What’s a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and How Do I Create One?

Research is an incredible way to prepare for graduate and professional school. UW-Whitewater has a number of opportunities to engage in research including the Undergraduate Research Program, the McNair Program, and various opportunities to participate in ongoing faculty research.

As you develop skills to become an effective graduate student, it will be very important to learn how to appropriately market yourself. When applying for employment, assistantships, fellowships, grants, and other opportunities, resumes will no longer be the document of choice. Instead, you will be asked to submit your Curriculum Vitae (CV). Curriculum Vitae is Latin for ‘course of life’. The purpose of the CV is to provide a snapshot of your education, professional background, and research interests.

Students in "class" on Bascom Hill

Academic and International CVs
There are two types of CVs: the academic CV and international CV. Several countries outside of the U.S. use the term CV to refer to their equivalent of the American resume. Domestically, it will be necessary to begin a CV if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • Planning to attend graduate school
  • Engaging in student teaching
  • Participating/conducting research
  • Interested in academia

CV or Resume: What’s the difference?
A CV and resume are both documents used to provide a snapshot of one’s skills and experiences. The CV differs from the resume in that it is:

  • More comprehensive and longer in length
  • Used primarily for jobs in academia, research and when applying for grants, conferences, or graduate school
  • Strictly a professional document that should be approached conservatively

How do I begin my CV?
Create a master CV document. It may be easiest to request the CV of faculty member in your field of interest to get an initial idea of how a CV in your field of interest will appear.

  1. Outline information. Outline the following information: contact information, education, professional employment, research experience (publications, presentations, grants, etc.), teaching experience, honors and awards, professional service, professional affiliations. The CV does not need to be limited solely to this information, but the aforementioned are a few samples. Accompany each experience with the position held, name of organization, dates present and location
  2. Create headings and organize. Create headings that are relevant to your experiences. The list in Step One identifies information that may be used as headings. Place corresponding experiences underneath headings. Research and teaching experiences are often the first sections following the education section. Note: In regard to section order, the most important information will be listed toward is the top of CV. However, information within each heading should be listed in reverse chronological order.
  3. Create descriptions. Fill in experiences with descriptions regarding your accomplishments. Use complete citations for research (including publications, presentations, and research in progress).

The CV length for undergraduate and graduate students will likely range from 2-5 pages. For more information, explore ‘Additional Resources’ below and make an appointment with a career counselor in Career and Leadership Development and faculty member in your department.

Additional Resources:
http://seaver.pepperdine.edu/careercenter/doc/CV%20Packet.pdf
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/creatingmaintaining-your-cv/26887 http://chronicle.com/article/The-Rhetoric-of-the-CV/131404/

Photo by joelrivlan.