Guide to Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Reprinted from the National Institutes of Health: Office of Intramural Training & Education website

What IS a CV, anyway?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a document that outlines your entire academic history. It is used most often to apply for faculty positions at colleges and universities, for research-intensive positions at national labs or research institutes, and for fellowships, grants, or awards.

What categories should I include in my CV?

At the very least, a CV should include contact information, education, research experience, teaching experience (if applicable), publications, presentations, and references. Other potential categories are listed below and may include awards, professional affiliations, community or university service, and others.

What is the appropriate length for a CV?

Length is less important in a CV than completeness. Your CV should include your complete academic history and is not typically limited by length, as is a resume.

Should I include job descriptions for every position listed on my CV?

Not necessarily. Most academic search committees may focus solely on your institution and your advisor. Given this focus, listing your title, institution, advisor, location, and dates you attended or were employed there are required. Additionally, most faculty reviewers expect to see dates listed on the left-hand side of the page.

Does order matter on a CV?

Yes. It is critical for you to consider the position you are applying for and/or the audience you are writing for when compiling a CV. For example, if you are applying for a faculty position at a small college, you will want to list your teaching experience on the first page of your CV and your research experience and publications later in the document. The reverse would be true if you were applying to a research-intensive university or institute.

I'm in the process of drafting my CV, but am not sure about format and style.

It is a good idea to ask your advisor or a mentor in your field for a copy of his/her CV, as each discipline has its own standards for content, style, and format.

Sample category headings:

  • Education
    • Dissertation
    • Master's Project
    • Thesis
  • Professional Competencies
    • Areas of Expertise
    • Areas of Concentration in Graduate Study
    • Internships
  • Teaching Interests
    • Teaching Experience
  • Research Interests
    • Research Assistantships
    • Postdoctoral Experience
    • Research Appointments
    • Research Experience
  • Professional Experience
    • Academic Appointments
    • Professional Summary
    • Related Experience
    • Administrative Experience
    • Consulting Experience
  • Academic Service
    • Advising
    • University Involvement
    • Outreach
    • Leadership
    • University Assignments
  • Professional Development
    • Professional Association Advisory Boards
    • Advisory Committees
    • National Boards
    • Professional Activities
  • Conference Participation
    • Conference Presentations
    • Conference Leadership
    • Workshop Presentations
    • Invited Lectures
    • Lectures and Colloquia
  • Publications
    • Abstracts
    • Scholarly Work
    • Books
    • Chapters
    • Editorial Boards
    • Professional Papers
    • Technical Papers
    • Refereed Journal Articles
    • Editorial Appointments
    • Articles/Monographs
    • Book Reviews
  • Research Grants
    • Funded Projects
    • Grants and Contracts
    • Patents
  • Awards
    • Scholarships
    • Fellowships
    • Honors
    • Activities and Distinctions
    • Professional Recognition
    • Prizes
  • Professional Memberships
    • Affiliations
    • Memberships in Scholarly Societies
    • Professional Organizations
    • Honorary Societies
    • Professional Societies
  • Professional Certification
    • Certification
    • Licensure
    • Endorsements
    • Special Training
  • Foreign Study
    • Study Abroad
    • Travel Abroad
    • International Projects
    • Languages
    • Language Competencies

Reprinted from the National Institutes of Health: Office of Intramural Training & Education website  (