Q: What is normally included in a curriculum vitae?

Q: I am responding to a library job in academia, and they are requesting a “curriculum vitae.” Can you help me out? What is normally included in this, and what kind of format is acceptable?

Thank you,
Academic Library Job Seeker

SN: The words “resume” and “curriculum vitae” (CV) are frequently used interchangeably, though there are some differences. Both are used to outline and describe your educational background and professional experience when you’re job hunting. While resumes tend to be fairly short (one to two page) summaries of your accomplishments, CVs are meant to be comprehensive biographical statements that provide information on all of your professional qualifications and activities. As such, CVs can be lengthier than resumes; the longer you’ve been working, the longer your CV will be. (As your CV gets longer, older material can be weeded as appropriate.)

Your CV would include contact information, degrees, previous employment experience, and information on any professional involvement or creative activities you’ve undertaken, such as committee work, presentations, professional memberships, grants received, workshops and certifications, and publications. These are normally organized in reverse chronological order.

If you’re new to academic libraries, or right out of school, your first CV may be relatively short. Don’t be shy, though, about mentioning any professional involvement. Did you serve on a student chapter of a library organization while in school? Participate in an internship? Write a successful grant application? Participate in a conference poster session? Once you’re hired in an academic library, you’ll be surprised how quickly your CV will fill up. Most academic librarians, particularly those on a tenure track, are involved in committee work (either voluntarily or not!) both within the library and their institution.

RSG: You will see CVs requested most often in academia due to the fact that academic institutions tend to have different requirements for applicants than public libraries and corporations. While they seek someone who can “do the job,” they also may be looking for a new faculty member who will fit into the academic environment, be able to fulfill tenure requirements, and so on. Academic hiring committees want to see evidence of a history of extracurricular activity and professional involvement, which can more easily be shown on a CV than on a shorter resume. Keep in mind the specific factors a hiring committee may be looking for, and stress your relevant accomplishments and activities.

See also Colorado College’s guide to CVs, which includes a helpful list of possible sections to include.

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