The Curriculum Vitae

The 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, and it should be organized to highlight specific skills and your understanding of the needs of the particular position institution or organization to which you are applying.

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 is always evolving along with you, as you add new activities and accomplishments to your dossier; there is never a final version.

How is a CV different from a resume? A resumé is carefully tailored, skills-based document designed for the non-academic job search. A CV is a detailed record of your academic credentials, as well as an in-depth list of the activities, accomplishments, and professional development you have undertaken within the purview of your academic career.

Uses for the CV

While the CV is an essential academic job search document, it also has many applications beyond the faculty job search. It will also commonly required 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

Getting Started

The first thing to know about the CV is that while there is no standard format; there are different conventions for every discipline. You should consult with faculty, students, and other colleagues to understand what the standards are for your field. Try not to get too attached to one single version or format –– you may wish to tailor your CV for a specific job or grant application, and develop different versions for different purposes. 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: are they focused on 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. More is not always better.
  • Always be updating – you should add new categories and items as your career progresses.

CareerLAB Resources & Sample CVs

There is no need to reinvent the wheel! Consult our collection of successful sample CVs, ask junior faculty (most recently on the job market) and colleagues in your department to get a feel for what works best in your field. There is no reason to hire anyone to write a CV for you.

If you haven’t already, you should start a file right away, add items as you go and revise it regularly so you always have an up-to-date document. Remember, CareerLAB has trained experts to help with CVs or other job search documents.

Online Resources