CV Guide

WHAT IS A CV? 

A Curriculum vitae or CV (sometimes also called a “vita”) is a Latin expression loosely translated as "course of life”.  This is in contrast to a resume (also resumé or résumé) from the French meaning “summary”. A resume is supposed to represent you as the best qualified candidate, demonstrate your "fit" for a position, and is used in an application process to get you an interview. A CV, on the other hand, presents a full history of your academic credentials, meaning its length is variable and includes almost every aspect of your academic experience.  

WHEN SHOULD I USE A CV?

A CV is used when applying for:

  • Graduate school
  • Academic (research and teaching) positions in a four-year university, state college, community college, or liberal arts college
  • Fellowships and scholarships
  • Research funding and grants

Although largely the same format for all academic positions, there is some variation and a difference on emphasis for a CV depending on the type of institution you’re applying to (e.g. community college vs. four-year university).  Your CV will be the first of many supporting documents you'll need for going on the job market, especially in academia. One of the primary functions of a CV is to provide a succinct chronicle of your past experience and training. Emphasis on when to use a CV and which sections depends upon the type of institution you are applying to.  For example,

  • CV ImageA CV for a Community College would emphasize teaching over research, pedagogical training and qualifications as a generalist as well as academic service, mentoring and work with undergraduate students. The Teaching Experience section on your CV will follow the Education section and include details about your particular role (e.g., Adjunct, Lead Teaching Assistant, Teaching Assistant) as well as a list of all of the courses (by course title, not course number) you have taught or supported. The Teaching Experience section may include lecture materials you have presented, class size, lab responsibilities, etc. Teaching-focused community college CVs may also have a research section, but will include limited detail.
  • A CV for a Comprehensive (State) School or Liberal Arts College emphasizes a balance of teaching and research, thus will include equal emphasis on the research and teaching sections.
  • A CV for a Four-Year University emphasizes academic accomplishments, scholarly productivity, research experience, technical expertise, successful grant writing and collaboration potential. The emphasis for a tier one research institution will be placed on the research section, with a less prominent section on teVaching and mentoring experience. The Research Experience section should follow the Education Section.

For more information on formating your CV visit our formating essentials page.