accurate
  • Everything on your CV should be completely true. Even the slightest discrepancy can be damaging.
  • Proofread! Don’t rely on spell-check. Ask others to read it before sending it out.

What to Include

The categories in your CV can be arranged in many different ways to highlight the parts of your background or experience you most wish to emphasize. Use category titles that work for you and your specific situation. Use action-oriented statements to describe accomplishments and results of your work.

Contact information (should always go first)
  • Name, address, phone number, email, web address. Include both personal and department addresses.
Educational background
  • Begin with your degree in progress and list all institutions, city and state, degrees and completion dates (month/year) in reverse chronological order. Include dissertation title and committee chair.
Certification(s)
  • List all areas of certification relevant to the position, including type and year.
Honors, awards and fellowships
  • Include all relevant academic awards/recognitions and dates received in reverse chronological order.
  • Only include relevant or exceptional undergraduate honors.
  • A good place to list research related and dissertation supported grants, fellowships, awards and patents.
Teaching experience
  • Include all full time, part-time, adjunct, or teaching assistant positions in reverse chronological order.
  • List title, dates, institution, city and state.
  • Include relevant information about course title (not number), level, number of students, and your responsibilities (lectured, created syllabus, held office hours, graded exams, etc.).
  • Highlight courses introduced or innovative teaching methods.
Research experience
  • May include dissertation and possibly undergraduate or internship research or independent study.
  • Include your position title, department, university, city and state, dates (month/year – month/year).
  • Describe the project, your role, and any particular outcomes, accomplishments or skills developed.
Publications
  • Journal articles, books, chapters, magazine articles, papers presented, workshops, magazine articles.
  • Work currently under submission, work in progress.
  • Poems, recitals, exhibits may also be included.
Presentations
  • List all talks you have given including the names/dates and locations where presented.
Professional training/development
  • Include any special training you received. May include professional meetings, courses on teaching techniques, professional seminars, technical training completed.
Languages
  • List languages you can read or speak and level of expertise (i.e. native, proficient, reading knowledge, fluent, working knowledge).
Other relevant skills
  • Lab techniques/equipment, computer programs and languages, technology and other technical skills.
Related experience
  • Any experiences related to teaching, research, administration (i.e. conference organizing, tutoring, volunteer work, committee work).
Research Interests
  • Topics/areas that you are interested in and plan to pursue in your research agenda over your career.
Professional affiliations/service
  • Names of organizations, dates, and any positions held.
References
  • List full name, title, institutional address, telephone, email, fax.
  • Be sure your references know they are listed and have a copy of your CV.
Do not include
  • Personal information such as age, sex, marital status, race, ethnic background, or religion.

Getting Feedback on Your CV

It is important to obtain input from your dissertation chair and/or committee members. They often sit on hiring committees and can provide valuable feedback on an effective CV for your field.

CDS staff will also provide you with feedback during drop-in hours.

Keep Your CV Current

Your CV is always a work in progress. Keep it current. Create new categories, add accomplishments and re-organize as appropriate. You never know when an opportunity will present itself for you to be considered for an award, position, grant or other professional opportunity where there is an urgent deadline. Don’t eliminate yourself from consideration because of an outdated CV.