Curriculum Vitae

What is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae acts as a living document that you will continue to add to and revise over the lifetime of your career. The main objective of a Curriculum Vitae is to highlight your education and accomplishments to demonstrate your academic potential. Choosing which to use will vary based on the purpose of your CV, as well as what experience you intend to highlight. A resume is short and tailored to a specific job posting and typically no more than 2 pages. The goal is to highlight the knowledge, skills and attributes you bring that fulfill the job requirements. A resume is highly curated and does not need to include all items a CV would have. 


A Curriculum Vitae can be:

  • CVs are very often used in Europe and other countries but you will want to ensure what the opportunity specifically asks for. If unsure, please contact the employer to clarify whether they prefer a resume or CV document. 
  • A CV is commonly used for application of postgraduate studies, academic positions, post-doctoral positions, professional programs, graduate school, scholarships, fellowships, medical residencies, research experiences, or research opportunities.
  • For a more detailed break down on the differences between CVs and resumes, go visit our Resumes VS CVs page

Curating your CV

  • For Academic CV’s: Because they tend to be more general and less targeted by nature, prioritize the sections that are more marketable by placing them closer to the top, while moving less relevant sections closer to the bottom.
  • Although some necessary elements exist, sections can be moved around to ensure that the most favorable are prioritized higher up within the document. 

Build your Document

Format and design your document

  • Use bolding, italics, spacing, and different alignments (left-align section headings, right-align dates) to organize content
  • Use an easy to read design font (10-12 points)
  • Write in bullet points to make it easier for an employer to scan for keywords
  • List experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Maintain consistent formatting
  • Reverse Chronological Order: Put the most recent education and experiences first and work backwards. Dates should be justified.
  • Prioritize sections that highlight your strengths and suitability closer to the beginning 
  • Use spaces, dashes, bolding and italics to section information, headings, and titles 
  • Font Size: Use size 10-12, and a simple font such as Calbri, Times New Roman, or Georgia
  • Formatting: Stay consistent with verb tenses, spacing, dates, capitalization, and bolding, add your name and page numbers to each page
  • Avoid Personal Pronouns: Do not use “I, you, their, me, he, she, my” etc
  • Avoid Acronyms: Write titles out in full
  • Do not include personal information including photos
  • Achievement Statements: Use the formula Verb + Action + Result. 
  • Proofread ensuring spelling and grammar is correct. Another item to be mindful is redundancy in words or statements, consider reformatting bullet points if this is the case. 

Contact Information

  • Name
  • Professional E-mail Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Phone Number
  • Professional URL or online profile if relevant 

Education (to be written in reverse chronological order)

  • Institution 
  • Location
  • Dates
  • Degrees earned or expected
  • Thesis or dissertation title if applicable
  • Supervisor’s name

Additional CV Sections

  • Honors & Awards: include academic awards, fellowships, scholarships, medals, and prizes. You may include a brief description and the award amount received.
  • Certifications
  • Grants (include monetary amount)
  • Hobbies and Interests 
  • Presentations (include conference presentations, invited lectures. List the title, authors and audience)
  • Professional Memberships (list membership or leadership positions. This section may include student organizations.)
  • Projects: If you are an undergraduate student with little research experience, highlight research heavy school projects.
  • Publications: Include everything- Works submitted, in progress (cite as such), and reports. Use standard citation style for your field.
  • Research: Include current research, research assistantships, your thesis, and post-doctoral fellowships. Include information on the institution, the supervisor of the project, the research group, the subject, and your specific role.
  • Teaching Experience: Includes instructorships, teaching assistantships etc. Include the course title, department and institution name, your title and the date for each one. Indicate the level of each course you are teaching, a description of your role (ex. running tutorials, conducting lectures, developing curriculum, holding office hours etc)
  • Work Experience: list in reverse chronological order; include accomplishment statements, data, title, institution, and a brief description of your role.
  • Academic Associations
  • Clubs and Memberships 
  • Conferences: This can include papers, posters, presentations, and proceedings.
  • Shadowing Experiences
  • Inventions/Patents
  • Leadership
  • Technical Skills and Transferrable Skills 
  • Volunteer Experience and Community Involvement 
  • Languages
  • References: Include title and department, phone number and e-mail address and relationship