Oregon State University

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) are often used when applying for scientific and academic positions. CVs tend to provide great detail about academic and research experiences with the intent to market one's skills, experiences, education and personal qualities.

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? 

The major difference is length and focus.  A resume is a 1-2 page summary of your skills, experience, and education. Resumes are preferred in business and industry.  A CV, on the other hand, is usually between 2-12 pages and provides a detailed synopsis of your experiences with a large focus on academic and scholarly accomplishments.

What should a CV look like? 

It’s important to know that there is not one “right” way to write a CV.  You should aim for your CV to reflect the requirements of the position you are applying for.  As with a resume, your CV should be well-organized.  Start by making a list of all your background information, and then organize it into categories (e.g. presentations, teaching, grants). Make sure you include dates on all the publications you include.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)Typical Categories of a CV:

  • Personal information
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number(s)
    • Email
  • Academic Background
    • Postgraduate work
    • Graduate work/degree(s), majors/minors, thesis/dissertation titles, honors
    • Undergraduate degree(s), majors/minors, honors
  • Professional Licenses/Certifications
  • Academic/Teaching Experiences
  • Technical and Specialized Skills
  • Related/Other Experiences
  • Professional/Academic Honors and Awards
  • Professional Development
    • Conferences/workshops attended
  • Research/Scholarly Activities
    • Journal articles
    • Conferences attended
    • Books
    • Work currently in the submission process
  • Grants
  • Services
    • Academic
    • Professional
    • Community
  • Academic/Research interests
  • Affiliations/Memberships
  • Foreign Language Abilities/Skills
  • Consulting
  • Volunteer Work

CV example

Where to start? 

1) Include concise descriptions, not paragraphs.  The OWL at Purdue (a great online writing lab) recommends gapping, “the use of incomplete sentences in order to present your information as clearly and concisely as possibly. For example:

DO This:  ‘Composition Instructor (2000-2004). Planned course activities. Graded all assignments. Held regular conferences with students.’

NOT This:  ‘I taught composition for four years, during which time I planned classes and activities, graded papers, and created exams. I also met with students regularly for conferences,’ 

By using incomplete sentences, you cut out unnecessary words and allow your reader to see quickly what you have been doing.

2) Organize your experiences under each section in reverse chronological order (the most recent experience first).  For recent graduates, it is recommended you place your education information immediately after your name and contact information. List all of your degrees, with the name of the institution and date they were awarded or list your expected graduation date for the program you are currently in.

While CVs are longer in length than a resume, this should not invite unnecessary information or descriptions. Be concise and clear.

Need additional help?

You are always welcome to call Career Services, 541-737-4085,  and schedule an appointment to review your CV.  Professors and academic advisors may also be able to provide feedback and assistance.

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