The curriculum vitae (CV) provides an overview of your achievements in the academic realm and should ideally provide a sense of continuity between what you have done in the past and what you plan to do in the future. There are different standards for American and British/Canadian cvs. This article focuses on the American cv.
These are not hard and fast rules. What’s important is that the information on your cv be easy to find at a glance. The reader should be able to skim over the content and get a sense of who you are and what you have accomplished before proceeding to the more narrative cover letter or statement of purpose.
- Use the same font throughout the document.
- Use bold and caps to set off section and sub-section headers. Be consistent in your use of these.
- Use 1-inch margins and keep in mind that an American reader may print your document on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper rather than A4. Try to keep sections together on the page.
- No bullet points.
- Italicize all journal and book titles.
- When listing publications, stick to the citation format most common in your field (APA, Chicago).
- No narrative of any kind (descriptions of job duties, etc.). The academic cv is purely a list.
Personal Information: Name, academic affiliation, contact information
- List your highest degree first
- List degrees you are currently pursuing as “in progress” with an expected graduation date.
- Use initials (M.A., B.A., etc.)
- If relevant, list the title of your thesis and the name of your thesis advisor
- Largely irrelevant if you are still a student.
- List academic jobs by job title beginning with the most recent
- Create sub-headings for each of the following: publications, invited talks, conference and symposium presentations. Leave out sections that do not apply to you.
- Prioritize the most impressive achievements (publications over conferences, peer reviewed over non-peer-reviewed). After that, list items beginning with the most recent.
Grants and Fellowships:
- List the name of the granting body and their location.
- Include the amount of the grant if available.
Awards and Scholarships:
- List any academic awards that you have received since entering university (no secondary school achievements).
- Begin with the most recent.
- List any relevant work experience, beginning with your most recent position
- Include work done as a TA or other academic assistant
- Do not describe your job duties as you would in a resume for a job
- Volunteer work that you have performed in or outside of NES.
- List all languages you speak with proficiency levels
- Give test scores (IELTS) if available
- List 3 to 5 people who are willing to offer a reference for you
- Include their academic titles (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor), affiliation, and contact information.
“But my CV is really short”
If you are only just about to graduate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you are at the very beginning of your academic career. It is understood that your CV will be thin. A single page CV is perfectly appropriate at this stage. Make sure that you include all relevant academic achievements, even if you worked in a different field or research specialty than the one in which you are pursuing your next degree. The important thing is to show continuity of engagement with the academic world.