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Curriculum Vitae (CV) Building

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is an academic resume and is one of the most important parts of your application. A CV is similar to a career resume but there are some important distinctions between the two. There are several different components to the CV such as education, extracurricular activities (volunteer experience, research experience, and clubs), and honors/awards.



  • Length: Short

  • Length: As long as it needs to be

  • Content: All-inclusive summary of skills, experiences, and education

  • Content: Area-specific listing of education and academic background

  • Purpose: Get employment (or interview)

  • Purpose: Detailed background and qualifications

Source: See footnote

Don’t forget, a CV needs to be...

• Clear: Well-organized and logical

• Concise: Relevant and necessary

• Complete: Includes everything you need

• Consistent: Don’t mix styles or fonts

• Current: Up-to-date1

          Sections on the CV

Always Optional
Education (Always the first section)
  • In chronological order with the most recent institution and degree listed first
  • Brief description of academic and professional goals
Honors and Awards
  • Include just the title and date of the honor, award, or scholarship
  • These should be academic or professional
Certifications and Licensure
  • List any relevant certifications or licenses obtained
Extracurricular and Volunteer Experience
  • Long term and relevant positions are most important
  • Include academic clubs and affiliations
  • Include dates
Professional Affiliations
For example:
  • American Psychological Association
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology

For more information about joining professional affiliations click here
Professional Experience (Employment)
  • Only include if the position has relevance to the prospective program
  • Include a brief description of your duties
Professional Activities
  • Workshops, conferences, seminars attended
Interests and Relevant Coursework
  • Professional interests related to the program(s) of interest
  • Completed courses and grades earned for courses relevant to program
  • List any research labs and/or projects
  • Professional and academic persons who are familiar with your work
  • Most schools require a minimum of two references
Publications and Presentations
  • Published articles/research
  • Research or workshops presented at conferences and seminars

For more information on each of these sections and more, please download the following PDF file.

Ige-Writing the cirriculum vitae: What you really need to know right now. UCLA

Ige, B. K. (2007, February). Writing the cirriculum vitae: What you really need to know right now. UCLA Graduate Division Home Page. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from