A Curriculum Vitae: Your Personal Career Biography

The academic curriculum vitae (CV) is a condensed, biographical statement that emphasizes your professional qualifications, achievements, and activities. A curriculum vitae presents lists of achievements rather than a narrative presentation of material.  A CV usually begins with “Education” and details of your doctoral dissertation, followed by academic accomplishments, such as awards, presentations, teaching positions, lectures, publications, committees, research, and other relevant professional pursuits.  CV’s are academic- and credential-based, as opposed to being accomplishment-oriented, like a traditional resume.  This format is used for scientists, academics, professors, and physicians.

If you don’t have to use this format – don’t.

For the sake of the reader, try to keep your CV to fewer than 10 pages, if possible, without leaving out important details.  CV’s present you at your best, but they can also alert the reader to weaknesses in any area of your professional credentials.

International Curriculum Vitae

Please note that international CV’s are not the same marketing documents as academic CV’s.  These documents include private information, such as your health status, age, marital status, hobbies, and work visa.

If you are applying to work in countries overseas, you will need to use the international CV format.  If you don’t include personal information, hiring authorities may discriminate against you in their hiring procedures; they may think you are hiding something.

Some other important factors to mention:

  • If you are applying to a non-English-speaking country, have the CV translated into the country’s native language.
  • Mention in the personal section that you are physically fit, in good health, a non-smoker, and a non-drinker.  Include a statement describing your personal attributes relevant to the employer’s interests. Stress the positive, and avoid using any negative information about past employers.  Highlight functional characteristics that indicate a strong work ethic.
  • Use positive quotes from present and past employers; this is a welcome addition.
  • It is a good idea to list culturally appropriate interests on your CV, which will indicate that you will easily adapt to an overseas environment.
  • When developing your cover letter, specifically mention your interest and desire to live in the country where you are applying.
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