cv for grad

If you are pursuing a career in academia or research, then you should focus on creating a curriculum vitae (or CV) in addition to a resume. Resumes are more commonly used in the U.S. than CVs, and it will never hurt to have one ready. While a resume is a one- or two-page document that highlights your experience, education, and skills, a curriculum vitae is a document that grows over time, cataloging your entire career. “Curriculum vitae,” after all, is Latin for “course of life.”

If you have completed a graduate program and want an academic job, you will need a polished CV before you begin your job search.

Getting started

Formulate a list of all of your academic-related experiences, including education, research, teaching, publications, presentations, honors, committee service, and affiliations. Also consider which faculty members you will ask to serve as your references. You can list your references directly on your curriculum vitae, or you can create a separate references page.


Typically, the first sections of a curriculum vitae are contact information and education (in contrast, education is often the last thing listed on a resume). You can choose to list only your personal contact information, or you can include your departmental information if applicable. You do not need to repeat your contact information on each page; your name and a page number in a header or footer will suffice.

A CV is a fairly flexible document; you can organize the sections in the order that you think is best, and title each section as you see fit. Entries within each section are most often listed in reverse chronological order.

Information about your thesis or dissertation can be included in your education section, or in a section of its own. In either case, you should include the title and a brief description, as well as the names of your advisor and committee members.

For inspiration, you might want to browse through some examples from others in your chosen field. In addition, the Career Development Center at Stanford University has published a handful of useful examples from a diverse set of fields, each sample designed with a specific focus (teaching, research, administration, etc.).

Because of the length and detail included in a CV, the format should be simple, straightforward, and easy to read.


As with a resume, you may find yourself needing to tailor your curriculum vitae based on the position, grant, or department to which you are applying. The contents of your CV should reflect your goals.

If you want to focus on research, then it makes the most sense to have the details of your research experience and publications listed at the start of your curriculum vitae. Your research experience section can include information not just about subject areas in which you have conducted research, but also the specific techniques you have used. Your publications section can include works already published as well as those still in progress. You can also break this section into categories, such a monographs and journal articles, if you have published different types of works.

If you want to teach, then you might lead off your curriculum vitae with information about workshops you have led, courses you have taught, your teaching interests, and your committee service and community involvement at your university.

Many graduate programs require their students to have some level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages; if applicable, include a section detailing your language skills.  If you have relevant professional experience outside of academia, you should include that as well.

Different fields have different norms and conventions for CVs. Ask your references and others in your field to review your curriculum vitae to ensure that you have followed these.

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