If you are applying to large research universities, it will often be understood that your interest in them lies in their prestige and opportunities to do high level research with top names in your field. However, if you are applying to smaller, more teaching-oriented institutions, such as liberal arts colleges or smaller, lesser-known universities, then it will become increasingly important for you to convince the employer that you have a genuine interest in becoming a member of their faculty. Either way, your CV and cover letters will be extremely important ways to attract attention and make your case.
Frequently Asked Questions about CVs
What is a CV, or curriculum vitae, and how does it differ from a traditional resume?
While a resume is generally a one to two page document, a CV is usually two to ten pages in length. A CV is a document which is used when pursuing a position within academe or other areas where your field specific knowledge and academic accomplishments are required. This marketing tool is used to introduce you, to communicate your qualifications, to establish your professional image and to pique the interest of the reader to encourage an invitation for an interview.
In addition to using a CV to pursue positions, an academic may also be asked to submit a CV for merit and tenure reviews, for support when submitting manuscript proposals for publication, for submission with grant proposals, for publicity or introductions for speaking engagements, when applying for membership in a professional society or organization, when offering services as a consultant, when being considered for leadership roles, awards or special recognitions, or when pursuing a sabbatical or fellowship opportunity.
It is important to choose a format for your CV which will highlight your strengths, achievements and experiences. Your CV should contain a record of your educational background, professional accomplishments (including teaching and research), publications, presentations, recognitions, collegial activities and professional affiliations. Some additional categories to consider include Teaching Interests, Research Interests, Administrative Experience, Leadership, Language Competencies, and Cross-cultural Experience. References may be included but are often listed on a separate reference page instead.
As with a resume, sentence fragments with action verbs are recommended rather than complete sentences. Pronouns are not used. It is important to arrange the CV with the most important pieces of information being listed first. All information should be in reverse chronological order within each category. Highlighting should be used but judiciously. The presentation must be professional, so be sure to proof it carefully and have it critiqued by advisors, colleagues, people in the field, and career counselors. Remember that the CV is a work in progress and should be revised regularly as you develop your professional career.
Should I have more than one version of my CV for different types of employers?
Yes. Think about who will be reading your resume. For academic jobs, you use a CV so that people in your field will appreciate the specifics of your research and your accomplishments within your field. If you are applying to a small, liberal arts college that puts a premium on teaching experience, you will want to highlight your experience as a teaching fellow, and any tutoring experience you have had. If you’re applying for a nonacademic job—such as in a research institute, or a research position in industry—then your CV may downplay teaching and go into more detail on any nonacademic or applied experience you may have had.
Are there formatting guidelines I should keep in mind?
Stick to a common font like Times New Roman or Garamond, and avoid text boxes, underlining, or shading. Font size should be between 10 and 12 point, and kept consistent throughout the document. Margins should be equal all the way around the page, and should be at least three quarters of an inch in size.