Compiling an Academic Curriculum Vitae

Sample CVs: Rebecca Slitt, Caroline Dunn

The academic version of a resume is called a curriculum vitae (CV for short). When applying for a college teaching job, a scholarly research position, fellowship, or grant (and sometimes a place on the program of a scholarly conference), you should submit your CV along with the other required materials. If you are applying for a position in academic administration, high school teaching, or an institution like a museum, historical society, or library, you would supply a business-type resume that contains several features of the academic CV. The following will, however, concentrate on what to include in an academic CV.

When composing a CV, you want to follow the standard organization expected of this form, but you also want to put your best foot forward. After the first three sections, you may want to rearrange the order of sections, combine some, or leave out others to suit your needs or to show off your particular accomplishments or skills to best advantage. Remember that the aim is to provide the fullest possible picture of your qualifications and to show how those qualifications are related to what you want or are applying to do.

You also want to tailor your CV to suit the position you may be applying for. If you are seeking an adjunct position at a local college, you want to stress your teaching skills and experience; if you are applying for a full-time job at a university that has a graduate program, you want to stress your research skills and experience; if you are applying for a grant to do research abroad, further elaboration of your language skills is appropriate. Length is also an issue here. ABDs and recent PhDs should have CVs of at least two pages but probably not more than three pages unless your publication and scholarly presentation record warrants it. Be concise: those reading your CV will be readings many (even hundreds) of others, and will value crispness even more than usual.

The appearance of a CV is also very important; you need to carefully consider such factors as organization, spacing, formatting, typeface, and quality of paper. It is best to experiment with several different versions to see which one is most effective; asking the advice of fellow students and especially teachers with experience on hiring or granting committees is a good idea. Note also the changes that have occurred in CVs over the last few years; age and marital status, for example, are no longer included on CVs, and very few include their hobbies or non-academic interests.

The following lists the main divisions employed for most curriculum vitae. For ideas about formatting, see the examples in the Professional Skills binder in Dealy 615 or search online for examples.

A few reminders about style and form. Note that academic years are usually denoted as 1991/92; 1991-92 would indicate any number of months in these two years. Do not be afraid to use capitalization, small caps, or bold formatting in the headings of different sections, but do not get too carried away with fancy fonts since they are hard to read. And remember that the basic aim of the academic CV is to get across as quickly and precisely as possible your qualifications in a serious manner. Here are the types of sections/headings found in most CVs.

  • Include both home and office address and phone (and cell phone if you use it regularly). Include the email address through which you want to conduct correspondence. If you have a personal website that concentrates on your academic interests, then include the URL as well. But do not point prospective employers to a personal website that contains links to your Facebook or MySpace page or has personal information on it.

  • Starting with the most recent one, list each degree, field of concentration, granting institution, and date. For PhD students, note your candidacy or when the PhD is expected; make sure this is an honest estimate and that it agrees with the predictions that your mentor and committee will make in their letters of recommendation. Many also note when the comprehensive exams were passed (and the mark if you received a high pass) and the PhD mentor (particularly if someone well known). The title of the PhD dissertation can be noted here or in a separate heading immediately following. You may also wish to list the title of your MA thesis here, particularly if it shows your aptitude in a field different from the focus of your PhD research; the MA mentor’s name can also be added if you wish. The honors awarded with a degree (for example, summa cum laude) should also be noted. Those who have spent time at universities abroad (for example, Junior Year abroad or with Fulbrights) may also want to include this here.

  • Optional. You can insert this into the University Education or put it into a separate section, although it is a good idea to highlight it separately when looking for your first job. Thereafter, it is usually discarded. The anticipated date of the defense and the mentor's name can also go here. Some also include a short (3-4 sentences) abstract of the thesis here. This can be omitted when you send a separate abstract of your thesis along.

  • One or more of these titles can be taken out depending on what you can show off here. List the title and date of tenure of all grants, scholarships, and fellowships you received, with the most recent first. Relevant prizes or honors you received as an undergraduate or graduate student should also be noted here (or in a separate section of Honors and Awards if you received several such awards).

  • This is a crucial area and one that university hiring committees take a hard look at. You should have at least one publication if you hope to find a good college teaching position, but the more the better. It is acceptable to list articles or books forthcoming (put "forthcoming Spring 2010" for example) and, if you are a new PhD, you can also include here articles completed and sent to a publisher, but not yet accepted (append the following "under consideration at ...... Press or Journal of ....." after the title). Once you have two publications or so, these latter items should be moved to a separate section. If you have written pieces for the popular press, you may want to include some of them if they relate to your academic work. Otherwise you may just want to note "other short articles and contributions published in ......". You may also want to avoid including popular press articles that might label you as overly opinionated or that strongly associate you with a certain controversial ideology. If you are applying for a position where teaching is more important, you may want to place Publications after the sections on Teaching.

  • List your teaching positions: your title, the department, institution, dates, and the title of courses. The order can vary; most list the most recent or the most prestigious first, but others list by positions according to institution if they have held several different positions. You may also want to draw attention to your responsibilities in the course if this is not clear (for example, if you were a grader or led class discussions, as opposed to having complete responsibility for the course yourself).

  • Optional. Put this on a CV when you are searching for a teaching job as an adjunct or for your first full-time position. These are general areas and often correlate with the fields of your doctoral comprehensives and particular courses you could teach. It gives you a chance to highlight your areas of expertise. Note that you may want to tailor this section to the job description; if the advertised position is for British history, for example, you would want to list the fields in British history (Medieval, Tudor-Stuart, Early Modern, Modern, etc.) you could teach a course in. Some people label this field "TEACHING INTERESTS." If you have a lot of teaching experience, you may also want to have sections labeled "COURSES TAUGHT" and "OTHER COURSES QUALIFIED TO TEACH." It is important here to consider the coherence of your dossier; if your cover letter notes a particular interest in teaching Tudor-Stuart history, make sure your CV shows relevant course work and/or teaching experience.

  • Optional. If you have served as a research assistant, tutor, or in an administrative or other position related to academic work, include this here. List your title, employer, dates of service and duties if not obvious from your title. Jobs in publishing are often listed here. Research jobs that involved the use of a computer might also be emphasized here in order to highlight your experience with particular types of software.

  • Optional. Include this only if you were out of academia and need to explain what you were doing all those years. This includes mainly full-time employment; your job at McDonalds is of no interest here.

  • Optional. Some label this "RESEARCH INTERESTS." List 1-3 articles or books you are currently working on.

  • Also labeled "CONFERENCE PAPERS" by some. List the paper title, conference, and date of papers you have presented at scholarly conferences or other academic meetings. Some also include the place the conference occurred (this can show how much you get around). All PhD students should deliver at least one paper at a scholarly conference before they receive their degree. Sometimes teachers will tell you that a paper is worthy of presentation; if you received an A for a paper that involved primary source research, you may also want to approach the teacher and ask if the paper could be revised and given at a conference. Historiographic essays and papers which draw only a bit on printed primary sources are not usually delivered at conferences. See also the handout on writing an abstract for a conference paper.

  • Optional. Could also label this "PROFESSIONAL SERVICE." If you have served on academic committees, list the name of the committee, its institutional affiliation, and dates you served. If you were an officer of the GSA, Phi Alpha Theta, or relevant undergraduate organizations, also list that here. A brief description of the committee's charge and your participation would also be appropriate.

  • This should be included on your first CVs but can usually be deleted after you have established a scholarly reputation. List the foreign languages that you can read well; depending on the position you are seeking, you may also want to note your reading, speaking, and writing competency or fluency for each.

  • List the academic or related organizations you belong to. Could also be labeled "PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES" or "ORGANIZATIONS."

  • Optional. Some people list their graduate courses and teachers (and schools if not all the same), particularly if only the CV is sent rather than the full dossier. If the job advertisement asks for a full dossier right away, there is probably no need to include this section. It can be useful, however, for ABDs or new PhDs who have taken a wide variety of courses.

  • List the title, name, address, email address (and possibly phone number) of at least three references. Make sure you have asked these people for permission to cite them as references. List your mentor first. You may also want to include professors from outside Fordham; these could be members of departments where you adjuncted who can comment knowledgeably about your teaching or intellectual accomplishments; outside professors who sat on your PhD comprehensive or thesis boards; scholars who know your work from conferences or your publications. If you run out of room, some people just put "References available on request" here. Some also just end with "Dossier available from:" then list the Interfolio contact email or the address of your career planning office where you have set up a dossier.