What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is a document used to apply for academic teaching or research positions, grants or fellowships, or additional academic training. In countries outside the U.S., it is common to hear the term CV, applied to the document Americans would call a resume. Each country has different expectations for what is required in a CV, so it is important to research the country and learn about their expectations. See GoinGlobal for country-specific guidelines and examples.

Like a resume, your CV will summarize your education, experiences, and accomplishments as they relate to a specific job posting. Academic CVs differ from resumes in the additional material they include and their focus on the “three pillars of the academy: research, teaching, and service.”

Writing a CV

Every CV should begin with your contact information, education, and dissertation topic. The order that follows depends on your strengths, the nature of the job you are targeting, and the conventions of your field. One of the best ways to understand discipline-specific practices is to ask for examples from advisors, mentors, and colleagues.

CV formats vary, but your document should have 1-inch margins on all sides. It should use a common font like Times or Times New Roman in size 11-12 point. To create a clean and professional style, use bolded ALL CAPS for headings, bold for subheadings, and avoid underlining. Italics should be used in bibliographic references as necessary according to the documentation style of your discipline.

CV Categories

The basic areas you need to cover include your contact information, education, research experience, teaching experience, publications, presentations, honors and awards, and the contact information of your references. All information within these categories should be listed in reverse chronological order.

You may wish to include other categories such as grants and fellowships, service to the profession, invited talks, non-academic work, professional memberships/affiliations, languages, community involvement/outreach, etc. Be strategic in your organization to make sure the most important information is listed on the first page.

Online Resources

  • Academic CV
  • GoinGlobal – Find guidelines and examples for International CVs at GoinGlobal available through NUworks. The link is in the career design menu on the left side of the screen under “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 position at a teaching-focused college or university might choose to list their teaching experience after their educational information.