When to Use a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

If you are considering positions in academia (teaching and research) or industry (research departments), you are generally asked to provide a curriculum vitae (CV) instead of a resume. Your CV will highlight your educational and professional experiences when applying for academic (faculty), research positions, academic postdoctoral research opportunities, grants, and fellowships. Keep in mind the purpose is also to have the hiring committee interested in interviewing you. Therefore, be selective in your accomplishments to show you are a strong candidate for the job, department, and institution.

CVs vary from discipline to discipline. It is recommended to reference the CVs of others in your field (fellow grad students, postdocs in your lab, new faculty in your department) and have your advisor review them. The CV is focused on expertise and provides a complete summary of your academic achievements. The typical CV length is 2-3 pages, with additional pages highlighting your career and academic successes. Standard CV sections include Education, Teaching Experience, Research Experience, Honors and Awards, Professional/Volunteer Experience, Publications, Presentations, Scholarly/Professional Affiliations, Research Interests, Extracurricular Activities, Licensing/Registration/Certifications, Grants/Fellowships, University Service, Technical Skills, and References.

The organization or layout of your CV should reflect your experience in reverse chronological order (list most recent experience first, and then go back in time) and put the essential information on the first few pages. As a general rule, whatever is most critical merits the most space. Make sure your CV is clear and concise. Always remember that every CV should include information about your education and relevant professional experience. Lastly, if you apply for positions in different institutions or departments, you will probably need more than one version of your CV.

View our guide on Effective Resumes, CVs, Cover Letters and LinkedIn Profiles to see a sample CV.