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How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae

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Think it's too soon for you to prepare a curriculum vitae or CV? After all, you're in graduate school. Guess what? It's never too early to write a CV. A curriculum vitae or CV (and sometimes called a vita) is an academic resume that highlights your scholarly accomplishments. Although most students compose a curriculum vitae while in graduate school, consider including one in your application to graduate school. A CV provides the graduate admissions committee with a clear outline of your accomplishments so they can determine whether you're a good fit with their graduate program. Begin your curriculum vitae early and revise it as you progress through graduate school and you'll find applying to academic positions after graduation a little less painful.

Unlike a resume, which is one to two pages in length, a curriculum vitae grows in length throughout your academic career. What goes into a CV? Here are the types of information that a vita may contain. The contents of a CV differ across disciplines, and your vita probably will not have all of these sections yet, but at least consider each.

Contact information
Here, include your name, address, phone, fax, and e-mail for home and office, if applicable.

Education
Indicate your major, type of degree, and the date each degree was awarded for each postsecondary school attended. Eventually you'll include titles of theses or dissertations and chairs of committees. If you haven't yet completed your degree, indicate the expected graduation date.

Honors and Awards
List each award, granting institution and the date awarded. If you have only one award (e.g., graduation honors), consider incorporating this information within the education section.

Teaching Experience List any courses that you assisted with as a TA, co-taught, or taught. Note the institution, role held in each, and supervisor. This section will become more relevant during your graduate school years, but sometimes undergraduates are assigned teaching roles.

Research Experience
List assistantships, practica, and other research experience. Include the institution, nature of the position, duties, dates, and supervisor.

Statistical and Computer Experience
This section is especially relevant for research-oriented doctoral programs. List courses that you've taken, statistical and computer programs with which you're familiar, and data analysis techniques with which you're competent.

Professional Experience
List relevant professional experience such as administrative work and summer jobs.

Grants Awarded
Include title of agency, projects for which funds were awarded, and dollar amounts.

Publications
You'll probably begin this section during graduate school. Eventually you'll separate publications into sections for articles, chapters, reports and other documents. Document each publication in the citation style appropriate for your discipline (i.e., APA or MLA style).

Conference Presentations
Similar to the section on publications, separate this category into sections for posters and papers. Use the appropriate documentation style for your discipline (i.e., APA or MLA style).

Professional Activities
List service activities, committee memberships, administrative work, lectures you've been invited to deliver, professional workshops you've delivered or attended, editorial activities, and any other professional activities in which you've engaged.

Professional Affiliations
List any professional societies with which you're affiliated (e.g., student affiliate of the American Psychological Association, or the American Psychological Society).

Research Interests
Briefly summarize your research interests with four to six key descriptors. This is best added during graduate school than before.

Teaching Interests
List courses you're prepared to teach or would like the opportunity to teach. Similar to the section on research interests, write this section towards the end of grad school.

References
Provide names, phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses for your referees. Ask their permission beforehand. Be sure that they will speak highly of you.

Present items chronologically within each category of the CV, with the most recent items first. Your curriculum vitae is a statement of your accomplishments, and most importantly, is a work in progress. Update it frequently and you'll find that taking pride in your accomplishments can be source of motivation.

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