What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is a resume used to apply for academic teaching or research positions. In countries outside the U.S. it is common to hear the term CV, a word to refer to what Americans call a resume. Each country has different expectations for what is required in a CV, so it is important to research the country specifically.

Like a resume, your CV will summarize your education, experience and accomplishments targeted to a specific job. Academic CV’s differ from resumes in the additional material they include and their focus on research and teaching; international CV’s often include more personal information and greater detail than American resumes. American CV’s focus on the “3 Pillars of the Academy: ResearchTeaching and Service.”

Writing a CV

The order in which information on a CV is presented often depends on the conventions of your field; your advisor is the best source for that information. However, every CV should begin with contact information, education and dissertation topic. The order that follows depends on your strengths and the nature of the job you are targeting.

Common CV categories

Contact Information

In addition to your name, address, email address and telephone number, it is recommended that you include the institutional address and department on the CV to demonstrate your continued affiliation with the university. Include your name at the top of every page.


For graduate students and PhDs with less than two or three years of experience beyond your degree, your educational background comes next because it is your primary qualification. List your degrees in reverse chronological order.


The topic of your dissertation and the reputation of your advisors are credentials. Include a two to five line description of the work and the name of your advisor and the members of your thesis committee.


List your awards in reverse chronological order.

Publications, Presentations and Folders

List your awards in reverse chronological order.

Professional Licenses or Certifications

Organizations where you are a member and offices or committee memberships, if any.

Teaching Experience

You may wish to add some specific detail about your teaching experience, including:

  • Run sections and labs
  • Grade problem sets, papers and exams
  • Give lectures to the whole class (what percent of all lectures)
  • Influence the content of the syllabus (what degree of input)

Research Interests

These should appear in reverse chronological order.

  • Works in Progress: Work currently underway but not ready to send out for publication.
  • Research Interests: Areas of interest and future research topics.

Professional Affiliations

Organizations where you are a member and offices or committee memberships, if any.

Professional Training

Courses or seminars attended on topics such as pedagogy, quantitative methods, computer applications, or other areas related to your work.

Other Professional Experience

Include additional experience if it is somehow related to the desired position.

Professional Service

List committee assignments, appointed or elected academic positions and other service organizations or groups you participated in.


Use a separate page, and include all useful contact information: address, phone, fax, and email.

Online Resources

Target Your CV

Target your CV to each specific job by placing what is most relevant to the job you are applying for at the top. For example, recent graduates seeking a teaching position should put their teaching experience at the top. For each position, list tasks performed, outcomes, and achievements, emphasizing those requiring the highest level of skill. Begin each phrase with an action verb and avoid passive phrases like “responsibilities include.” Quantify your accomplishments when possible, e.g., “increased tutored student averages by one letter grade,” “lectured over 150 students weekly,” “maintained average caseload of 85.”