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Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a summary of qualifications and experience, much like a resume, but in a different format.

In the United States, generally, CVs are only used when applying to jobs in the academic or scientific communities, or when applying for fellowships or grants. Outside the United States, CVs are much more common.

How does a CV differ from a resume?

A CV is a longer, more in-depth look at your background and experience, often including publications, awards and grants, research, pertinent classes or seminars attended, and teaching experience.

For countries outside the United States, the CV often contains personal information such as birth date, hometown, citizenship, gender, marital status, etc.


Tips for writing your CV

  • Customize your CV to your field. If you are applying to several different types of jobs, customize a CV for each one.
  • Always use the terminology of your target employer/industry.
  • Quantify your experience with relevant data when possible (for example: the percentage increase in sales when you joined a team).
  • Use attractive headings, wide margins and a limited selection of fonts and styles to make your CV easy to read.
  • Ask several people to read and critique your CV, including a professional in your field and a career counselor.

CV mistakes to avoid

  • Never misrepresent your background, skills or experience.
  • Exclude abbreviations that the employer is unlikely to understand.

Sample CV

PhD in American history (PDF)


CV Resources

Quintessential careers CV strategies

iAgora: Tips on how to write CVs and cover letters for jobs in various countries.

Alec: General advice and example CVs