Curricula vitae (CVs)
In the United States, curricula vitae (CVs) are used to apply for teaching or research opportunities, fellowships, further academic training, grants, contract funding proposals, tenure, promotion to professor positions, and membership in a professional society or organization. To get help with your CV, schedule an appointment to see one of our career advisors.
Note: In the United States, the term “resume” is used for industry and other non-academic positions. In some international settings, the term “CV” is used for all opportunities – however, you should tailor your document based on position type.
Curriculum vitae (CV) vs. Resume
Main document for experiences
Employer values in the search
|Comprehensive scholarly record||Brevity, relevance, value added, efficiency; typically 1-2 pages (2 for PhDs or for those with more experience)|
|Research, publishing, teaching, mentoring, grants||Varies based on position (example skills: analytical, interpersonal, teamwork)|
Additional documents & tools
|See faculty application materials||Cover letter, LinkedIn profile|
Develop your CV strategically
You should have two CVs: an authoritative CV with all information, and a tailored CV, written for a specific position or opportunity. In developing your CV, keep the following tips in mind.
- Make your 3-4 most notable skills, achievements, and knowledge areas leap off the page for readers. This can be done by putting the most related items to the opportunity higher up on your CV.
- Keep your audience in mind. How technically savvy are they? Will they understand the vocabulary of your field? What are they looking for? What will they find interesting about you?
- Material you present early in your CV is likely to stand out more than material placed later. (An exception is that publications are often at the end).
Formatting your CV
There is no single correct format or style for writing a CV – think about making it easy for your readers to skim and find the information they are looking for. Use a consistent format throughout, use an easy to read font, and make good use of descriptive section headings, subheadings, and white space to guide your reader. You can also see example CVs and have your CV reviewed by a CAPD career advisor.
Typically, CVs are longer than resumes. Unlike a resume, it is appropriate to describe both teaching and research experience in detail. If applying for a position that primarily involves research, describe research experience first; if the reverse is true, put teaching experience first. When describing your experience, include the goal, your contributions, and the impact/result of your contributions.
Completeness is more important than brevity. The length is typically 2 to 4 pages for a younger professional, 4 to 7 pages for a person with more experience.
CV sections and headings
Headings can be located and titled strategically. Determine what is of primary importance, and put that section first.
Common CV headings
- Name & Contact Information
- Research Experience
- Teaching Experience
- Mentoring Experience
- Other Professional Experience, e.g., Industry Experience, Government Experience
Additional CV headings (if applicable)
- Professional Associations
- Leadership & Service Activities
- Research Interests
- Teaching Interests
- Outreach Activities
- Works in Progress
- Skills – may include subcategories such as Computer, Languages, Lab Instrumentation
- Other – could include relevant global /field experience, and personal interests
Including work or professional experience
In an academic CV, you can choose whether to include other non-academic work experience depending on the opportunity you are applying for. If your work experience is not directly relevant to your academic interests, are there skills you gained that make the experience worth including? Work experience may take a number of forms in your CV. You may describe your experience briefly or list it without description.
- List publications in reverse chronological order.
- Use the citation style of your field
- Put your name in bold to highlight your authorship
- Can create separate categories to add clarity: “Publications,” “Book Chapters”, etc.
- Can list “Works in Press” or “Works in Progress” to show up-and-coming research
- Conference presentations should include: Title, Name of conference or event, Location, Date
- Can use sub-headings: “Invited Talks,” “Posters”, etc.
Short citation format: patent number, title, and date issued
Example: U.S. Patent 9755095, “Method and structure for multicell devices without physical isolation,” Mar 14, 2014
Full citation format:
- US Patent 7482171, “Angiotensin converting enzyme homolog and uses therefore,” Feb 16, 2005
Inventors: Acton, Susan (Lexington, MA), Robison, Keith E. (Wilmington, MA), Hsieh, Frank Y. (Lexington, MA)
- US Patent 7268218, “Cardiovascular system associated protein kinase 3 (CSAPK-3) antibodies,” Feb 25, 2004
Inventor: Acton, Susan (Lexington, MA)
- US Patent 7078511, “Class B1 and C1 scavenger receptors,” Jan 4, 1996
Inventors: Krieger, Monty (Needham, MA), Acton, Susan (Somerville, MA)
If a patent is pending, it may be included but must be designated as pending either under a separate category or within a ‘Patents and Patent Applications’ category and then designated as such(e.g. “US Patent Application 4564848…)