Formatting Tips for Your Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae sits on a desk for review
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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 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.

Here are tips for both how to format your curriculum vitae and what to include. Review these tips and use the format example as a template for your own CV.

Curriculum Vitae Format Example

Your Contact Information:
Name
Address
Telephone
Cell Phone
Email

Optional Personal Information
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Citizenship
Visa Status
Gender
Marital Status
Spouse's Name
Children

Employment History
List in chronological order, include position details and dates
Work History
Academic Positions
Research and Training

Education
Include dates, majors, and details of degrees, training and certification 
High School
University
Graduate School
Post-Doctoral Training

Professional Qualifications
Certifications and Accreditations

Computer Skills

Awards

Publications

Books

Professional Memberships

Interests

Curriculum Vitae Formatting Quick 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 similar to 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. Have a friend or career services counselor check over your CV as well.

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.

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 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 study. 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.

Skills: List any relevant skills you have not yet mentioned so far, like language skills, computer skills, administrative skills, etc.

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.

Thinking Through 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.