Curricula Vitae (CVs)

In the United States and Canada, curriculum vitae (Latin for “the course of a life”), or “CV” in common parlance, refers to a document that describes an academic’s educational background and professional experience. It is often thought of as something like an academic’s résumé, with the important difference that the CV is typically comprehensive (and therefore long) and a resume is selective (and short). A copy of your CV will frequently be requested when applying for academic jobs, grants, or conferences. As with resumes, advice on CV’s varies. In addition to the guidelines below, we reccomend Purdue Online Writing Lab – Writing the Curriculum Vitae.

Key Aspects of a Curriculum Vitae:

  • Unlike a resume, there is no page limit.
  • Many acceptable formats are considered legitimate.
  • Make sure that the CV is in line with other CVs in the industry. Based upon scholastic field, CVs can look very different. A CV for a Music major pursuing a PhD in music performance might look very different from a History major. The music major may highlight competitions won, camps attended, and masterclasses received, whereas the history major may focus on teaching assistantships, major writings, and publications. Connecting with professionals in your field of interest can be helpful here! 

Recommended Sections of CV

  • Header
    • Name: must be largest font on page. 
    • Phone number, email address, actual address, and personal website (this is optional, but can be appropriate in certain fields).
  • Education
    • The Education must be on top, but after that, you can format based on relevance and emphasis. Include each institution attended in reverse chronological order. If desired, high school is acceptable. Other possibilities include GPA, Dean’s List, and Relevant Coursework. Note: If you decide to do a relevant coursework in the Education section, do NOT create a relevant coursework section. Redundancy should be avoided.
  • Research Experience
    • For anyone applying to Graduate School, especially in STEM, this is a must do. List institution worked with, then faculty advisor/fellow, then list the title; in this order. 
  • Relevant Professional Experience
    • Include paid positions in college/higher education.
  • Presentations
    • Presentations refers mostly to presenting at professional conferences
    • Formatting is crucial; list your name in bold, then those who worked with you, presentation topic, and date/place delivered 
    • Example: 

Your Name and Obama, B.H. Qualitative Cross-Examination of Wing Stop’s Atomic Flavor and why it is the best wing flavor. Poster presentation delivered at the Wing Enthusiasts’ Society in Atlanta, GA, December 2019.

  • Publications
    • Use the same format as Presentation: list your name in bold and title/topic
  • Teaching and Advising Experience
    • List by institution
  • Affiliations and Associations
    • Membership in any honor societies, etc.
  • References 
    • Highly recommended that all undergraduates have this
    • Often goes at the end of the CV
    • Include Name, Relation to you, Official Title, Email, and office phone (if possible) 
  • Grants and Awards
    • Add if applicable 
  • Research Interests
    • It is recommended that this is in the form of a statement. Write 2-3 clear and concise sentences that explain your interests. Proper grammar is required.