Written by Alison Doyle
A curriculum vitae (CV) written for academia should highlight research and teaching experience, publications, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses, awards, and any other details in your experience that show you’re the best candidate for a faculty or research position advertised by a college or university.
Tips for Writing an Academic CV
Think about length. Unlike resumes (and even some other CVs), academic CVs can be any length. This is because you need to include all of your relevant publications, conferences, fellowships, etc. Of course, if you are applying to a particular job, check to see if the job listing includes any information on a page limit for your CV.
Think about structure. More important than length is structure. When writing your CV, place the most important information at the top. Often, this will include your education, employment history, and publications. Within each section, list your experiences in reverse chronological order.
Consider your audience. Like a resume, be sure to tailor your CV to your audience. For example, think carefully about the university or department you are applying to work at. Has this department traditionally valued publication over teaching when it makes tenure and promotion decisions? If so, you should describe your publications before listing your teaching experience.
If, however, you are applying to, say, a community college that prides itself on the quality of its instruction, your teaching accomplishments should have pride of place. In this case, the teaching section (in reverse chronological order) should proceed your publications section.
Talk to someone in your field. Ask someone in your field for feedback on how to structure your CV. Every academic department expects slightly different things from a CV. Talk to successful people in your field or department, and ask if anyone is willing to share a sample CV with you. This will help you craft a CV that will impress people in your field.
Make it easy to read. Keep your CV uncluttered by including ample margins (about 1 inch on all sides) and space between each section. You might also include bullet points in some sections (such as when listing the courses you taught at each university) to make your CV easy to read. Also be sure to use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, in a font size of about 12-pt.
By making your CV clear and easy to follow, you increase the chances that an employer will look at it carefully.
Be consistent. Be consistent with whatever format you choose. For example, if you bold one section title, bold all section titles. Consistency will make it easy for people to read and follow along with your CV.
Carefully edit. You want your CV to show that you are professional and polished. Therefore, your document should be error free. Read through your CV and proofread it for any spelling or grammar errors. Ask a friend or family member to look it over as well.
Academic Curriculum Vitae Format
This CV format will give you a sense of what you might include in your academic CV. When writing your own curriculum vitae, tailor your sections (and the order of those sections) to your field, and to the job that you want. Some of these sections might not be applicable to your field, so remove any that don’t make sense for you.
State Zip Code
This is an optional section. In it, include a brief list of the highlights of your candidacy.
List your academic background, including undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. For each degree, list the institution, location, degree, and date of graduation. If applicable, include your dissertation or thesis title, and your advisors.
List your employment history in reverse chronological order, including position details and dates. You might break this into multiple sections based on your field. For example, you might have a section called “Teaching Experience” and another section called “Administrative Experience.”
List your postdoctoral, research, and/or clinical experiences, if applicable.
FELLOWSHIPS / GRANTS
List internships and fellowships, including organization, title, and dates. Also include any grants you have been given. Depending on your field, you might include the amount of money awarded for each grant.
HONORS / AWARDS
Include any awards you have received that are related to your work.
CONFERENCES / TALKS
List any presentations (including poster presentations) or invited talks that you have given. Also list any conferences or panels that you have organized.
Include any service you have done for your department, such as serving as an advisor to students, acting as chair of a department, or providing any other administrative assistance.
LICENSES / CERTIFICATION
List type of license, certification, or accreditation, and date received.
PUBLICATIONS / BOOKS
Include any publications, including books, book chapters, articles, book reviews, and more. Include all of the information about each publication, including the title, journal title, date of publication, and (if applicable) page numbers.
List any professional organizations that you belong to. Mention if you hold a position on the board of any organization.
SKILLS / INTERESTS
This is an optional section that you can use to show a bit more about who you are. Only include relevant skills and interests. For example, you might mention if you speak a foreign language, or have experience with web design.
Depending on your field, you might include a list of your references at the end of your CV.