Constructing a CV

Your CV provides another chance for you to persuade the search committee that (a) your skills and experiences match the position requirements and (b) that you’re a good fit for the departmental team/culture.

Writing a persuasive CV reflects a thoughtful, intentional, analytical effort that involves a careful review of the job posting and alignment of the most relevant items (e.g., categories, items in a bulleted list) early in the document or sections. Simply put, the placement of information will be different for each position you apply to. This means rearranging, not rewriting.

From a hiring perspective, academic search committees generally want answers to the following questions: 

      1. Do you have many or all the requirements listed in the posting?
      2. What is your area of specialization or field of expertise?
      3. Does your research and/or teaching experience match the hiring department’s needs?
      4. Will you quickly be able to make a substantial contribution to the organization or department?
      5. Will you be able to produce tenurable work?
      6. Have you taught students like ours before?
      7. In what ways will you contribute to our department’s and the university’s missions? Will you fit with the culture?
      8. How will your experience/expertise lessen our workload?
      9. Do I know or know of anyone you’ve worked with?

If your CV answers these nine questions, then it’s more likely the committee will screen you “in,” and you’ll make it to the interview stage.

You help a search committee evaluate your application by constructing a CV that’s well organized and easy to read.  Effective use of section headings will guide readers and help them assess your qualifications.  Heading font sizes should vary between section headings and subheadings; whenever you use boldface type (usually for headings) and italics (usually for subheadings) you must use them consistently throughout the document to help with readability.

Depending on your field, the contents of your CV may vary, so it’s important to consult with your advisor or other faculty in your discipline. Ask for a copy of their CV to see what categories they use. Also, the job posting specifics and the mission of the institution should drive the organization of these categories. For example, if you’re applying to a research institution, your research, publications, and grants awarded should be listed first.  Likewise, if you’re applying to a liberal arts institution, you might start with your teaching experience and showcase service activities.