University of Wisconsin–Madison

CV Writing

A Curriculum Vita (CV), while similar to a résumé, has distinct differences. Both documents are tools to express your professional experiences and to obtain an interview. However, CVs are not restricted in length and should include all relevant professional and academic experiences. CVs are primarily used to obtain academia, research, or international positions. The development and structure of a CV depends on where you will be submitting it.

  • Headings to Include

    Each individual should create headings and organize their CV to highlight accomplishments that are most important to them. The following headings are suggested as possible categories:

    Contact Information

    • Include name, phone number, email address, single address, and any updated professional portfolios/websites/accounts like LinkedIn.

    Education

    • Highlight degrees obtained and the relevant college/universities. Be sure to include your dissertation status and/or expected graduation date.
    • List your thesis or dissertation title if relevant and advisor/committee members if they are connections you want to emphasize.

    Certifications

    • If you hold certifications/licenses that are relevant to your field, be sure to note the type, date, and state (if it is not a national certification/license).

    Research Experience

    • Briefly describe research projects, purpose, and dates that the research took place.

    Teaching Experience

    • Include the names of the courses (only listing a course number will not be helpful to anyone outside your department), number of credits, and semesters taught. Bullet points can accentuate your experiences by further detailing the content of the course, audience, and your level of involvement.

    Research and/or Teaching Interests

    • List your current and future research/teaching interests. Consider your audience and the position you are applying for as you create these categories.

    Fellowships, Grants, and Awards

    • List the title, the institution that provided the award, the date, the amount if it is a larger grant/scholarship, and a brief description as necessary.

    Publications and Presentations

    • Use the appropriate reference style for your discipline when documenting these activities.
    • Further divide the category as appropriate, such as peer-reviewed publications, manuscripts under review, international presentations, etc.

    Relevant Experiences

    • More specific headings can be created to group similar types of experiences.

    Service

    • Include relevant academic service to department, institution, or external organizations.

    Professional Organizations

    • List all professional organizations and affiliations.

    Skills

    • Focus on technical skills such as software programs, equipment usage, language skills, etc.

    Exhibitions/Performances

    • Note the title, location, date, and other information as necessary such as director, choreographer, or curator.
  • Formatting

    Many of the same standard conventions apply to CVs as well as résumés. Be consistent with formatting throughout your document. See examples of CVs and résumés for formatting ideas.

    Highlight the most important information on the left side and beginning of the document in response to typical reading patterns. Titles should be on the left side, while less important information like dates or the location can go on the right side of the page.

    Use bolding, italics, and underlining to emphasize headings and titles without overwhelming the reader.

    Use a professional readable font around size 11 or 12 and include margins of approximately one inch.

    Provide concise, but specific bullet points to contextualize your accomplishments.

    Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon when possible.

    Add your name and page numbers in a header/footer on all pages.

  • General Tips

    Create a master document, but tailor a version for each application. For example, if you are applying to a position as a professor at a small liberal arts university, your teaching experience should likely be more prominent than if you are applying to an R-1 institution.

    Have your document reviewed by your advisor, professionals in your discipline, and/or a Career Consultant.

    Regularly update your CV to ensure documentation of all relevant experiences.

    As you gain more experience, you can divide your headers into more specific sections. For example, you could classify your teaching experience into Higher Education Teaching Experience and K-12 Teaching Experience.