How to Write a CV for a University

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The CV, or curriculum vitae, is a list of accomplishments that, in the United States, is commonly used to secure jobs in academia in lieu of a resume. A CV may be required to gain admission to a university graduate program. It typically lists institutions attended, places where an applicant taught, academic awards, and published papers. CV's differ from resumes in that they are much longer.

  • Computer with word processing programs
  • Copies of personal records

1 How to write a CV for university

Remember, a CV is typically much longer than a resume.

2 Organize your records

Organize your records. CV's can be quite lengthy, so organize your records to make the process smoother. Records you may need include undergraduate transcripts, graduate transcripts, records of awards you have received, and jobs you have held. If you are a member of professional societies or research associations, you should find records indicating when you joined those organizations. If you have published papers, you may want to find the journal it was published in, or a way to cite those publications.

Typing is the longest part

3 Open your word processing program

Open your word processing program. Some word processing programs have CV format templates installed. Other templates are also found online. If you are formatting the CV yourself, use one inch margins, include your name as a footer on each page and keep all section titles and dates aligned on the left side.

Data entry could take several hours.

4 Begin entering information

Begin entering information. Start by putting your name and contact information at the top center. Begin a section labeled "Education". Input the name of the institutions you have attended along with the dates of attendance, with the most recent listed first. Add grade point average and class rank if applicable. After entering information, start a new section labeled "Teaching". Input this information as before, beginning with the most recent. For each teaching position held, provide a brief explanation of subject matter taught and highlights. The format and categories listed in a CV vary widely, according to the University of North Carolina's Career Services Department. But academic CV's almost always include categories for teaching, education, research, and service. If you have professional accomplishments, there should be a section detailing jobs you have held. For each job, service position, and research position or accomplishment, include a brief explanatory paragraph stating what you did, accomplishments and highlights of the position. The career center lists over 100 categories of information that can be included on a CV, including memberships and academic awards.

Keep in touch with professors long after you have graduated.

5 Add references

Add references. Choose professors and colleagues who know you well, and are familiar with your work. It also helps if these professors are well known in the field. Ask references before including them on your CV. Include this information on a separate piece of paper.

After you are done, proofread it again.

6 Format and proofread

Format and proofread. If you haven't used the word processing template, now is a good time to go back and change fonts. Fonts and font sizes can be different sizes according to the order of information. This helps to draw the readers eye toward the order and categorization of information. For example, if working in the category for Education, the title "Education" should be the largest size. The name of each institution should be smaller than that. Other information, such as major course of study and dates of attendance can be smaller than the institution. Proofread your CV to ensure that there are no misspellings, and that font sizes are consistent between categories and subcategories. If the category Education is in 12 point font, ensure that all other category titles are in 12 point font.

  • Don't lie on your CV. In the Internet age, fact checking is nearly effortless.
  • Proofread your CV again. It would be a shame to study for the 11 years it took to get a PH.d, only to be unable to find a job because you confused "they're" and "their."
  • Update your CV periodically, even if you aren't looking for a job to ensure that when it comes time to write one, it doesn't take that long.

Philadelphia-based freelancer Pat Kelley has been writing since 2002, most recently for Scripps Texas Newspapers. He has won numerous awards for reporting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science.