Build a Competitive Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Before you apply for a job, it is critical that your application package, including your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), is the best that it can be. Get professional advice for writing your resume or CV, view samples and learn how to tell your unique story.


In This Tab:

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a brief biography of your educational, research and work background used to obtain an interview in the higher education, or research focused job search, usually consisting of three or more pages.

A CV Will Help You:

  • Establish your professional image.
  • Apply for postdoctoral fellowships in the academic or related fields.
  • Promote yourself for employment opportunities, particularly in academic settings.
  • Inform employers about your achievements and activities for annual or tenure review.
  • Describe your areas of expertise when applying for independent consulting.
  • Support your applications for fellowships, grants or other contract funding proposals.
  • Provide information related to professional activities (e.g., application for professional memberships, leadership roles/awards).
  • Introduce yourself when making presentations at professional conferences.
  • Establish credibility when submitting a manuscript proposal to an academic journal or press.

What to Put on Your CV

CVs are designed to highlight your entire career path. Write in chronological order all of your career experiences, research and any accomplishments like publications, awards or honors.

  • Identification information - Name, address (campus/temporary and permanent/home), email, phone numbers and LinkedIn profile
  • Education - Title of academic degree, name of college/university, location (city/state), date of completion, GPA (optional), areas of specialization, title of thesis/dissertation
  • Relevant Work Experience - Title/position, department, institution/organization/company, location (city/state), description of duties
  • Publications - Authors’ names, date of publication, title of article, journal name
  • Special Awards and Honors - Be clear as to what the award/honor is for
  • Presentations - Presenters’ names, title of presentation, name of conference, date and location
  • Recent and Current Research - Short description of research including type and purpose of research
  • Grants Received - Name of grant, granting agency, date received, title/purpose of project
  • Professional Association Memberships - Current memberships only, in alphabetical order
  • Professional Service - Title of leadership positions held, names of association, dates held, responsibilities
  • Community Involvement - Brief description of responsibilities, name of organization, dates
  • Other Competencies - Language competencies, computer skills, international experiences, etc
  • Current Interests - Teaching/research interests, service to profession/department/college/community, etc
  • References - Include names, title/department, organization/institution, contact information

Tips From the Experts

  •  List in chronological order.
  • Pick a format and stick to it. Use consistent spacing, font and format and save as a word document.
  • Try to avoid the use of first and third person pronouns, such as “I,” “he” or “she.” 
  • Spell out all acronyms the first time they are used, followed by the acronym in parentheses e.g., University at Buffalo (UB). 
  • Use a variety of "action words" to bring your skills and experiences to life and avoid using each word more than once. 
  • Use Keywords. Scan the job description, see what words are used most often and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points.
  • Refrain from using slang or jargon.
  • Name Your File Smartly. Save it as “Jane Smith CV” instead of “CV.”
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread. Ask family or friends to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Get it reviewed by an expertHint: We are available during a drop-in appointment, Monday through Friday.

How to Highlight Your Transferable Skills

What skills do you bring? No matter your field of study, it’s important to speak their language and demonstrate how your academic experiences translate to workplace performance.

Additional Resources

Visit the Career Services website for many great resources, including resume, CV, cover letter and thank you note samples.