In the academic market, a curriculum vitae or CV is very important and, after your cover letter, is your first introduction to the search committee. The CV is a summary of your educational background and research and professional experiences. Your CV is a tool to help you move from an application to an interview.
What to Do When Writing a CV
- Make your CV visually appealing. Look at how others have done their CV. Ask your professors and colleagues for examples.
- Start your CV with general contact information that includes your name, address, telephone, fax, email and url (if you have a web page about yourself as a professional).
- Include these sections in your CV: contact information; education and experience. Include these sections depending on your strengths and interests: honors and awards (from post-secondary school); teaching and research interests; publications; presentations; professional activities (committee memberships, intern experiences, relevant volunteer work); skills (second language and/or computer proficiencies); and references (you may include these or indicate they are available on request).
- Check your CV carefully for spelling and typographical errors.
- Use formatting such as bullets, italics or bold font only sparingly and use paper that is white, beige or a neutral color that weighs between 20# and 50#.
What Not to Do When Writing a CV
- Don’t try and do it all by yourself the first time. Seek help from others such as faculty advisors, career specialists or colleagues.
- Don’t worry too much about length — there are no rules on length. The CV should be professional and should include your important data. Keep your CV to a reasonable length. One page is almost certainly too short, two pages may not be enough to cover the essential detail for someone who has had a full career, and three pages is probably the upper limit.
- Don’t include the following information. These things are not necessary: age; ethnic identity; political affiliation; religious preference; hobbies; marital status; sexual orientation; place of birth; photographs; height; weight and health.
- Don’t pad your CV by listing excessively detailed information about research or teaching. Instead, provide the titles of research projects and course names along with brief summaries of your work.
- Don’t include information that is humorous. The CV is not the place for humor or being “cute.”
WHETHER you’re being headhunted or applying directly for a new position, your CV remains key to marketing yourself. Even if you’re an executive with a well-established career, whose accomplishments can probably speak for themselves, you probably need to set some time aside and make sure your CV reflects the breadth and scope of your accomplishments.