CV (curriculum vitae) Guidelines

Overview

Your CV or curriculum vitae is similar to your resume. It clearly represents your current and past experiences and accomplishments so that your reader can understand the unique value that you bring to a job/internship/academic program. A few important differences to keep in mind about your CV:

  • A CV can be longer than a typical US resume, but still needs to focus on clarity.
  • Has a distinct focus on your academic endeavors (in most North American contexts).
    • CV is interchangeable with resume in some industries and parts of the world.
  • Should include your academic experiences with minimal curation, do not exclude transferrable and relevant experiences.
  • As with a resume, your CV should complement your cover letter not compete or duplicate content.

 

Format

There are no “universal” formatting rules for a CV, however, you can start by following general resume formatting guidelines. Remember to always try to create a clear, concise, and easy to read document. Additional formatting suggestions:

  • As an undergraduate, your CV can start with a 2 page limit but focus on effective use of space not filler.
    • Reminder: reviewers may not look past the first page.
  • Use the additional space to give relevant important information. For example, include the primary investigator, funding source, and overall lab goals for a research experience.
    • Avoid using Wellsley-specific acronyms, terms, or jargon to make sure the off-campus reader can understand your experiences.
  • Review the CVs of faculty, employees, scientists, and others in the institutions, labs, universities/colleges in your areas of interest.
    • Note: You should do this with any potential colleague in your target location(s), whether a particular university or country.
  • Possible sections will vary but some to consider include:
    • Education, Coursework
      • if your transcript is not included or does not adequately demonstrate the relevance, be sure to focus on specific skills/techniques learned and used through projects, papers, etc.
    • Research Experience
      • This can include unpaid experiences paid, project based, upper division coursework, and/or thesis.
      • Don’t forget to include relevant details like research supervisor, location, university or lab, or funding source(s).
    • Presentations & Publications
      • The Ruhlman and Tanner Conferences are Wellesley-specific, assume the reviewer is not from Wellesley.
    • Skills
      • Possible sub headings: lab, data analysis, languages machine or human, etc.
  • You should arrange the order of sections in your CV to highlight information most relevant to the position or application. More important information should be closer to the top, not buried at the end of the second page.

 

Format and Content FAQ

  • What is an appropriate amount of annotation to include in a CV? Certainly we will want the reader to understand the details of our qualifications. However, the assignment instructions also tell us to keep our CV “to the point.” How does one strike that balance?
    • Largely determined by your audience, think about the potential reviewer.
    • For example: standard abbreviations will be understood by specialists in your field but not those outside the field.
       
  • Which types of jobs require a resume vs. a CV?
    • Read and follow application instructions.
    • If an application allows you to choose whether to submit a CV or resume: which will do a better job of showing your fit (your relevant preparation and experience and skills) for the opportunity for which you’re applying?
       
  • If you have an extracurricular that isn't content-relevant to a job application but it demonstrates some skill or character trait that would be desirable for the position, should you include it (even though the connection might not be super obvious)?
    • This can vary by the application but you should leave in experiences that show your preparation, experience, and relevant skills.
       
  • Should we put our high school on the CV? How do we annotate our education?
    • Early in your Wellesley career, relevant high school experiences may be necessary to showcase your fit and preparation for the position. You can expect high school experiences to be dropped completely later on.
      • This does not mean you cannot discuss when appropriate, they just not get valuable space on your CV!
         
  • Is it normal to leave out GPA on the CV? What about resumes? I've seen GPAs on them.
    • For graduate school applications (and for fellowships): think about the context.
      • They’ll have your transcript, and therefore your GPA.
      • If you think it might be more helpful to have them look at your transcript and the whole history of that GPA, then don’t include GPA on your CV.  
      • Might it be more helpful to include information on your cv that isn’t on your transcript, like the GPA in your major and/or the courses most relevant to your proposed graduate work?
    • For other purposes, use your discretion.
      • Not sure what to do? Check in with someone in Career Education. Book an appointment in Handshake or come by pop-ups or drop-ins.
         
  • What if you are applying to positions in a completely different or adjacent field to your undergraduate major or research experiences?
    • You should always highlight any transferable skills and experiences.
    • When in doubt, leave it in! And check in with someone in Career Education. Book an appointment or come by pop-ups or drop-ins.