How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is more than a resume – it is a detailed look at your career path, including your achievements, publications and awards. A CV should be used when applying for positions in academia or to science- or research-oriented industry jobs. In some European countries such as the UK, a CV is the standard for all types of job applications. (To find out whehter a CV is preferred in another country, check the Career Guide for that country on Going Global.)

The principal difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is typically two or more pages and includes more comprehensive information about a candidate’s research background, presentations, publications, committee memberships and other experience of an academic, clinical, or scientific nature. Resumes are narrower and more tailored, while a CV is more detailed and does not exclude any professional experience.

Step 1: Choose a Format

Select a simple and appealing format for your CV. Avoid borders, colors, images or graphics, as these tend to be difficult for automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to read. Our basic formatting suggestions are below.

Header

  • Center name at top of page and make it two font sizes larger than the rest of the text
  • Use a professional-sounding e-mail address that you check often; remove the hyperlink
  • May include both current and permanent addresses, if desired
  • Optional: Include your LinkedIn profile URL

Body

  • Font: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman (same font throughout)
  • Font size: 10-11 point
  • Margins:  .5 to 1 inch, all sides
  • Page Numbers: In general, CVs tend to be longer than resumes, ranging in length from two to ten pages. Be sure to include your name and page number on each page after the first page.
  • Use consistent formatting for dates throughout (e.g., 2/18, Feb. 2018, February 2018)
  • Consider aligning all dates on the right side of your document
  • Use bullet points to give relevant details and explanation of your experiences
  • Bullet point style and formatting should match throughout
  • Bullet points in a CV typically do not use a period because they are usually not complete sentences
  • Within each section, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
  • Consider using bold and all caps for HEADINGS in the body of your CV
  • Consider using bold for Names of Degrees and Position Titles
  • Consider using italics for Name of Organization, City, and State

Step 2: Collect and Fill in Information

Make a list of all your teaching experience, research experience, work experience, awards and scholarships, study abroad and training programs, professional associations, publications, presentations, technical skills, languages, education, and certifications. Use exact names for degrees, programs, organizations and titles.

Review the position description and determine the skills and experience the employer is seeking. Order sections of your CV from highest to lowest priority based on position description.

Remember that sections are flexible and can be combined to tell your unique story. Information within each section should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent listed first.

Education (required)

  • Generally at the top of your CV
  • Degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.) and month/year of graduation, University, and location
  • Major(s), minor(s), and any concentration(s) within your major(s) or minor(s) if applicable
  • Optional: if you’ve completed a thesis, list the title of the thesis and your advisor’s name or committee members’ names
  • Optional: list relevant awards and honors that you earned for academics

Licensure (if applicable)

  • Title of licensure
  • Granting organization
  • Expected date and/or expiration date
  • Optional: include license number

Certifications (if applicable)

  • Title of certificate
  • Granting organization
  • Expected date and/or expiration date

Honors, Awards, Fellowships (if applicable)

  • Name of Honor, Award, Fellowship, granting organization, and year
  • Include a brief overview of the honor/award/fellowship

Research or Teaching Interests (if applicable)

  • Share a few of your research or teaching interests, and be prepared to talk about them in future interviews

Experience (required)

If the position focuses on teaching, list your teaching experience first. If the position focuses on research, put your research experience first.

Teaching Experience

  • Always include job title (e.g. lecturer, teaching assistant, instructor, etc.), dates, name of organization, and location
  • Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
  • Do not list course numbers
  • Do include what population of students you taught (e.g. undergraduate, graduate), number of students, and the class format (e.g. online, hybrid, or in-person)

Research Experience

  • Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
  • Helpful to give a very brief overview of the research project
  • Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
  • Helpful to give a brief overview of demonstration scientific techniques used and/or advanced technical skills

Clinical Experience

  • List specialization, number of hours, month and year, organization, and location of relevant clinical rotations in reverse chronological order
  • Bullet points should focus on advanced responsibilities and accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Work Experience

  • Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
  • Demonstrate skills gained and accomplishments achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for

Publications and Presentations (optional)

  • Depending on the number you have of each, you might want to break this into two sections
  • Important to use consistent formatting (MLA, APA, or other)
  • Helpful to bold your name within the citation
  • List publications and presentations in reverse-chronological order
  • Optional: list articles or papers that are in progress and will likely be published

Institutional Service (optional)

  • Committee(s) service: role, dates, name of organization, name of committee, and location

Community Service (optional)

  • Choose quality over quantity in this section
  • Only include experiences where you developed skills relevant to the position
  • Always include role, dates, name of organization, and location

Professional Membership(s) (optional)

  • List name of organization, years of participation, and any leadership roles

Skills (optional)

  • List specialized and/or technical skills

References (recommended)

  • We recommend listing contact information for three to six individuals
  • Contact Information: Name, Title, Department, Organization, Mailing Address, Email, and Phone Number
  • Ask for each person’s permission prior to listing them as a reference

Step 3: Carefully Review Your CV

Since CVs involve a lot of detail and careful formatting, mistakes are easy to make. Before you consider it final, meticulously review the content and formatting of your CV and search carefully for typographical errors. If possible, have your faculty, principal investigator, advisors, committee members, or career coach conduct a final check. It might help to have a person from your industry look over your CV as well.

Want a second opinion?

Come to walk-in hours to review your CV with a career coach.