Building an Accomplished Curriculum Vitae

First Things First: What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A curriculum vitae (also know as a "vitae" or "CV") is similar to a resume. It is a document and tool created for the purpose of pursuing your career and educational goals. Your vita should thoroughly describe your accomplishments and experiences in a way that best demonstrates your qualifications for the type of position you are seeking.

In developing your vita you should:

  • Remember that curricula vitae vary in format and style-choose one that suits you and emphasizes your knowledge, skills, strengths, and abilities.
  • Pay careful attention to punctuation, spelling, grammar, and writing style.
  • Organize information in a logical fashion.
  • Keep descriptions clear and thorough yet concise.
  • Use a simple, easy-to-read font.
  • Clearly number pages with your name at the top of each. Do not print pages back-to-back.
  • Use good quality white or off-white 100% bond paper.
  • Tailor your vitae to each position to which you’re applying.

When Would I Use a Curriculum Vitae?

If you are seeking a faculty, research, clinical, or scientific position, you will need a curriculum vitae. You may also want to consider this format when looking for work in the fields of healthcare, athletic training, education, social work, counseling, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, journalism, or other areas in which you may have participated in various applied, “hands-on” experience and training opportunities related to your major field of interest.

How Should I Format?

A vitae can range from 2 to 12 pages or more depending
on experience, and offers an in-depth look into any and all professional experiences you care to relate to the position you are seeking. Sections can include: Education, Awards, and Fellowships, Teaching Experience, Research Experience, Computer/Technical Skills, Honors, Professional Activities, Presentations, Publications, Professional Memberships, Travel/Cultural Experiences, and others.

You should begin with a heading that includes your name, address, telephone number, and email address. If you plan to move, be sure to provide a way for employers to reach you, such as a family member’s address. If your email account was established through the university, make sure you set up an account that will remain active after you leave school (always choose an email address that is professional, and appropriate).

What Have You Learned?

You’ll need an Education section that highlights the knowledge you have acquired through your university preparation and professional and educational experiences. At a minimum, the Education section should include your university, your degree and major, and when your degree was earned or is expected, as well as any certifications or credentials you have earned or expect to earn. Other education-related information that can be included: GPA, academic minor (or second major), and related coursework (remember to include those courses in which your potential employer will be most interested).

What Have You Done?

Your Experience section is key and should highlight your work-related accomplishments, whether they are paid or unpaid.

Emphasize the experiences related to the position you are seeking. For example, if you are applying to work in a hospital setting, you may have a section called “Clinical Experience” or “Hospital Experience.” Quantify and qualify what you did and be as specific as possible. For example, in a clinical position (such as a Physician’s Assistant), include how many rotations you completed.

You can also include experience gained through participation in organizations and associations in a “Professional Memberships” section or “Committee and Administrative Experience” section, as long as you can relate the experience to the job for which you are applying.

In a “Publications” section, do not include papers submitted or in preparation unless they have been accepted, in which case indicate that they are “in press.” Follow appropriate documentation guidelines for articles, books chapters, presentations, etc.