Curriculum Vita

The curriculum vitae (or CV, vita, vitae) is a comprehensive biographical statement emphasizing professional qualifications, work background and activities.  The CV is used most commonly with applications for positions as faculty or staff members in colleges and universities and for consulting positions in business and industry.  Sometimes, however, an employer may specifically request a CV. The CV is your document and can stress areas of strength while minimizing areas of weakness or limited experience.

There is no universally accepted way to write a CV, but the following outline and example are representative of current literature in the field, material from professional organizations, and comments from students and faculty.

Note:  Within academic and professional areas, there may be preferred formats.  Although the differences may be minor, you may want to check with your professional affiliation group before you begin writing.  For example, some prefer a straight chronological style and others prefer a reverse chronological style.

Preparing Your Vita

Personal Data
Your name should be the biggest thing on the page. It should be in a larger font size by at least 2 sizes and centered or justified left on the page.

Where applicable, list both a business and home address with telephone and email address.  If you do not have a current business address or choose not to use it, center your home address on the page or space across the page.  Omit items such as age, marital status, children, and state of health.

Educational Background
List all degree work, including theses and dissertation titles, beginning with the highest relevant degree descending in order. Also list significant educational activities.  Include activities essential to understanding your background, but do not list so many that the section looks cluttered.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
PhD Mathematics, May 2013
Dissertation: “Analysis of Mathematical Models of Bone Remodeling”

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
MS Mathematics, May 2007
Thesis: “Statistical Models of Gambling Behavior”

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
BS Statistics, May 2005
GPA: 3.8/4.0

Separate employment experience by categories, i.e., teaching, research, committee responsibilities, and the like, then rank order them by their degree of importance to the position desired. Distinguish between part-time and full-time employment by use of appropriate headings or notation.  Related volunteer activities may be included here rather than with civic or service activities.  The key is significance.  Be sure to show consulting activities, if any.

A short abstract of the paper is usually included. Include the title, principal advisor, date of defense/publication, techniques used, the most important finding, and a note of the implication for application or further research. It is also common to attach a longer abstract (1/2 to 2 pages) as an appendix to the vita.

Publications/Creative Work
For publications use full bibliographic entries so that a reader can locate them.  If the listing is too long, you may want to list a few of the most recent.  Indicate this is a partial listing, and the complete list is available upon request. When listing publications, you can use bold faced font to highlight your name in the citation. If the article has been submitted but not yet accepted, the term “Under Review” replaces the journal and volume information. If the article has been accepted but not yet published, not the journal name and the term “In Press” replaces the volume information.

If applicable, you can separate sections into several categories such as “Journal Articles”, “Book Reviews”, “Art Exhibits”, “Musical Recitals”, etc.

The format of the citation is similar to a publication citation. You should note the authors or presenters, the title of the presentation, was it a paper, poster, etc., the conference name and the date. List the most recent events first.

“Secondary School Staff Development.” Paper presented at the National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Administrators Conference, Houston, TX.  March 12-15, 2011.

Research Experience
This section could include graduate research assistantships, post-doctoral fellowships, research projects, etc. List these positions similar to employment experience on a resume. Include the name of the sponsor/employer, location, dates, and a short description of the research and your role. You may also want to provide your research interests and may be asked for a separate statement of research interests. 

Teaching Experience
Teaching experience can include graduate teaching assistantships and primary instructor responsibilities. List course title, your role, the instructor’s name if you were a TA, and the semester. If you are applying to positions that require teaching you will want to provide details about your classes, your role, etc. You may also be asked to provide a separate statement of teaching experience. 

, Department of Educational Administration and Supervision
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN                           Spring 2012
– Teach two courses each semester.
– Develop instructional media.
– Advise undergraduate and graduate students.
– Prepare grant proposals. 

Professional Affiliations/Honors
This section includes memberships in professional organizations, significant appointment/election to positions on committees, and honors from professional, business, or related employment duties.  The emphasis should be on current activities except where you have changed field of work and want to show earlier organizational activity.

Civic or Service Activities
Entries should be made judiciously, with brevity the key.

List a minimum of three references, preferably from people who are familiar with your professional work.  You may also wish to include their e-mail address if available.  Include name, title, organization, complete business mailing address, and phone number with area code.  As you begin to apply for positions, a copy of your CV should be given to your references. This enables them to provide accurate information and focus their comments.

Optional Items
There are other areas that could be included in the CV under separate headings.  They include:  foreign languages, courses taught, institutional committee responsibilities, foreign travel, thesis/dissertation committee responsibilities, academic advising, research activities, relevant skills, and grant writing/participation.

Points to Consider

Length:  Length may vary from three pages for a person just finishing a doctorate to ten pages for a person with 20 years of experience and an extensive list of paper presented, responsibilities in professional organizations, and/or publications.

Style:  Write short, snappy phrases starting with strong action verbs to describe your functional skills.  Use clearly defined headings and subheadings, if relevant, to organize your CV.

Clarity, Conciseness, and Consistency:  A cluttered CV is confusing and disastrous to your chances of getting a position.  The style should be consistent throughout, with no double entries.  Finally, do not pad.  Good judgment and taste are important.

What to Emphasize:  Depending upon the type of job you are seeking, certain areas of your CV will become more or less important.

Critiquing the CV:  After the CV is written have at least one person, whose opinion you respect, critique it. Make an appointment for a review with your Career Consultant at the Center for Career Development by calling 856-974-5435.

CV Examples

UTK Curriculum Vita Guide