Academic | Curriculum Vitaes

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Your CV outlines your academic and professional accomplishments. It is to your benefit to tailor your CV to make it easy for an academic search committee to see your strengths and fit for the position, their department and their institution.

Read and Analyze the Job Description

Highlight and use key words from the job description to create a targeted CV that will get you noticed by the search committee and hiring staff. A job description details the ideal candidate the organization is seeking in regards to their scientific training, technical skills, professional skills, and overall fit. If the position is 75% research, 20% teaching and 5% service, then your CV content should reflect these percentages. We mistakenly see many CVs for a research predominant position with 50% of the content focused on teaching, community outreach, mentoring and service.

Tips for Structuring your CV

The basic areas to include are your contact information, education, research experience, grant funding, teaching experience, mentoring experience, publications, presentations, honors and awards, leadership, service, memberships, clinical certifications and licensures and contact information for your references.

  • Unlike a resume, there is no page limit for a CV; but this does not mean you should not pay attention to content. Typically, a postdoctoral fellow’s CV is three to seven pages in length.
  • No single format is ‘the best.’ Craft your CV the way that best represents you and your success. Remember to use as much space on the page as possible, and format the CV in a way that will make it easy for the search committee to read.
  • Pay close attention to how to order your categories and how you present information in each category. Within each section, items should be listed in reverse chronological order. Keep locations and dates of employment/involvement on the right side of the page; the left will hold more important details such as university, degree, job title, job actions, etc.
  • If you are applying to a research-focused position, you should have your research experiences near the top of your CV; whereas, if you are applying for a teaching-focused position, you should highlight your teaching experiences near the top.
  • If you have a history of research grant funding or high impact publications, place these sections front and center in your CV. The key is to include accomplishments that make you stand out from other candidates, like a K Award or a Nature publication. We recommend NOT including lists of travel grants alongside NIH, NSF or Research foundations grants.
  • Including publications that are not published should be done judiciously. Including too many papers in progress may give the impression you have difficulty completing tasks. We recommend putting papers not published into a separate section that denote their publication stage, e.g., Publication Under Review.

Formatting your CV

  • Include your name in a footer or header for every page of your CV and application materials.
  • Utilize a common font, such as Times New Roman or Garamond, and use a font size of 11 to 12 point.
  • Format your CV in a way that does not distract from your content. We recommend the use of bold text, ALL CAPS, and white space so you are left with a professional and clean look.
  • When it comes to personal information, it is not necessary to include your marital status and birth date on your CV. Your nationality should also be omitted.

Additional Resources

Harvard University Office of Career Services CVs and Cover Letters
National Institutes of Health Guide Office of Intramural Training and Education Guide to Resumes and Curriculum Vitae