Your guide to the curriculum vitae (CV) – Ladders

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Throughout your professional career, creating documents to showcase your experience is critical to landing new roles. Most of the time, you’ll be authoring a cover letter paired with your resume as you apply for jobs. However, there is another type of document you may need to consider to summarize your experience and background. It’s called a curriculum vitae or CV for short.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what a CV is, how to write one complete with an example, and when a CV or a resume is the better choice.

While most job applicants are familiar with a resume and will use CV or resume interchangeably, others have career needs that depend on understanding and optimizing the curriculum vitae. So, what is a CV? A CV is similar to a resume in that it is a summary of your experience, background, and skills. However, unlike the concise resume, it is much longer and is not used for your average job application.

A CV is usually multiple pages in length – how long largely depends on your experience. Rather than simply discussing your work experience, a CV includes your academic background. This document showcases an immense amount of detail about your experience in academia, degrees earned, and research accomplished. It often includes information about academic publications you have authored, presentations you have given, and any awards you have won.
CVs are often used by those seeking a role in the world of academics or by PhDs applying for research opportunities. A CV provides a comprehensive overview of experience that is relevant to universities or schools.

If you are in a situation where you need to write a CV to apply for a role, use the following steps to create a professional document that will help you showcase relevant experience:

What should be found in your CV? All of the following information is important to include when designing your curriculum vitae:

After you have created a rough outline of your information for your CV, take the time to go back through and fill in as many details as possible. Unlike a traditional work resume which should be kept concise, a CV is meant to be a highly detailed overview of your experience. The more relevant information you can include, the better.

In most cases, you will submit a CV to a highly specialized board or hiring team. Whether you are applying for a professorship or a role at a law firm, the people reviewing your CV will be reading it carefully. Any mistakes can reflect poorly upon you. Use an online spellcheck and ask a few trusted colleagues or mentors to read over the document as well.

If you aren’t sure where to begin as you author your CV, it can help to start with an outline based on a CV example. The following example can act as a CV template or guide for you. Make sure that if you do choose to use this example as your starting point, you carefully review all the details of your CV to ensure that you have replaced all relevant information with your own.

Jing Li
123 Anywhere Road
City, State Zip Code
777-777-7777
jing.li@emailcompany.com
EDUCATION
Ph.D., Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford CA, Spring 2018
Dissertation Title: “Immigrant Youth Development: Understanding the Effects of Cultural Development in Anti-Immigrant Communities”
MA, Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Fall 2014
BA, Psychology, California State, Los Angeles, CA, Spring 2011
PRESENT POSITIONS
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE
HONORS AND AWARDS
RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS:
Li, J., & Advisor, J.B. (2018, April). Risk factors for immigrant bullying: The role of anti-immigrant sentiment. Poster presented at Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
Advisor, K.S., Graduate, M.F, & Li, J. (2013, November). Undergraduate and graduate student research collaboration: Tactics for reaching at-risk youth with psychology resources. Presented at the Annual Conference of the California Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.
PUBLICATIONS
“Immigrant Youth in California: Cultural Development in Anti-Immigrant Communities,” Psychology Today, forthcoming.
“A Movement Toward Accessible Psychology for At-Risk Youth,” published in Psychological Bulletin (Fall 2020): 14-18.
COMMUNITY SERVICE
Stanford University CAPS Outreach
California State Learning Support
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
LANGUAGES
English: Native Language
Mandarin Chinese: Native Language
Spanish: Advanced Reading and Writing

In addition to writing a CV, you can also create a one to two-page summary of your CV. A curriculum vitae summary is a more concise version of your CV and might be requested when an organization is dealing with a large influx of applicants. For a shortened CV, simply take the most relevant and important details and include a concise version of them.

As you learn to write your CV, you might have other questions regarding the use and style of a curriculum vitae. Check out the following answers outlining everything you need to know about creating a CV.

CV stands for curriculum vitae, which is a Latin term for “course of life.”

A resume is a short, condensed document that showcases your work experience and a brief summary of your educational background. It focuses on your competency and job skill sets. Often, you’ll write your resume to match a specific role. A CV is a much more in-depth document that is used for academic or research purposes. A CV contains more detailed information and focuses on providing a comprehensive view of your education and background.

A CV format should be professional. Use a business style template and avoid showy or difficult-to-read fonts. A simple text format will make it easy for both human and computer readers to scan your CV.

A CV should be anywhere from two to twelve pages. The total length of your CV will depend on your experience. For a highly experienced professional with numerous publications, awards, and service work involvement, a CV can become a lengthy document.

In the U.S., a CV is used when applying for an academic role. Typically, a CV is required when applying for a professorship or other educational opportunity. It can also be used in scientific and medical settings, as well as to apply for a grant or fellowship.
Outside of the U.S., there are certain countries where a CV is used in place of a resume.

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