Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae is essentially a verbose version of your resume. While it covers the same general aspects of your life, namely education and experience, your CV will delve into more of the nuances of your skill set and especially your accomplishments.

You need to know how to write a curriculum vitae when you’re applying for a position in the academic field, medicine and sciences, and other specific circumstances. If you’re not sure whether to write a resume or a CV, check out the section Resume vs. CV.

The following sections list the parts of a CV, and what employers want you to provide in each. It is not meant to be a strict set of rules, but rather a general guide to curriculum vitae content and structure.

  • Cover Letter
  • Don’t forget your cover letter! You still need one even if you are submitting a CV rather than a resume.
  • Check out our section on cover letters if you haven’t yet.

Parts of a Curriculum Vitae

  • Qualifications
  • This first paragraph should provide the employer with a summary of your curriculum vitae. It should name your best attributes and achievements, without too much detail. You’ll go into the specifics later on.
  • This section should be no more than a few sentences. It’s the attention grabber, so list only the qualities and accomplishments that you think this specific employer is looking for.
  • Experience
  • Here you will list all your jobs in a chronological format, much as you would on a resume. You should provide the a small description of your duties as well as any major accomplishments while you held each position.
  • Date, job title, company, duties, accomplishments are all required components of each entry here.
  • Other Experience
  • List any experience you may have that was not in a traditional job setting. If you have conducted research independently, written a book, taught a few classes as a freelance professor, or any other experience you should include it here.
  • Date, company [if applicable], and a thorough description of each entry should be included here.
  • Education & Honors
  • This section of your curriculum vitae will be very similar to the education component of a resume. Feel free to elaborate where you feel necessary. Be sure to include the names of any relevant clubs you participated in, accomplishments in extra curricular activities, and other achievements. If applicable, you should include the title of your thesis and optionally a brief description. If you were a teacher’s assistant as part of your graduate studies, list it here.
  • Date, institution, degree, honors, GPA, thesis, and other important activities.
  • Industry Involvement / Conferences
  • This section is used to describe your ongoing studies and educational activities after school. If you’ve attended work-related conferences or conventions, list them here. This lets the employer know you’ve been involved in the industry beyond the 9-5; if you’ve attended several such events you’re likely to be abreast of recent changes and news in your industry, networked, and generally be interested in your profession beyond the paycheck.
  • Date attended (e.x. January 3-5, 2004), city/state/(if necessary, country), conference title & sponsoring organization.
  • Industry Contributions / Papers / Projects
  • How have you contributed to your industry? If any of your papers or research has been published, include it here. If you have volunteered and worked as part of a team (e.x. work for a foundation, think tank, open source software programming, etc.) include information regarding your specific contributions and level of involvement.
  • If several of your papers have been published or you’ve contributed to several projects, you should break this into more than one section.
  • Date, publication or organization, paper title or project, description of your involvement.
  • Additional Sections as necessary
  • The above sections are those most commonly found in a curriculum vitae, and provide the employer with the information they usually take into consideration. If you think a particular employer would be interested in another aspect of your life, and it’s not an inappropriate personal matter, let them know about it.
  • If there’s anything else you feel your employer should know about your experiences or expertise, include it. Don’t worry about being too long winded – if they wanted a single page summary they would have requested a resume. At the same time, don’t shoot for a certain number of pages. Only include information that will give a prospective employer the ability to gauge your abilities and experience.

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