our everyday life

How to Write Curriculum Vitae for Job Applications

by Ellie Williams, studioD

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is used mainly in academia and science; professions that place great emphasis on education and credentials such as articles published, grants earned and awards received. While a traditional resume focuses on experience and job duties, a CV concentrates on intellectual and academic pursuits.


With a traditional resume, you usually include your education at the end of the document unless you’re a recent graduate. With a CV, however, you showcase your academic credentials upfront. List your education in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent degree. Include honors such as scholarships, honor rolls and honor societies, graduation honors and memberships in student organizations. Also briefly describe research you participated in or projects such as your master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Publications and Research

In academia and science, you often hear the mantra “publish or perish.” Employers in these disciplines favor candidates with a consistent record of conducting research, publishing their findings and contributing to their professional community through journal articles or opinion pieces. Immediately following your education section, create a publications and research section. Provide extensive details such as where you conducted the research, who you worked with and what results you achieved. Also describe any journal articles or other writings, including the date and place of publication and a brief synopsis.

Work Experience

Despite the focus on education and research, employers reviewing your CV also want to see detailed descriptions of your previous jobs. Omit jobs outside of academia, science or research unless you’re a recent graduate and need to prove your work ethic. While traditional resumes should be limited to one or two pages, a curriculum vitae is meant to provide greater detail. It’s not uncommon, then, for even an entry-level candidate to have a three- or four-page CV. Include as much detail as you need to demonstrate your qualifications and be specific. If you’re applying for a position at a medical lab, for example, discuss your knowledge of relevant medical tests and diagnostic procedures.


A curriculum vitae uses a more formal tone than a traditional resume, and often incorporates highly technical language or industry jargon. Also, while awards and honors always reflect positively on your knowledge and skill, in a CV they’re crucial to portraying you as a motivated, highly skilled professional. Devote extra space to fellowships, grants and other highly competitive honors you’ve earned. Describe the research or proposal you submitted and how it helped set you apart from other applicants.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images