How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Job
Are you working on a curriculum vitae? Not sure what to include? Here's information on why, when, and how to use a CV, when to use a resume vs. a curriculum vitae, CV writing and formatting guidelines, the differences between U.S. and international CVs, and examples.
When to Use a Curriculum Vitae
When should job seekers use a curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a CV, rather than a resume? In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions.
It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.
When seeking a job in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, expect to submit a CV rather than a resume. Keep in mind that overseas employers often expect to read the type of personal information on a curriculum vitae that would never be included on an American resume, such as date of birth, nationality, marital status, and place of birth. United States law governing what information job applicants can be asked to provide does not apply outside the country.
What to Include in a CV
There are several differences between a curriculum vitae and a resume. A curriculum vitae is a longer (two or more pages), more detailed synopsis of your background and skills. As with a resume, you may need different versions of a CV for different types of positions.
Like a resume, a curriculum vitae should include your name, contact information, education, skills, and experience.
In addition to these basics, however, a CV also includes research and teaching experience, publications, presentations, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses, awards and honors, and other information relevant to the position you are applying for.
Start by making a list of all your background information, then organize it into categories.
Make sure you include dates on all the publications you list.
Personal Information to Include in an International CV
- Marital status
- Number of children (ages optional)
- Personal interests like hobbies
- All education including high school / secondary school
- Photos are also recommended (professional headshot is best)
Date of Birth on CVs
Some countries outside the United States expect you to include your date of birth on your CV. If you are applying to a foreign job, research the particular country’s protocol for job applications.
If you are using a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to apply for a job in the United States, due to current laws regarding age discrimination, you cannot be required to include your date of birth on your curriculum vitae.
Customize Your Curriculum Vitae
Once you have made a list of the information you want to include, it's a good idea to create a custom curriculum vitae that specifically highlights the experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It takes more time to write a custom CV, but it's worth the effort – especially when you are applying for jobs that are a good match for your skills and experience.
- Use accomplishment-oriented bullets that start with an action verb and include a result.
- Start with a Professional Profile (also called a Summary) that highlights the best of what you as a candidate are offering.
- Edit content to include those areas of expertise, skills, and knowledge that specifically match the job requirements; not all the details of your education and employment history (work, research, fellowships, etc.) may be relevant.
- Carefully rank and organize the sections of your resume according to what the institution you are applying for is seeking. For example, if you are applying to a university where research is emphasized, you should begin your list of publications on page one, right after your initial professional profile. If, on the other hand, you know that teaching is valued over publication by the department, you’ll want to give your professional career history pride of place on the first page.
Review CV Samples and Writing Tips
It's often helpful to take a look at a sample or two before you start writing. These sample CVs form a helpful guide of what to include in your CV, tips for writing it, and how to format it.
When to Use a Curriculum Vitae Instead of a Resume
In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions. A curriculum vitae can also be used to apply for fellowships or grants. In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect to receive a curriculum vitae rather than a resume. Here’s more information about when to use a curriculum vitae instead of a resume.