The curriculum vitae, also known as a CV or vita, is a comprehensive statement of your educational background and your teaching and research experience.
Review our video on the Principles of Strong Applications before constructing your CV.
Considerations for Writing a CV
- In general, the full CV will only be used when applying for academic positions in four-year institutions.
- The CV is not appropriate for community college applications; use a teaching-focused resume instead.
- You may find it useful to learn more about the institution’s size and demographics through the Carnegie Classifications in order to tailor your CV to the institution more effectively.
- Use standard font styles between 10-14 point in size.
- Clear and consistent formatting creates an easily readable document.
- Start bullet points with action verbs. A List of Action Verbs (PDF) is available on the second page of the handout.
- Describe and quantify experiences as much as possible.
- Include key words from the job description.
- Place the most important information at the top of the document.
- There are no length restrictions.
- Read closely for spelling and grammar mistakes.
While a number of subheadings are expected in a CV, you should strategically consider the content and order of each section. Your name and contact information must always appear at the top of your CV, followed by the Education section. Beyond that, arrange other sections according to their relevance to the position you are seeking and seek advice from advisers, professors, and others within your field.
- Name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address should always be placed at the top of a CV.
- If relevant, you may also include a fax number or URL of a professional website.
- Never include information about age, sex, race, marital status, or citizenship status on a CV.
- The next section on the CV is Education, regardless of how recently the individual graduated.
- List all institutions, locations, degrees, and graduation dates in reverse chronological order. If you are in the process of completing a degree, indicate your anticipated graduation date.
- Include your dissertation title and the name of your adviser and/or committee members.
- Include all full-time, part-time, and adjunct teaching experiences, listing your titles, dates of employment, and the name of each course taught.
- Since job titles and responsibilities vary by institution and even discipline, you should include a brief description of your responsibilities, including your level of involvement in the course design, preparation of materials, weekly instruction, and grading.
- Include graduate, postdoctoral, and possibly undergraduate and internship research credentials.
- If you are describing a research project, it is appropriate to give a brief statement indicating your objective and results, as well as listing the affiliated lab and/or professor.
Honors, Awards, Fellowships, and Grants
- List all relevant academic distinctions that you have received since entering undergraduate school, including teaching awards, fellowships, honors, and grants.
- Unless you are listing an extremely prestigious and widely known honor, be certain that you provide a context (e.g.: awarded to the top graduate English student in a department of seventy-five students).
- Include bibliographic citations of published scholarly articles, research reports, and book reviews.
- As your list grows, you may separate these items into subcategories such as “Articles in Refereed Journals,” “Book Reviews,” “Books,” etc.
- List articles accepted for publication as “forthcoming.”
- Use a citation format that is appropriate for your discipline.
- List all papers and talks you have given, or will deliver, along with the names, dates, and locations of the corresponding conferences or meetings.
- Use the documentation style consistent with your discipline.
- List the scholarly organizations in which you are a current member.
- List your activities on campus committees, national organizations, or planning symposia or events.
- Appropriate headings include “Professional Service,” “Scholarly Service,” and “University Service.”
- This is the final section on your CV.
- List names, titles, and contact information for 3-5 references.
- Avoid adding the line that states "References are available upon request" to your CV.
- Describe interests at a level that is specific enough to be credible but is general enough to allow for flexibility over the next several years in case your focus changes.
- Be prepared to discuss in detail anything you include in this section.
- This section may be particularly useful for fellowship applications, as it can help demonstrate your experience and fitness for the award.
- It isn’t used when applying for faculty positions.
- May be a separate section or incorporated into other sections.
- Emphasize experiences where you utilized skills relevant to the position for which you are applying, such as management or leadership experience.
- If you were not highly involved, you may consider listing it as a bullet point under education or not including it at all.
- Remember to keep your audience in mind when deciding which activities to include.
- You may wish to describe specific technical or laboratory skills, especially if you are applying for a postdoc.
- Include on your CV, particularly if they are relevant to your scholarship.
- Be certain to designate your level of skill (e.g.: fluent in Spanish, reading proficiency in German and Latin, basic skills in reading and speaking French).
- International travel (such as study-abroad programs) might also be mentioned in this section, if relevant to your research.
- Students in disciplines like anthropology often conduct extensive fieldwork. You may wish to include a fieldwork section to describe the location, dates, and nature of your ethnographic study. Be sure to also include funding sources, if relevant.
Performances (See Sample CV for DMAs (PDF).)
- If you are a student in the performing arts, listing your performance experience is a critical representation of your experience and suitability
- List all graduate and undergraduate performances. If you have community experience, definitely include those, too.
- Depending upon your experiences, you may wish to subdivide into sections such as “Master Classes and Private Instruction,” “Selected Chamber Music and Solo Experience,” “Orchestra Experience,” “Accompanying Experience,” “Music Festivals,” etc.