BIO2289 Spring 2012 CV

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Curriculum Vitae Assignment

Curriculum vitae is a Latin phrase meaning "course of life". It is often abbreviated as C.V. The goal of a C.V. is to convey to potential employers (or research supervisors) all of your skills and experiences that are relevant to the position you are seeking. C.V.s are used instead of resumes for applications to most academic positions, including undergraduate research positions. There is no length limit for a C.V. Thus, it should contain a comprehensive list of your relevant educational experiences and accomplishments.

In drafting a C.V., you should think about both content and formatting. You want this document to make it easy for potential employers to see why you're an excellent candidate for their position!


Below are some examples of categories it might be appropriate to include on your undergraduate C.V. I don't expect everyone to have everything--this is more to give you an idea of the kinds of content you should be thinking about. Categorizing your accomplishments helps make your C.V. easy to navigate. For each entry within a category, include a brief description of the relevant information/position/award, etc., and also dates (e.g., of employment, club membership, lab experience) when appropriate. At this stage of your career, I'd suggest a broad view of what counts as relevant. Your name and contact information should appear at the top of the C.V.

Possible categories:

  • Education (degree pursuing, expected degree date) or Academic Background. Some, but not all, students include their GPA. This usually comes first in a C.V.
  • Research experience (if you have any)--give some basic information: title of the project, program research done in (if applicable), lab advisor, brief summary of what you did, skills acquired.
  • Scientific presentations or publications (not expected at this stage, but if you have them, highlight them!)
  • Academic awards/grants/fellowships/honors/scholarships (This information could be split into multiple categories.)
  • Relevant employment or internship experiences (At this stage, most employment experiences would be relevant.)
  • Relevant coursework
  • Lab or field skills
  • Other relevant skills (e.g., computer skills, language skills; could be combined with lab skills)
  • Relevant extracurricular activites/leadership
  • Volunteer/Service/Outreach experience
  • References (not needed for this assignment, but if you're applying for a program that requires references, you should list the names and contact information of the people you've asked to write on your behalf.)

Think something you've done is relevant, but it doesn't fit any of the above? Make up a category so that you can include it.


Once you've identified the content you'd like to include, the next step is to package it effectively. The first step is to group information into categories (along the lines suggested above). Then use formatting to make your C.V. easy to navigate. There is no standard format you have to follow. The section headings and ordering of sections are quite flexible. You want to make sure important information is early in the C.V., and also highlight your most impressive attributes up front. So adjust the exact categories and order of information to make yourself stand out! You should select a font that's easy to read and apply a standard formatting for headers and subheaders. Include dates where appropriate. Proofread your C.V. carefully. Typos and inconsistencies leave a bad impression.


Career Services offers feedback on C.V.s. It's always good to get multiple opinions on documents like this, since they'll be viewed by a lot of different people (with difference opinions) over the course of your career. You might also exchange C.V.s with a friend, both to give them feedback and to get ideas from what others are doing. I encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity for feedback!