Building Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)

What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae - or CV - is a document very similar to a resume but more comprehensive, containing multiple pages, outlining your entire work and academic history.  In Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, employers expect a CV. In the U.S., a CV is used primarily when applying for positions in academia (faculty positions) or science fields (research-intensive positions), fellowships, grants or awards.

General Tips

  • Use 10-12 point font size, with exception of name which can be larger
  • Use same font throughout (Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial recommended)
  • Use bolding, CAPs, italics to have words stand out, NO underlining
  • Make sure document is printed single-sided
  • Use one inch margins all around
  • Include your full name and page number on each page starting with page two
  • Do not use any graphics

Differences Between a CV and a Resume


CV - Two pages or more (as long as it needs to be)
Resume - typically one page, but can be two pages depending on experience


CV - includes area-specific listing of education, academic background, and experiences
Resume - all-inclusive summary of skills, experiences, and education


CV - detail background and qualifications
Resume - get a job/secure an interview

Your CV Should Be...

  • Clear: Be sure to organize the content in your CV so that it makes sense to those reading it.
  • Concise: Include those experiences that are relevant and necessary.
  • Complete: Make sure to include everything you need; don’t leave out important experiences.
  • Consistent: Be consistent in the styles or fonts that you use so that your CV comes across as professional.
  • Current: Make sure your CV is up-to-date.  You never know when you may need to produce it.

Categories to Include in a CV

Contact Information (Full name, address, email, and phone number(s))

Education (always first on a CV after contact information):

  • Most current education listed first
  • Institution, location, degree obtained, major, graduation month and year, GPA
  • Thesis/Dissertation titles listed

Honors and Awards:

  • Includes scholarships, fellowships, honors, distinctions, professional recognition, prizes
  • List most recent first
  • Honors/Award Title, date received
  • No descriptions

Research (if applicable):

  • List most current first
  • Make sure you include advisor, person you were working under
  • Include any grant funds that you received
  • Briefly describe positions


  • Can be divided into categories including Relevant Experience, Professional Experience, Teaching Experience, Other Experience, etc.
  • List most recent first
  • Includes anything you were paid to do
  • Include job titles, organization, location, dates, description
  • Description should be bulleted list

Extracurricular and Volunteer Experience:

  • List most recent first
  • Do not describe
  • Include student organizations
  • This list can get long… it’s better to have long-term items or very relevant items and a shorter list than everything listed

Publications and Presentations:

  • Publications include abstracts, scholarly works, books, chapters, editorial boards, professional papers, technical papers, refereed journal articles, editorial appointments, articles/monographs , and book reviews
  • Presentations include conference presentations, conference leadership, workshop presentations, invited lectures, lectures and colloquia
  • Generally in order of publication so you just add on new publications at the end, but can also be in order of most recent first
  • Always bold your name in authorship
  • Include submitted and/or pending publications or presentations
  • Presentations should be pertinent
  • Make sure to keep copies of your publications and/or presentations


  • Interests are hobbies
  • A list of four is a good target number


  • Name, title, address, email address, and phone number
  • Three to four references is sufficient

Additional Optional Categories:

Research Interests
Certifications and Licensure
Professional Affiliations
Foreign Study
Courses Taken
Laboratory Skills
Technical/Computer Skills

Complete Printable CV Guide