Graduate Studies > Career Center > How to Prepare a CV

How to Prepare a CV?

First, What is the difference between a CV and Resume?

Curriculum vitae (CV) Résumé
What is it? A full list of your professional and educational history. A summary of your experience and skills that are most pertinent to the advertised position.
How long is it? Usually many pages; length is not important. Usually one page only. Multiple pages only for senior-level positions.
When do you use it? Used for academic positions and research positions in government and industry. Used for every other type of job outside of academia and research science.
Do you include your publications? A full list of publications is essential. Even a partial list of publications is rarely included.
How important is style and layout? Style doesn’t matter that much; content is what matters most. Style and content are important. Bad style is a real liability.
Should I modify it to match each specific job to which I am applying? CVs do not need much alteration to fit each specific job opening Résumés should be adapted to fit each specific job to which you are applying.

This is a table from How to Write a Winning Résumé by Peter Fiske and additional information about résumés can be found at  Make Your Resume Work For You by Corinne A. Marasco

From the MIT Global Education & Career Development Center:

While there is no single correct format or style for writing a CV, the following types of information are generally included, and typically organized in this way:

  • Name and Address
  • Education
  • Dissertation
  • Fellowships and Awards
  • Prepared to Teach or Areas of Research Interest or Areas of Specialization or Areas of Competence/ Expertise or Principal Research and Teaching Interests
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Works in Progress
  • Related Professional Experience
  • Languages
  • Other
  • References
  • Dissertation Abstract

An example of a CV.

Additional Tips

Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies: CVs may begin with a short section specifying Fields of Interest or Teaching Competencies (instead of a statement of Professional Objective with which resumes may begin). If you do include this optional section, make your categories as broad as possible to cover a variety of potential opportunities but don’t be so broad that you appear unfocused.
Teaching and Research Experience: On a CV it is appropriate to describe both teaching and research experience in detail (on a resume this is usually not appropriate). If applying for a position that primarily involves research, describe research experience first; if the reverse is true, put teaching experience first.
Work Experience: Work experience not directly relevant to research/teaching/academic opportunities should be omitted or described only briefly on a CV.

This may include miscellaneous personal information such as membership in professional or scholarly associations, travel or study abroad, or personal interests. Include only if you feel that some aspects of your personal history may be relevant and of potential interest to your readers.

References: If you list references, provide title, university affiliation, and phone number
Your Dissertation:

  • If you are working on or have recently finished your doctoral degree, at least include a brief, clear summary of your thesis topic in the Education section.
  • Including a separate one- or two- page abstract of your thesis at the end of your resume is recommended, but optional. In this attachment, concisely summarize your thesis work, placing it within its scholarly context, and noting its contribution to the field. Your summary should be comprehensible to people outside your field, but scholarly enough to interest people within your area of expertise. Looking at theses on related topics, in Rotch or Dewey Library, may help you write yours. If you do provide an abstract, write “(See Abstract Attached)” in the Education section of your CV, after the name of your thesis title.

Cover Letter: A CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

Additional Information:

The Basics of Science CV’s (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Tools & Tips | How-To Series at Science Careers