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Developing a Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is similar to a resume but provides more details, has a different format and targets specific position types.

Your CV is an overview of your accomplishments and includes a detailed history of your academic pursuits in research, awards, teaching and service. You should provide a CV instead of a resume when requested in the application instructions or by the employer, grant or scholarship agency, or hiring committee. If you’re in doubt whether to use a CV or a resume, contact the hiring agency and ask which one is preferred. 

The following types of positions often require a CV instead of a resume:

  • Academic (graduate students, professors)
  • Scientific or research (scientists, researchers)
  • Medical (medical residents, physicians, some nursing positions)
  • International (commonly used for all types of positions in Europe, Asia or Africa)
  • Fellowships or grants (researchers, scientists, graduate students)

The main differences between a resume and CV can be found below:

CV

Resume

Content

Detailed list of relevant accomplishments

Tailored snapshot of relevant skills, accomplishments, education and experience for a specific position or career

Job type

Academia, research or medical, or international jobs

Typically nonacademic jobs

Format

Substantial information, usually written in narrative style

Minimal text, achievement-oriented bullets

Length

No length restrictions

One to two pages

References

Included in CV

Provided in a separate document

Publications, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses relevant to the position are typically included on a CV. Sections of your CV might include any of the following, depending on your background and the type of position you are seeking:

  • Contact information
  • Education
  • Teaching experience
  • Research
  • Honors, awards, fellowships and grants
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Professional memberships
  • Service
  • References

The Purdue Online Writing Lab provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective CV. More information on elements of a CV and sample CVs may help you as you create your CV. Additional CV samples for the medical field, fellowships and academia can help you come up with ideas for your CV and cover letter.

Some hiring organizations provide a template to use in creating a CV. If an organization requests a CV, you may ask if there is a specific format or template you should use.

Whether you are writing a CV or a resume, it’s important to target the document to show you’re qualified and an excellent candidate for the position for which you’re applying. Make sure the information you provide is relevant and accurate. It’s also critical that your CV is mistake-free — no errors in grammar or spelling.

Remember, your CV or resume is your chance to capture a potential employer’s interest so make sure you make a great impression. Call 800-342-9647 to have a career coach review your completed CV or for assistance if you have questions.

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