The Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is a cumulative record of professional achievements, academic preparation, and qualifications in your discipline. It primarily focuses on research and teaching, as well as papers, presentations, awards, and professional contributions. Your CV is one of the most important parts of an application for academic jobs, it can be organized to highlight specific skills, or your understanding of the needs of a particular position institution or organization. We’ve developed the following guide for developing and producing your CV.

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Developing a CV

A CV is a multi-purpose, perpetually unfinished document. Since a CV is a cumulative record of your academic accomplishments and it’s used for a variety of purposes, it’s always evolving – you’ll create new categories and add recent accomplishments; there is never a final version.

You might wonder, how is it different than a resume? A resume is used for non-academic positions. It is carefully tailored to the employer you are addressing: outside of academia. A resume is usually shorter, and includes skills, outcomes and accomplishments related to a specific job.

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Uses for the CV

While the CV is an essential academic job search document, it also has many uses beyond the faculty job search. A CV may also be used for:

  • Grant/fellowship applications
  • Summer positions
  • Academic jobs
  • Research positions in industry
  • Merit or tenure review
  • Publications
  • Speaking engagements
  • Consulting
  • Awards
  • Leadership positions
  • Sabbatical opportunities

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Getting Started

The first thing to know about CV development is that while there is no standard format, there are different conventions for every discipline. It is important to consult with faculty, students, and other colleagues to understand what is expected in your field. Don’t get committed to one version or format! You may wish to focus your CV for a specific job or grant for which you are applying. As a result, you may find that you develop several versions of your CV. When drafting a CV, keep the following questions in mind:

  • A CV is a targeted document: why are you using the CV?
  • Type of institution matters: is it all about research, or do they care mostly about your teaching?
  • Who is the reader? What do you know about the needs or interests of the employer?
  • Length will vary with accomplishments, and purpose of CV use.
  • Create new versions, with new categories, as your career progresses.

CareerLAB Resources & Sample CVs

There is no need to reinvent the wheel! You can consult our collection of successful sample CVs here. Feel free to ask junior faculty (most recently on the job market) and colleagues to get an idea of the various formats that are common in your field. There is no reason to hire anyone to write a CV for you. However, you should start a file ASAP so you can add items as they occur and revise it regularly –– that way you will always have an up-to-date document. CareerLAB has trained experts to help with CV’s, cover letters and reseumés, or any other documents related to your job search and career development, come see us during our weekly walk-ins or make an appointment via Handshake!

Online Resources