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CV Writing

What is a CV?

Audience: Colleagues with a shared experience, fellow faculty, typically with expertise in your or an adjacent field.

When to use: Your CV is typically used to apply for academic fellowships/grants and positions within academia (i.e. postdocs, temporary faculty appointments, and TT positions). An exception to this could be teaching roles at community colleges explicitly calling for resumes.

Content: There is no page limit to an academic CV, but the format does vary by field. For interdisciplinary researchers, who may be applying to a variety of departments, make sure to read the CVs of faculty in the discipline/department to which you are applying. In general, a good place to start building your documents is by looking over your advisor/PI/committee members’ CVs.

Although there are no restrictions on length, you do need to consider accessibility of the document, selecting structure that is consistent and in reverse chronological order. Employ continuity in use of bolds, italics, underlines and capitalization to draw attention across CV sections.  For example:



Service to the Department
Graduate Student Representative, History Dept. Professional Development Committee             2018-20XX
Role description.

Service to the University 
President, Graduate Women Across Northwestern (GWAN)                                                              2019-20XX
Role description.

When you write you various role descriptions, think about the value you added in each experience and how you worked. Avoid having a list of roles alone, or descriptions of the department, class, committee, etc. without situating your contribution as the focus. Refrain from the narrative “my duties included” and first-person in general. For some fields, you will write verb driven bullets; for others, you will develop abridged, abstract-like descriptions.

Content Considerations: You won’t have one CV, but several curated to the type of role you’re applying to. Research intensive positions, for example, might prioritize research experience, grants, and publications, with regards to your curated content. Conversely, teaching focused positions would lead not with research, but experience teaching, relevant certifications from Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching, and the like.

Things to exclude: Information regarding your age, citizenship status, marital status, race, or sex should not be included on your resume.

A sample CV template with suggested categories and sub-categories to consider for your experiences, though your final document may include additional sections (i.e. patents, outreach, etc) will be available as a PDF soon.