CV writing for PhD and other applications

CV writing is similar to resume writing in that it is a written record of one's experiences and qualifications. The difference will be in the emphasis on academic experience and publications over practical experience. 

Students needing a CV for these applications and for some positions should use Optimal Resume to create their documents, and then send them to the career center for advice.  Please download the instructions at the bottom of this page for best use of the system. 

A few general words of advice on CV writing:

  • CVs do not have a specific page limit. That said, CVs end where they end. A CV that is padded with superfluous information (or information that is included elsewhere) wastes the readers' time. At this level, there is no shame in a one page CV.
  • CVs are generally read by those that have had similar experiences to those for which you are applying.  Therefore, there is less need for explanation than there is on a resume.
  • CVs are always in reverse chronological order within sections.
  • In a CV, knowledge carries more weight than general work experience. It's safe to leave off your summer waiting tables!
  • The sample CVs in optimal resume will give you lots of good starting points.  Some categories that CAN be included (only your academics and contact information is mandatory--everything else is optional!) would include:
Degrees (College and going forward. High School is not included.)
Professional Experience
Research Experience
Judicious Listing of Awards, Honors and Scholarships (if you have many, don't go as far back in your history)
Professional Memberships and activites (such as AAR)
Service to College and University (committees, volunteer work--such as assisting with new student orientation)
Community Service
Research Interests (a few selected topics)
Languages (if your transcript will not make those obvious or if a transcript will not be included)
References (again, if they won't be included elsewhere in the application)
Course Summary (if not included elsewhere in the application)
Publications and Presentations
Teaching Experience



Using Optimal Resume to Create a CV.pdf59.78 KB