A curriculum vitae (CV) is a detailed and comprehensive description of your academic credentials and achievements. You will use a CV if you’re a master’s degree-holder or PhD applying for a teaching or research position at a college, university, or research institution. You may also use your CV during graduate school to apply for grants, fellowships, or teaching positions.

What differentiates a CV from a resume, in the US context? CVs are used by master’s degree-holders or PhDs applying for teaching or research positions at colleges, universities, or research institutions. You may also use your CV during graduate school to apply for grants, fellowships, or teaching positions.

For other industries and educational institutions, including public and private schools, you will usually submit a resume. For guidance on resume and CV conventions in other countries, check out Going Global.

What Should I Include?

Your CV is your on-paper persona. It must be appealing and convince a search committee of your qualifications. Include the following information (not necessarily in this order):

  • Name, address, telephone number, and/or e-mail address
  • Degrees, institutions, and degree dates
  • Dissertation or thesis title(s), names of advisor and committee members
  • Awards, fellowships, and grants
  • Publications and presentations
  • Teaching experience and interests
  • Research experience and interests
  • Related experience (for example, administrative or editorial experience)
  • Language, computer, and/or other skills
  • Activities and/or interests (optional)
  • Service and membership in professional associations (e.g., Modern Language Association)

Depending on your discipline, you may have additional sections:

  • Data Sets (sciences)
  • Performances (performing arts)
  • Film Production Highlights (MFA)

Consult with your adviser and other faculty to learn about CV conventions in your field.

How Should I Organize My CV?

Present your qualifications and achievements in a clear, concise, and organized fashion. Use topical headings and consider their order. What comes first will receive more emphasis. CVs typically begin with academic credentials, drawing attention to your degrees.

Formatting should make your CV easy to read to your intended audience. Names, titles, and dates should appear in the same place within each entry. Be consistent in your use of punctuation, typeface, and indentation. Liberal use of white space and judicious use of bold type can help make your CV a swift and pleasant read.

There are no universal rules for CV organization, so check with your adviser. Many faculty post their CV online, so review examples from junior faculty in your field.

Finally, meet with a career counselor to review your CV, and show it to your peers and professors to get feedback.

What Should I Exclude?

Do not include personal information on your CV for positions in the United States. This includes your age, height, weight, marital status, race, and religion. In general, you do not include US citizenship or permanent residency on a CV. That said, if you think the employer would be uncertain of your status you may include your work authorization to clarify your qualification.

How Long Should My CV Be?

Content determines the length of the CV. The CV of a student or junior professor may be two to four pages in length; senior faculty may produce CVs that run to ten or more pages.


  • The Academic Job Search Handbook
  • The Curriculum Vitae Handbook
  • How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Cracking The Academia Nut