Think of the curriculum vitae (CV) as an “academic resume”: it is a document intended to highlight education and accomplishments in order to persuade someone to offer you an opportunity ( a place in a graduate program, funding, a role as a professor or post-doc, etc.)The term, Latin in origin, means “the course of one’s life or career.”
A CV is typically used when applying to graduate or professional programs, and for research-related funding opportunities or academic postings (post-docs, tenure-track employments, etc.). In some parts of the world (for example, Quebec and Europe), "CV" is used more generally to mean the document one uses when applying to any type of opportunity. In that case, the distinction between "academic CV" and "non-academic CV" might be quite important.
If you are preparing your CV for a specific opportunity, you will also likely need to consider the following in order to customize it:
List name, address, email and telephone at the top of the CV.
List degree, school, dates, city, province/country in reverse chronological order. You may include the name of your advisor and thesis title in this section, or include a separate section about your thesis.
Include the title of your thesis/dissertation and the name of your advisor. In some fields, it is expected to include the names of additional committee members and/or a short summary of the thesis.
This section is typically used to show your compatibility with a particular role and should be tailored to align with the position you are applying to. Not all fields include it on the CV.
Scholarships, awards, honours, achievements
List these items including: name, grantor (for example, NSERC, NIH etc.), date, and project title if appropriate. In some fields, you may wish to include the dollar amount. As you advance in your scholarly career, you may remove some older awards; so, someone at the PhD level should only include an undergraduate award if it was very prestigious. You may also wish to create subsections in this category to distinguish, for example, "Fellowships" separately from "Awards."
Include publications you’ve authored or co-authored. Provide title, authors, dates, and publisher using the citation style appropriate to your discipline. If you have different types of publication, you may wish to use subheadings to organize this section: for example, "Book Chapters" "Articles" "Monographs" etc.
It may be strategic to include sections for "Forthcoming" or "In-Progress" publications. Consult with your advisor to determine if it is appropriate to do so.
In some fields, you may combine presentations with your "Publications" section, but in many cases, this should be a separate section. Include the title of the presentation, the name of the organization, the location of the meeting or conference, and the date. List the presentations in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
You may use subheadings to distinguish different types of presentation: "Conference Presentation," "Invited Talk" "Public Lecture" etc.
If the position you are applying to will involve a strong focus teaching responsibilities, you may wish to include this section quite early in your CV. Use subheadings to distinguish between different types of teaching experience: "Teaching Assistant," "Instructor," etc. List the title of the course and the institution and the department where it was taught; including the course number (eg. CHEM 399) is optional.
Since you are writing to other academics who will typically have a good understanding of what is involved in post-secondary teaching, it is often not necessary to include bullet points describing the nature of your responsibilities (eg. "Delivered lectures, graded exams etc." Consult others in your field to determine if you need to describe your teaching responsibilities or simply list the courses.
In some fields it is common to include a section describing the projects you have worked on, often with the use of bullet points. This may include your work as a research associate or research assistant. Depending on your field and the position you are targeting, this section may appear considerably earlier in the CV. If you have experience with research outside of a university setting, consult with your mentor to determine if it should be located here or in a separate setting.
This section is optional, and should only be used to highlight work that is relevant to your academic discipline. Some fields have a close relationship with industry, and highlighting industry experience in this section can be very useful. You may also use this section to highlight how you are practitioner as well as a scholar.
List your experience in reverse chronological format. Includes job title, employer, dates, city/country, and possibly a brief statement or series of statements about your accomplishments in the role.
Skills, Techniques, Languages etc.
Depending on your field and the nature of your research, it may be useful to include a point form list of the skills and techniques that are relevant to your research interests. This section is most common in STEM and social science fields, but many humanists will want to list skills related to digital projects and their fluency in relevant languages (indicate written, read, spoken.)
This section is optional but it can be a convenient place to list seminars, summer schools and relevant professional development opportunities (for example, a pedagogical training workshop).
Membership in related scholarly and/or professional associations attests to your career commitment and professionalization. List the memberships with the dates.
Include any service to the university or discipline in this section, such as participation in committees, organizing conferences, reviewing for journals, participating in graduate student associations. You may use subheadings to create categories if necessary. You do not typically need to describe the activity (ie no bullet points).
This section is optional; it may be included if you have community activities relevant to your scholarly interests (eg, public talks at museums, volunteering with science education programs in local schools.)
List the names and titles of three references. Include their email and phone contacts.