Writing A Vitae
A special resume format used most often in higher education is a curriculum vitae, or CV (curricula vitae is the plural form). The primary difference between a CV and a resume is that a CV is more comprehensive, and contains every presentation made, publication written, all professional development activities, and professional affiliations - with no gaps in work history or education. The English translation of the Latin CV is course of life, which helps in understanding the difference between a CV and a resume.
Content of a Vitae
- State this information at the top of the first page. Include your name, address, and home phone number in addition to your work number (if you want to be reached during business hours), and e-mail address.
- State your name and page number on subsequent pages at the top, in case the pages become separated.
- List your educational experiences in reverse chronological order with the highest degree earned or expected first.
- State the institution and location, degree and year received or expected, major, and area of specialization, if applicable. Either the institution or the degree can be listed first, depending on which you want to emphasize.
- Do not list high school information.
- Do not list grade point averages. You may, however, indicate that you graduated with distinction or cum laude, etc.
- Additional coursework or private study (particularly for Fine Arts students) can be included in the Education section or after your formal studies have been listed.
- You may list qualifying, comprehensive or preliminary examinations passed (optional). Do not list all your graduate courses because they will be included on your transcript.
- Doctoral degree holders should list, under their Ph.D. or Ed.D., the title of their dissertation. A short (two or three line) summary of the research is appropriate. Master’s students may list their thesis title.
- List your academic and professional awards.
- Honors and awards can be listed within the Education or Professional Activities section instead, if desired. Consider this option if you have a few awards and do not want a separate section of Honors/Awards. They can also be listed in the Experience section under a specific position if you earned them while on the job.
Military Experience (Optional)
- List rank held, years of service and describe your position responsibilities. Include any special awards and commendations.
- List full or part-time experiences in reverse chronological order.
- Provide title of the position, location, and dates of employment; a brief description of duties, and key accomplishments.
- Indicate any unique responsibilities you may have had such as “designed the course,” “selected texts,” or “team taught.” Do not over-emphasize routine tasks such as grading papers. Emphasize your accomplishments.
- Professional employment can be subdivided into subheadings if you have had a variety of professional experiences. Typical subheadings could be: Teaching, Research, Consulting or Administration.
- Teaching assistantships, internships, practica, and field experiences may be included. Include summer or short term jobs if professionally relevant.
Performance or Exhibit Experience (For Fine Arts Majors)
- This category allows you to highlight your performance and exhibit experiences.
- List both professional and non-professional activities which may include: dances performed and/or choreographed, plays acted in or directed, one person shows, MFA exhibits, symphonies, performances, student and faculty recitals, etc.
Teaching and Research Interests
- Use this section to demonstrate your range of teaching/research interests, especially if your education and experience do not highlight all of your interests. Present a balance of interests including courses you are able to teach as well as any special research areas.
- Include completed publications or those in press, cited in full using the style customary in your field.
- Do not include: unpublished dissertations, addresses, conference papers, work in progress or projected work. The following categories may be used as alternatives for these: Publications and Professional Activities, Proposed Research, Research Interests, Publications and Presentations, Research and Scholarly Activities, and Professional Activities.
- Indicate the languages in which you are fluent and the level of fluency (e.g., German: excellent speaking, fair reading and writing).
Professional Activities/Affiliations/Memberships/Licenses/Academic Service
- List activities that contribute to your professional credentials (e.g., association memberships, conference presentations, committee assignments, other professional activities).
- If you have extensive community service activities, (e.g., Rotary, NOW, Youth Counselor, Red Cross Volunteer, etc.) you should have a separate category called Community Service. This is particularly helpful if applying for community college positions.
(Select one of the following options.)
- Available upon request.
- List the names of your references, their department, and institution.
- List the names, complete mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of individuals providing letters of recommendation on your behalf.
There are several technical aspects of vita development. The length is generally determined by the content. The more experience you have, the longer the vita. In academia, it is acceptable for someone with a master’s degree to have a three or four page vita. Good vitae, however, are still summaries and contain no complete sentences.
Keep your vita current. Since your vita can become obsolete quickly as you complete research projects and present at conferences, carefully review your vita periodically to improve and update it. Consider these simple rules for format:
- Be consistent
- Do not mix styles in any categories (if you are annotating entries under employment history, then do so for every entry).
- Short phrases, succinct word choice and action verbs are desirable. Avoid complete sentences and “I” statements.
- Name and page number on each page (no page number on first page).
- Do not use double entries, i.e., do not list an activity more than once.
- Do not mix chronological order, list entries in reverse chronological order.
- Appropriate length: 3-5 pages for recent Ph.D. recipients. The length of the vita normally corresponds to the amount of experience.
- Proofread your vita several times to catch grammatical and typographical errors. Have at least one other person proofread it also.
- Choose a conservative paper color (shades of white, gray, tan)
- Use high quality paper (bond paper).