Graduate student displaying research at poster session.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is a must for every graduate student and conveys your accomplishments and experience as an academic and describes your scholarly focus. As with a resume, it is an advertisement of your abilities, accomplishments, and future capabilities without the page constraints of a resume. Most CVs for graduate students are 2 – 5 pages in length, but may be longer. Remember, your CV reflects your professional image and will be revised depending upon the type of position for which you are applying. CVs are used to apply for fellowships and grants, as a part of submissions for publications or conference papers, consulting projects, faculty positions, and more.

Similarities Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae

  • Both are your personal marketing tool and ‘advertise’ your skills, competencies, accomplishments, education & experience.
  • Both should be customized to the position for which you are applying. 
  • Both should convince the reader that you have the skills, experience, and knowledge that they seek; “Why should we select you?”  “How can you make an impact and contribute to the department, university, etc.?”
  • Both must be easy for the reader to scan and be clean, concise, relevant, organized and professional in appearance.  Even though a CV may be longer than a page, it should still be concise, easy to read, and directly related to the position.
  • Both should use action verbs (see below) and sentence fragments to describe your experiences; avoid pronouns.
  • Both should use font size 10 – 12 for the text (you may use larger for the caption and your name) and use easy to read fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri; minimize white space to create a  professional and easy to read document; formatted with equal margins of ¾” to 1” on all four sides.

Unique Qualities of a CV

  • In the United States, a CV is designed for an academic setting or research facility and includes categories that reflect academic experiences, research, or teaching related.
  • CVs tend to be longer than resumes, because they include lists of publications, classes taught, committee work, lectures, and conference presentations.
  • CVs should “follow the conventions of your field!”  Different academic disciplines have different standards and expectations, especially as it relates to the order of categories and how you list your experiences.  Make sure to talk with a professor or advisor about the standards in your area.
  • CV categories should be strategically ordered and titled with the most important information on the first page.
  • CVs have no page limits, but are usually two to five pages for graduate students.  Your professors’ will be much, much longer.
  • CV format recommends placing the most relevant categories first.
  • CV categories may include some combination of the following and should take into consideration what are most relevant to the position: 



Honors & Awards

Teaching Experience

Research Experience

Presentations & Lectures

Professional Associations



Committee Appointments

Research Interests

Foreign Study



Professional Certification


Professional Competencies

Teaching Interests

Professional Interests

Remember, the order you use for your categories depends on the position, what is most important for that position, and the standard format of your field.

  • CVs should always have your name on the top of each page, except the first which will have your complete name, address, and contact information; include page numbers on all subsequent pages.
  • CVs for academic positions usually include ‘References’ at the bottom of the final page with complete contact information for at least 3 individuals.  References are included on a separate sheet when applying for non-academic positions.

Remember to ask someone to review your CV prior to submission.

Unique Qualities of a Resume

Resumes highlight accomplishment statements that consist of: Skill verb = a strong action verb plus how or what you did.  How did you demonstrate this skill – what did you do; can it be quantified; who did you work with. Why did you use the skill = what was the result or impact; what did you accomplish; how were people impacted; can it be quantified.

Additional Resume Resources


Resume and CV Examples

  1. Example of Resume for a Job in Higher Education
  2. Example of CV for Faculty Position
  3. Example of CV for Faculty Position
  4. Example of CV for Application for a Ph.D. Program

Additional Resources

Chronicle of Higher Education. “Creating and Maintaining Your CV.” Sept. 14, 2010.

Chronicle of Higher Education. “The Rhetoric of the CV.” April 4, 2012.

The Curriculum Vitae Handbook: Presenting and Promoting Your Academic Career. Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe (Rudi Publishing: Iowa City, 2nd Edition, 1998)

The Academic Job Search Handbook. Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick (University of Pennsylvania Press: 4th Edition, 2008)

The Professor Is In, Karen Kelsky.

Miami University Center for Career Exploration & Success Resume Preparation guide