Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center

The Academic Resume and Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vita, commonly referred to as a CV, includes a summary of your educational and academic background, as well as teaching or research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, and affiliations. The CV establishes your identity as an academic and includes all pertinent academic experience and qualifications.

Curriculum Vita vs. Resume.

The most noticeable difference between most CVs and resumes is the length. Entry-level resumes are usually limited to one page. CVs, however, often run to three or more pages. Keep in mind that length is not the determinant of a successful CV. You should try to present all the relevant information that you possibly can, but you should also try to present it in as concise a manner as possible.

A more subtle but equally important distinction is that the goal of a resume is to construct a professional identity for the purpose of attaining specific employment opportunities, and the goal of a CV is to construct a scholarly identity by summarizing the breadth and depth of expertise in a particular field. Therefore, CVs specifically reflect academic abilities as a teacher, researcher, and publishing scholar within your discipline.

What is an Academic Resume?

Because most students lack the experience to truly establish expertise in a field, and because our purposes in UROC is to gain specific research opportunities, we will employ a hybrid model called an academic resume. In essence, an academic resume is a short and carefully tailored CV that is targeted to the programs and researchers to which you will be sending them. It should contain all the information that is present in a CV, and it will serve as the starting point for assembling a full CV in the future.

What should be in a CV?

A CV should include your name an contact information, an overview of your education, your academic and related employment (especially teaching, editorial, and managerial experience related to your field), your research projects (including conference papers and publications), and your departmental and community service. You may optionally include a reference list, either as a part of your CV or on a separate page.

The items are grouped into sections with the most important information coming first . . . meaning the sections that contain qualifications that emphasize your abilities and capabilities as they pertain to a particular program should be emphasized. Under each section, individual experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

Research projects, conference presentations, and especially publications become very important when applying to a research university. In any case, you will want to be sure that the information that will be most helpful in determining your aptitude for research comes before information that will be less helpful.

All CVs and resumes should include the following sections:

  • Heading: include name, address, telephone number, and email address (optionally include webpage or online profile if it is pertinent).
  • Education: list your educational history, including degrees earned and specialized training received.
  • Professional History/Research Experience: list professional and research experiences that are relevant to the program to which you are applying or research you are applying to conduct (including unpaid volunteer work or internships if they are related). Be sure to highlight achievements and skills that relate to your proposed research. This section may optionally be broken down into more specific sections such as "Teaching Experience" or "Employment" if they are relevant to your field.

You may optionally add any number of other sections to highlight and emphasize aspects of your history and preparation for research, including:

Research Interests: succinctly state your specific research interests (this section often comes directly after the heading).

Summary of Qualifications/Skills/Relevant Courses/Licenses & Certifications: summarize your relevant skills, training, and credentials.

Honors & Awards/Leadership & Service: highlight academic achievements and leadership roles.

Publications/Presentations/Professional Affiliations: demonstrate scholarly activity.

References: list contact information for people who can comment on your work ethic and qualifications (be sure anyone you list has agreed to be a reference).

What should NOT be in a CV?

Avoid putting anything in that is not directly related to your academic field or that does not give you specific skills related to your field. Your summer job waiting tables, for example, should be omitted. Irrelevant content only distracts from the content you with to highlight.

Also, avoid too much personal information, such as salary information, political or religious activities, or any personal information that may lead to bias or discrimination on the part of the reader.

How to properly construct descriptions within a CV

You should have a separate entry for each pertinent experience. Include titles, references to specific projects, and notable achievements when appropriate. Avoid descriptions of basic job descriptions; instead focus on ownership (i.e. what you did that is relevant to your goals), leadership, and achievement.

Keep the text for each entry concise, and format sections so that they are easily scanned. Avoid blocks of text, and strive for short, well-messaged sound bites. Also, focus on incorporating keywords into your text for each entry. If possible, tailor the keywords to the position based on the program description or research description for the researcher with whom you are applying to work.

Two common strategies that apply to CVs and resumes are gapping and parallelism. Gapping is the use of incomplete sentences in order to present your information as clearly and concisely as possibly. For example, instead of writing, "I taught composition for four years, during which time I planned classes and activities, graded papers, and constructed exams. I also met with students regularly for conferences," you may write, "Composition Instructor (2000-2004). Planned course activities. Graded all assignments. Held regular conferences with students." By using incomplete sentences here, you cut out unnecessary words and allow for a quicker read of important information.

Parallelism is also very important to a strong CV. Generally, you will want to keep the structure of your phrases and/or sentences consistent throughout your document. Thus, if you use verb phrases in one portion of your CV to describe your duties, try to use them throughout your CV. Within entries, make sure that the structure of your phrases is exactly parallel so what you're communicating is more easily understood.

You should consider using bullet points when appropriate to highlight important information. Bullet points are often used in resumes but less often used in CVs. Whether or not you use bullets to separate lines in your CV should depend on how the bullets will affect the appearance of your CV. If you have a number of descriptive statements about your work that all run to about a line in length, bullets can be a good way of separating them. If, however, you have a lot of very short phrases, breaking them up into bulleted lists can leave a lot of white space that could be used more efficiently.

Remember that the principles guiding any decision you make should be conciseness and ease of readability.

Academic Resume Templates

Academic Resume Template 1

Academic Resume Template 2