By Jeff Schmerker
CV is short for curriculum vitae, a Latin expression meaning “course of my life,” or, in short, everything you’ve done.
In the United States and Canada, jobs asking for CV will want this exhaustive list of all that you have accomplished. Outside of North America, a CV is more or less what we call a resume. Understanding your audience is crucial for getting the message right.
This article is about the North American CV.
How is a CV different than a resume?
While a resume is the time-tested standard one-page rundown of your contact information, recent job history, education, and any additional relevant training, certifications, and awards, a CV is a full history of your credentials.
The University of California at Davis notes that a CV should emphasize your academic accomplishments. For those who write, this can include a complete list of published, in process, and under-consideration books, reports, articles, papers, presentations, interviews, editorials, posters, conferences, service, licenses, certifications, fellowships, grants, affiliations, and board appointments. The CV of an accomplished researcher, for example, can easily exceed 25 pages.
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Who should use a CV?
You should use a CV if you are being asked for one.
But don’t wait for the night before the application deadline to put one together—gathering all the background you need to include in a CV can take a long time. Like a resume, a CV should be a work in progress, one that is updated continuously.
In general, you should expect to use a CV to apply for jobs in research and academia, when applying for grants or sponsorships, and when applying for jobs in career fields where you will accumulate a long list of accomplishments, such as CEO or CFO.
Some companies that are based in Europe may also ask for a CV even if you will be based in the U.S. If this is the case, you may want to clarify exactly what they’re looking for.
The essential elements of a CV
A CV should include everything your resume would include. You need your name, contact information, education, skills, and experience.
On top of that you should include, under individual topic headings, additional sections pertinent to your situation, including research and teaching experience, publications, grants, professional associations, licenses, and awards. Your CV should be packed with action verbs, precisely edited, and well-formatted. Good luck!
Include name, address, telephone, email, personal website, and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Optional, but if you include it, briefly mention your work-related highlights.
Expert French literature and language professor with more than 20 years of experience teaching at the university level. Distinguished list of publications in leading French-language journals. Committed to helping students understand the intricacies of French literature. Strong dedication to university programs and community outreach events.
List your academic background, including undergraduate and graduate institutions. For each degree, list the school, location, degree name, and graduation date. If you completed a thesis or dissertation, includes its title and your advisors.
Ed.D., Educational Finance and Policy. The University of Utah. 201 Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112
List your employment history in reverse chronological order (most recent at the top), including dates and job titles.
Professor of Meteorology, Department of Meteorology, Northern Arizona State University, 2009–present.
Include postdoctoral training, fellowships and grants, honors and awards, conferences and talks, service, licenses and certifications, publications and books, and professional affiliations.
Award example: Best Paper Award (2018), Proceedings of the Fourth ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA, for paper, “Towards equal opportunities in MOOCs: Reducing gender and social class achievement gaps in China with value relevance affirmation” (senior author)
Grant Example: MediaX, Stanford University, 2017–2018 Harnessing the Psychological Power of Virtual Reality to Enhance Leadership in High Diversity Teams in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Co-PI (with PI, Alice Kathmandu, doctoral student) Total funds: $40,067
Publication Example: Cooper, C. M., Garcia, J., & Goyer, J. P. (2017). Turning point: Targeted, tailored, and timely interventions. In A. Elliot, C. Dweck, D. Yeager (eds), Handbook of Competence and Motivation (2nd Edition): Theory and Application (pp. 657-686). New York, NY: Guilford Press
Include full contract information and appropriate titles—and make sure to double-check this section for accuracy.
Dr. Richard Foust, Chair, Psychology Department, College
Address, City, State, Zip, Phone,
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