Do you need to write a curriculum vitae? A curriculum vitae, commonly known as a CV, is an alternative to writing a resume to apply for a job. CVs are most commonly used in academia, research, and medicine—not to mention for most jobs outside of the United States.
While a resume is typically only a page or two in length, a CV is more detailed and therefore longer, often containing more information about academic achievements than a resume
CVs vary depending on your field and experience, but there are a number of general format and style guidelines you can follow when creating a CV.
There are also certain sections most people include in their CVs, as well as optional sections.
Learn how to format your curriculum vitae and what to include. Review CV tips and use the format example as a template for your own CV.
Curriculum Vitae Formatting Tips
CV Length: While resumes are generally one page long, most CVs are at least two pages long, and often much longer.
Font Choice and Font Size: There's no need to use ornate fonts that are difficult to read; Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or fonts like these are best. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points, although your name and the section headings can be a little larger and/or bolded.
Format: However you decide to organize the sections of your CV, be sure to keep each section uniform. For example, if you put the name of one organization in italics, every organization name must be in italics. If you include a sentence or two about your accomplishments in a particular position, fellowship, etc., make a bulleted list of each accomplishment. This will keep your CV organized and easy to read.
Accuracy: Be sure to edit your CV before sending it. Check spelling, grammar, tenses, names of companies and people, etc.
What to Include in Your CV
Not all CVs look the same. You may choose to include only some of these sections because others do not apply to your background or your industry. Include what seems appropriate for your area of specialty. Here's an overview of what to include in a CV:
Your CV should vary in style and content based on the position and the organization you are applying to.
Contact Information: At the top of your CV, include your name and contact information (address, phone number, email address, etc.). Outside of the US, many CVs include even more personal information, such as gender, date of birth, marital status, and even the names of children. Unless you are applying to a job outside of the United States, there's no need to include that information.
Education: This may include college and graduate studies. Include the school attended, dates of study, and degree received.
Honors and Awards: Feel free to list your dean's list standings, departmental awards, scholarships, fellowships, and membership in any honors associations.
Thesis/Dissertation: Include your thesis or dissertation title. You may also include a brief sentence or two on your paper, and/or the name of your advisor.
Research Experience: List any research experience you have, including where you worked, when, and with whom. Include any publications resulting from your research.
Work Experience: List relevant work experience, including non-academic work that you feel is related. List the employer, position, and dates of employment. Include a brief list of your duties and/or accomplishments.
Teaching Experience: List any teaching positions you have held. Include the school, course name, and semester. You may also include any other relevant tutoring or group leadership experience.
Publications and Presentations: List any publications you have written, co-written, or contributed to. Include all necessary bibliographic information. You should also include any pieces you are currently working on. Include papers you presented at conferences and/or associations: list the name of the paper, the conference name and location, and the date.
Professional Memberships: List any professional associations to which you belong. If you are a board member of the association, list your title.
Extracurricular Activities: Include any volunteer or service work you have done, as well as any clubs or organizations to which you have belonged.
You can also include any study abroad experiences here if you have not already mentioned them.
Curriculum Vitae Format
Your Contact Information
Optional Personal Information
This information is not included in U.S. CVs. It may be requested in other countries.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
List in chronological order, include position details and dates.
Research and Training
Include dates, majors, and details of degrees, training, and certification.
High School (Depending on the country)
Certifications and Accreditations
Curriculum Vitae Template
This is an example of a curriculum vitae. Download the curriculum vitae template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Curriculum Vitae Example (Text Version)
42 Oak Drive, Center City, Indiana, 46278
Ph.D., History, University of Center City, 2020
Dissertation: “Traveling West: A History of the Railroad, 1850-1900”
Dissertation Advisors: William James (first reader), Tatiana Ayole (second reader)
M.A., History, University of Center City, 2017
Dissertation: “The Golden Spike: The Role of the Railroads in the Industrial Revolution”
Dissertation Advisor: John Murray
B.A., American Studies, Rogers College, 2012
Graduated Summa Cum Laude
HONORS AND AWARDS
Best Dissertation Award, University of Center City, 2020
Received award for best dissertation in the humanities. Three awards are given each year to Ph.D. graduates in humanities, physical sciences, and social & behavioral sciences.
James Doe Award, University of Center City, 2019
Given to the graduate student who earned the highest GPA in their school.
Phi Beta Kappa, Invited Junior Year at Rogers College, 2011
Dean’s List, Rogers College, 2009-2012
"The Role of the Railroad in the Development of Philadelphia, 1840-1860.” Journal of American History and Technology. Vol. 71, no. 8 (Spring 2020): 88-101.
“Book Review: Michael Weston’s Travels through Philadelphia.” Philadelphia History Journal. Vol. 71, no 2 (Fall 2019): 121-123.
Instructor, University of Center City, 2018-Present
- American History, 1865-Present
- History of Technology
Teaching Assistant, University of Center City, 2016-2018
- World History
- Popular Culture in America
“The Rise of the Easton Railroad Company.” History of America Conference. Philadelphia, PA, 2020.
“The Railroad in American Literature.” American Railroad History Conference. Trenton, NJ, 2019.
President, University of Center City Graduate Student Association, 2020
Conference Organizer, Graduate History Conference, University of Center City, 2018
Co-organizer, Center City Cares, University of Center City Outreach Program, 2017
American Historians Organization
Organization of American Technology
English: Native Language
Spanish: Fluent, Advanced Reading and Writing
Mandarin: Novice Speaker
Microsoft Office, WordPress, Google Analytics, Social Media
Tips for Writing Your CV
Be Sure a CV Is the Right Choice for You: Depending on the job opening and your work history, a CV may or may not be the best way to highlight your skills and experience. For example, if your experience fits on one page, a resume may be a better choice.
Review Sample Curriculum Vitae Before Writing: If you're starting your CV from scratch, review curriculum vitae samples first and use a template to structure your writing. Be sure to personalize your CV to reflect your unique experience and qualifications.
Write a Custom Curriculum Vitae for Every Job Opening: Yes, it takes more time than simply sending a generic CV – but it’s worth it. Write a custom CV highlighting the skills and work experience that make you an ideal fit for the role, and you’ll improve your chances of getting the interview.
Printing Your CV: If you plan on using a paper copy of your CV, be sure to print it on a high-quality resume paper. Using paper that is of better quality helps to portray your professionalism.