Career Center

Writing a Curriculum Vita

What is a Curriculum Vita? Typical Sections of your CV
Checklist for your CV CV Websites

What is a Curriculum Vita?

A curriculum vitae (also vita or CV) is a comprehensive biographical document emphasizing academic and professional qualifications and activities. In short, a vita is an academic version of a resume. Vitae loosely means "this is my life" so it should reflect well on your achievements and successes.

The vitae is typically used to apply for academic or research positions. It is also used for application to graduate or professional schools, grant or fellowship application, program accreditation, consulting sabbaticals, publications, and speaking engagements.

It is usually three pages or more, but may be as long as twenty pages over time.

A vitae is a multipurpose and perpetually unfinished document, a cumulative record of professional achievements from graduate student to professor emeritus (for academia).

Typical Sections of a Curriculum Vita

Personal Data
Name, telephone number/s, address/es, email. Do NOT include age, sex, marital status, race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, or sexual preferences.

Career Objective
Optional statement of your job target, career goal.

Educational Background
List academic degrees beginning with the degree in progress or most recently earned. Include institution, city, state, degree, and area of concentration, month and year of degree (or when it will be granted). Also include title (using format appropriate for your field) of your thesis, senior research project and academic awards.

Recent or Current Research or Research Interests
Describe research projects recently conducted or in progress. Include the type of research and a brief description of its purpose.

Relevant Work Experience
List positions (part-time, full-time, temporary and permanent) which relate to the type of work sought. Include internships, assistantships, and volunteer work. Include position, department or organization, city, state, dates of employment, and type of employment listed in reverse chronological order. Areas of responsibility should be described with action verbs.

Public and Creative Work
List publications authored or edited and creative work. Include bibliographic citations or research reports, articles, pamphlets, monographs, chapters in books that have been published, are "in press" or submitted, and descriptions of recitals, art exhibits and performances.

List presentations, workshops, and/or poster sessions given at professional conferences. Include titles of presentations or papers, brief descriptions, names of conferences or events, dates and locations. List most recent first.

Professional Affiliations and Honors
List membership in national, regional, state and local or campus professional organizations. Include significant appointments to positions or committees and honors. Student memberships in professional associations are very appropriate.

Other Work Experience
Group other work experiences, including internships and/or volunteer work, that do not relate directly to your career objective. Entries should be in reverse chronological order.

Community and Service Activities
List institutional committees on which you have served, offices held, student groups supervised, academic projects supervised, etc. Include civi or community service activities with organization name, your role, achievements and accomplishments.

Special Qualifications or Skills
If appropriate, create a section to highlight unique skills such as languages, computer or technology, lab techniques, research, etc. International travel can be highlighted if appropriate.

Professional References
List your references on a separate page to accompany your vitae. Include references' names, titles, work addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. Ensure that you have their permission before listing any reference.

Checklist For Your Curriculum Vitae

  • Know your audience. Check with faculty in your office to make sure that you are targeting your vitae information to the academic or research audience that you are trying to influence.
  • Be absolutely honest in presenting yourself. Accuracy is critical!
  • Have two or more literate colleagues proofread, edit and generally review your document for clarity and errors.
  • Include a bit about your personality in your vitae through your language and personal style.
  • Put your last name and page number on each page. Do not staple the pages so it will be easier to copy.
  • Print on high-quality, white or cream, paper. Even in this virtual, electronic world, people equate quality presentation with quality content.
  • Be sparing in your use of fonts. A nice, simple font is best.
  • Update and polish your vitae every time something changes: a degree earned, article accepted for publication, presentation given, class taught, etc. Always stay on top of your document and keep it current.

Curriculum Vita Websites

UC Berkeley

Columbia University Teachers College - Writing a Vitae

Quintessential CV Samples