How to Write a CV

A curriculum vitae (CV) is an account of a person's education, qualifications, and previous experiences. In the United States, the CV is used almost exclusively when pursuing an academic position; it reflects the developments in a faculty–researcher’s career and should be updated frequently. To stay on top of new developments, you should treat your CV as a living document.

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

The key differences between a CV and a resume are length and purpose. CVs are often three or more pages used to construct your scholarly identity. Your CV should demonstrate your abilities as a teacher, researcher, and scholar.

A resume and a CV also differ in focus and format.

  Resume CV
Focus Emphasizes skills relevant to the position Emphasizes academic accomplishments
Use When applying for positions in industry, nonprofit, and public sectors When applying for positions in academia, research fellowships, and grants
Length No longer than two pages Depends on experience and the number of publications, posters, and presentations; often three pages or more
Format Education section can be included at the top or bottom Education section is always at the top (including advisor’s name, dissertation title, and a summary)

What should a CV include?

  • Your name and contact information
  • An overview of your education
  • Your academic and related employment (especially teaching, editorial, or administrative experience)
  • Your research projects (including conference papers and publications)
  • Your departmental and community service
  • Other skills

What should I highlight?

Relevant experiences

The focus of your CV should reflect the specific position you're applying for. For example:

  • If you are applying to a research university, emphasize your research projects, conference presentations, and publications.
  • If you are applying to a liberal arts college or community college, emphasize your teaching experience.

Consider maintaining multiple versions of your CV to make it easier to apply for different positions as they come available.

Quantify your experience

Include examples that have statistics and numbers. For example:

  • If you were in faculty leadership, highlight how you increased Praxis passage rates by X% over 3 years.
  • If you were a clinic director, highlight how you implemented new processes that increased productivity by X% in the first 5 years.

Concise and specific examples

Don't just list your past job duties; instead, highlight specific experiences that will help the employer understand the type of teacher, researcher, and scholar you are. This can be achieved with a strong summary of your experience with quantifiable examples and details that focus on your professional strengths.

These descriptions should be short and concise with no vague or embellished statements.

Your goal should be to provide the most helpful information that will clearly demonstrate your qualifications for the position.