How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Job

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Are you working on a curriculum vitae? Not sure what to include? Here's why, when, and how to use a CV, when to use a resume vs. a curriculum vitae, CV writing and formatting guidelines, the differences between U.S. and international CVs, and examples.

When to Use a Curriculum Vitae

When should job seekers use a curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a CV, rather than a resume? In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific, or research positions.

It is also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants.

When seeking a job in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, expect to submit a CV rather than a resume. Keep in mind that overseas employers often expect to read the type of personal information on a curriculum vitae that would never be included on an American resume, such as date of birth, nationality, and place of birth. United States law on what information job applicants can be asked to provide does not apply outside the country.

What to Include in a CV

There are several differences between a curriculum vitae and a resume. A curriculum vitae is a longer (two or more pages), more detailed synopsis of your background and skills.

As with a resume, you may need different versions of a CV for different types of positions.

Like a resume, a curriculum vitae should include your name, contact information, education, skills, and experience.

In addition to these basics, however, a CV also includes research and teaching experience, publications, presentations, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses, awards and honors, and other information relevant to the position you are applying for.

Start by making a list of all your background information, then organize it into categories.

Make sure you include dates on all the publications you include.

Personal Information to Include in an International CV

  • Nationality
  • Marital Status
  • Age
  • Number of children (ages optional)
  • Personal Interests like hobbies
  • All education including high school / secondary school
  • Photos are also recommended (professional headshot is best)

Date of Birth on CVs

Some countries outside the United States expect you to include your date of birth on your CV. If you are applying to a foreign job, research the particular country’s protocol for job applications.

If you are using a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to apply for a job in the United States, due to current laws regarding age discrimination, you cannot be required to include your date of birth on your curriculum vitae.

Customize Your Curriculum Vitae

Once you have made a list of the information you want to include, it's a good idea to create a custom curriculum vitae that specifically highlights the experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for. It takes more time to write a custom CV, but it's worth the effort – especially when you are applying for jobs that are a good match for your skills and experience.

  • Start with a Professional Profile (also called a Summary) that highlights the best of what you as a candidate are offering.
  • Edit content to include those areas of expertise, skills, and knowledge that specifically match the job requirements, not all the details of your education and employment history (work, research, fellowships, etc.) may be relevant.

Review CV Samples and Tips

It's often helpful to take a look at a sample or two before you start writing. Here is a selection of sample CVs, including versions for academia and for international employment, to review:

Curriculum Vitae Examples
These sample CVs form a helpful guide of what to include in your CV and how to format it.

When to Use a Curriculum Vitae Instead of a Resume
In the United States, a curriculum vitae is used when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions.

A curriculum vitae can also be used to apply for fellowships or grants. In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect to receive a curriculum vitae rather than a resume.

Choose an Appropriate Curriculum Vitae Format
Make sure you choose a curriculum vitae format that is appropriate for the position you are applying for. If you are applying for a fellowship, for example, you won't need to include the personal information that may be included in an international CV.

Curriculum Vitae Cover Letters
How to write an effective cover letter to include along with your CV, as well as cover letter samples, how to format a cover letter, and types of cover letters with samples of each.