About the CV and Letter of Application
should use a curriculum vitae?
The curriculum vitae (or CV) is
an essential document in applications for academic employment. Persons applying
for teaching, research, and some administrative positions are expected to submit
a CV along with a rather detailed letter of application and other supporting
materials. The CV is also used by professional educators who are seeking
positions in school administration and other education-related careers.
Generally, academic institutions are the only employers who want to see
a CV. Most other employers in private business and government strongly prefer a
short, one-page resume; sending these employers a CV can, in fact, be
counterproductive. When in doubt, check with your advisor or career counselor as
to whether to send a CV or a resume.
What is a curriculum vitae,
and what is it used for?
A curriculum vitae is much like a
resume, only much longer and more detailed. The CV generally ranges from two to
dozens of pages in length, depending upon such factors as the extent of one's
research record or the stage of one's career. Entry level CV's in higher
education tend to be only a few pages in length.
In applying for
positions in higher education, the CV generally takes the place of the printed
application form. Typically, a position announcement for an assistant
professorship will ask for a letter of application, a CV, a writing sample and
other supporting documents. At the community college level, one does encounter
standard application forms, but it is a good idea to enclose your CV along with
these completed forms when applying.
Besides mailing the CV with
application materials, you should carry a few copies to any interviews or site
visits. You should generously give a copy to everyone with whom you interact
during your visits.
What is the proper use of the terms "vitae"
and "vita" and "CV"?
The minutiae of this controversial
question remain the topic of vigorous debate. However, a recent issue of the
Chronicle of Higher Education served to standardize the usage somewhat
by passing along the following information:
The term "curriculum vitae"
translates as something close to "course of life." The term "vita" translates as
simply "life." The correct label for one's (single) document can be either
"curriculum vitae" or simply "vita." In other words, one does not use the term
"vitae" by itself, nor does one write "curriculum vita".
conversation we often hear academicians call this document a "CV," thus avoiding
the Latin forms altogether. This practice is widely accepted, but we do not
recommend your putting "CV" at the top of your curriculum vitae for employment
applications. It is better to use one of the two acceptable forms shown above.
What information should I include on my vita?
The curriculum vitae is your opportunity to present yourself and your
qualifications in the format of your choice. It is important to keep in mind
that the vita is your document, and as such you want it to present you in the
best possible light with regard to the position for which you are applying. The
format and categories used on vitas can vary among the academic disciplines, and
we cannot overemphasize the importance of working closely with a graduate
advisor in your specific academic department with regard to the details of your
curriculum vitae. The suggestions and samples in this packet are to be used as a
generic model only, as the style and contents of CV's vary from major to major.
- In general, DO include any and all information that is pertinent to your
qualifications for the job. The following is a list of possible categories of
information to include:
- Name, Address(es), Phone Number(s), Email Address
- Objective: What exactly are you applying for?
- Academic Preparation: College degrees with details
- Relevant Work Experience
- Specific Skills: Computer programs, Lab techniques, etc.
- Papers etc. submitted for publication
- Current research interests
- Paper/Posters presented at conferences
- Grants received
- Professional organization memberships
- Professional services
- Honors and awards
This list is suggestive and not exhaustive, and
again we strongly urge your consultation with an advisor in your academic field
in choosing the appropriate categories.
On the other hand, DO NOT
include on your curriculum vitae the kinds of personal information that have
nothing to do with your qualifications for the position. Here are some items
that range from tasteless to illegal if included. Do not list your height,
weight, or any other physical characteristic. Do not give your age, marital
status, sexual preferences, racial or ethnic identity, political or religious
affiliations, place of birth, or other information of this kind. Do not attach a
Your finished CV should be on good quality, standard 8.5 X
11 inch paper that is white (or something very close to white). It should, of
course, be typed or printed on one side of the page only, and copies should be
neat and letter-quality dark. It is acceptable to staple the pages in the upper
left corner. Make the layout look highly organized and easy to peruse. Use
capitals, underlines, bold print and bullets appropriately to lead the reader's
eyes where you want them to go. Use ample blank space between sections, and
leave generous margins on all four edges. This is not a time to save paper. Make
the most important information stand out on the left side of the page. Create a
document that welcomes the reader's attention.
Do you have any
advice on the letter of application?
Yes. Take it very
seriously. Make it perfect. Make it compelling. The letter of application is
your chance to convince the employer that you ought to be interviewed. Employers
read letters of application carefully, searching for clues and information on
which to base their decisions.
A standard, generic form for the letter
of application is (1) to introduce yourself, (2) to state briefly what you want,
what position you are applying for, (3) to state clearly why you are qualified
for the position, (4) to elaborate as to your special assets, why you are
particularly well suited for the job, (5) to highlight your most important
training, experiences, skills and accomplishments, and (6) to end with a
compelling statement as to why the employer ought to hire you.
Where can I go for more information?
valuable source of help on your CV and letter is your graduate advisor in your
own academic department. The career library in the Career Center also contains
resource materials on writing the curriculum vitae.
For help in getting
started and for advice on more general matters of the job search in higher
education, UCR students can feel free to call the Career Center at (909)
787-3631 to make an appointment with the appropriate Career
Counselor. Also, registered students can air their questions from their
computers through Careerserv.
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Curriculum Vitae and Letter
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