How to Write a Curriculum Vitae

Often, grant and fellowship applications require applicants to create a curriculum vitae (c.v.), which is a comprehensive biographical statement emphasizing your professional qualifications and activities. For graduate students, it is usually 2-5 pages, though the vitas of more experienced candidates will be longer. You should design your vita so that your strongest qualifications will stand out during a quick skim, but with enough detail so that it can stand up to a more careful reading.

A vitae always includes:

  • your name, current address, and phone number (e-mail, web page addresses if applicable)
  • education information (name & location of institution, years attended, discipline, degree, date)
  • professional experience (name & location of institution, years, position)
  • publications (title, full authorship, journal, date)
  • presentations (title, full authorship, conference name and location, date)
  • honors (if unfamiliar, stress the degree to which award was competitive)

It may also include:

  • certification and licensure (certification boards with date and number, licenses with date and number)
  • scholarly and professional memberships/leadership (organization or society name, offices held if applicable)
  • areas of research interest (brief description of current research projects)
  • current protocols (title, funding source, amount funded, grant period)
  • teaching competencies (course titles, brief descriptions)
  • personal information (citizenship, etc.)
  • language fluency (reading, speaking, writing)
  • references (names, titles, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses)

Be clear: be sure a sound and easily understood organizational plan is followed; be sure there is no confusion concerning any entry; and be sure it is readable

Be consistent: establish a consistent graphic hierarchy so that typeface for equivalent categories of information is the same; be sure it doesn't mix styles; be sure all sequences are in proper reverse chronological order; and be sure there is an appearance of evenness

Be concise: use phrases rather than complete sentences; check with your department for appropriate page length, which varies from field to field; be sure it isn't padded; and be sure there are no double entries