I need a CV to complete my application for a graduate program in divinity — and I have no idea where to start! I did some Googling to try and find a good template, style guide, or even sample and immediately got stuck in a black hole of garbage career advice websites. Could anyone recommend a website or app I can use to generate a quality CV, or at least a style guide?
I’d also like some advice on the content — I am a professional community organizer with some certifications, some degrees, some awards, and some panel seats. The advice I got from the admissions office was to “put everything that could possibly be related” on the document.
Thanks for any help anyone can give. I’ve been at this for hours and I’m about to huck my nerdbox out the kitchen window. -elizadactyl
Time for a little work experience peacocking, eh? I have my Master’s in American Studies and in September I’ll be starting my PhD in English. I’ve known the importance of having a good, up-to-date CV since my last couple years of undergrad. And I also know the mire of terrible and click-baity career websites that spring up when you search for help on this topic.
The best and easiest way to write a good CV is to look at someone else’s CV. Whose, you ask? Why, your favourite professor’s. Go to their university website. They will most likely have a link directly on their contact page with their CV. This is the best way to look at what is necessary, what the format should be, and what to emphasize.
But just as an overview or guide to reading your professor’s CV, let’s run down what’s important to know — in excruciating detail.
- CVs, or curriculum vitaes, are different from résumés in that they include all information pertinent to the academic position to which you’re applying. They don’t include how you worked as a server for four years during undergrad.
- They don’t have a page limit, whereas résumés should be kept to two pages maximum.
- They also don’t have any of the “action verb” lines describe what the job entailed that résumés have… making them instantly better.
Your headings (use all that apply):
Order these headings based on what you’re applying to. If you’re applying to a program, put education first.
- Employment: at universities, specifically: TAships, RAships, Fellowships, Professorships; but also any tutoring, teaching, writing, editing… or any other positions you think are important to show off. Note that if you’ve taught full courses, the info for the specific courses should be included in another section (see below).
- Education: all of your previous degrees and applicable distinctions.
- Publications: any papers, book reviews, book chapters, books you have published. Note when articles were peer-reviewed. List all publications in MLA format (or Chicago or APA depending on the program — but keep consistent!). List items in order of most recent to least recent, under separate headings for each type of publication.
- Conference presentations: papers you’ve presented at conferences, listed in this format: “Title of Paper.” Name of conference, location of conference. Date of conference. List items in order of most recent to least recent.
- Honors and Awards: any grants, prizes, scholarships you’ve been awarded since the beginning of your academic career.
- Service: any positions you’ve held on committees or councils.
- Certifications: any certifications that could be important: ESL teaching, for example.
- Teaching: courses you’ve taught in order of most recent to least recent.
- Your research interests: keywords applicable to your research and work.
- Supervision: if you’ve worked as a faculty member and you’ve supervised a thesis, list it as well.
- Languages: languages you speak and your proficiency in them
- Memberships: if you’re a member of any academic institutions (particularly those to which membership is granted only through a committee), list it here.
- References: all academic (name and institution only suffices usually).
When to include non-academic work
On my CV, I include some writing, researching, and editing positions that have nothing to do with academia. This is because I believe that schools would be interested in someone who uses academic skills in the workplace. I also include any paid or volunteer position I have where I use social media or programs like Adobe Creative Suite. This is less important for applying to school, but if I want to be competitive in the extremely difficult academic market when it comes to jobs, I want to show that I can wear many hats. It shows I’m a self-learner who is up-to-date with technology (especially as more and more classes move online).
- Keep it updated! Whenever you get a new position or publish something new, add it to your CV immediately and save time later on.
- If a conference or publication is forthcoming, include it and just note that it’s forthcoming.
- Always save as a PDF for online applications or emails.
- Don’t be too fancy. Go for legibility!
- Include, duh, all your contact information at the top.
I stripped mine down and made a template for you! Just download it, open it in Word, and add in your own deets.
One more thing
I put my CV online as a tumblr page. I bought my full name as a URL and it redirects to the tumblr. It’s a good idea to own your name’s URL to make sure the real you comes up when you’re searched (and hopefully you get to it and can keep it before others with your name do). Use your middle name(s) if you have to. When applying for positions, it’s all about standing out from the crowd. Pros:
- I like being able to point to a page that included all of my work in one place.
- I noticed that employers generally are pretty impressed when I tell them that they can see my CV online, too. They like the information-super-highway-ness of it all.
- I can inject a bit of my personality, which can help me stand out.
- Of course, when you apply to schools, they’ll want the PDF file itself — but if you put it online, you can hyperlink to conference programs, publications, and other things that might stand out to your CV’s reader.
PHEW. Okay Homies: what tips do you have?