Writing a CV
Your CV is an academic autobiography. It may be 2, 3, or 5 pages, or even more, depending on your field. If you continue on to a position as a faculty member, it will grow.
CV formats and conventions will differ from field to field. As you prepare your materials, be sure to take a look at some examples from people in your program. Your program may even have a template that they can share with you—this is a good starting point.
Your CV will likely include the following sections:
- Name and Contact Information
- Honors and Fellowships
- Teaching/Research Experience
- Professional Memberships
Here are some additional categories people sometimes include on their CV:
- Professional Experience
- University Service
- Research/Teaching Interests
- Certifications/Professional Licensure
- Additional Information
There is no set order for the categories on a CV, but remember that your first page is the most important real estate. Put the things you really want to emphasize on the first page. Be sure to put your last name and page number on all pages beginning with page 2. If you’re currently in a degree program, “Education” will likely be the first category on your CV.
Formatting Your CV
Be consistent. What does this mean? It means that if your first heading is in bold, all caps, and ends with a colon (e.g, EDUCATION:), all of your headings need to look this way. It means that if you write your first date 05.2012-12.2012, all of your dates need to look this way.
Avoid sloppiness. Check repeatedly for spelling mistakes and formatting errors. If you are not a good editor of things like this, find someone who is and who can help you.
Use only one font, and chose one that is clear and readable. Using a font that is hard for a committee to read or one that is too cute might sink your candidacy.
- Penn Career Services sample CVs for graduate students and postdocs
- Harvard’s Graduate School for Arts and Science’s Office of Career Services sample CVs and cover letters
- University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center CV writing tips and sample CVs
- London School of Economics and Political Science sample CVs tailored for different opportunities
- UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development sample CVs for scientists
- “Composing the CV” by Teresa Magnum in Inside Higher Ed
- “Tips for a Successful CV” by Sarah Webb in Science magazine
- “Writing Effective CV’s and Resumes” by Katharine Brooks in Psychology Today
- “Academic CVs: 10 Irritating Mistakes” from The Guardian