Writing a CV for Teaching Opportunities in Higher Ed

"A curriculum vitae or CV refers to a document that describes an academic's educational background and professional experience. A CV is similar to a resume, with the important difference that the CV is typically comprehensive and a resume is selective" (Creating and Maintaining Your CV). The purpose of a CV is to provide a holistic overview of your educational background, professional experience, and accomplishments. 

When applying for a teaching opportunity in higher education, often a CV will be requested as part of the application process. Applicant's CV's will be reviewed by the search committee and department heads before a hiring decision is made. For search committee members who often must assess 100 applications in a short time, the CV offers the kind of holistic picture that few other documents can match (The Rhetoric of the CV).

What to Include

A CV should include information about your career history including:

  • Contact information
  • Education background
  • Employment history
  • Teaching experience
  • Areas of expertise
  • Certifications earned
  • Awards granted
  • Professional association memberships/Professional service
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Research
  • Languages
  • References

Within each category, be sure to include complete details including dates of employment, degrees earned and certifications awarded as well as citations for publications, research, and presentations.


A CV may be as long as it needs to be to include information about your comprehensive education and career history. CV's will vary in length based on years of experience. 


Some institutions will request you use their specific CV format for an application while other institutions leave format open-ended. In the case of the later, keep formatting as clean and concise as possible. Use one font consistently throughout. Bold headings to clearly break up the unique sections of your CV. 

Colorado State offers a number of example CV's that may be helpful to reference when drafting your own: https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1330&guideid=62

Proofreading and Revisions

After you have completed a first draft, it is important to have a peer who is familiar with the format of a CV review your CV. Ask a peer to check for format inconsistencies, spelling or grammar errors, and typos. After receiving feedback, review and revise your CV until you are satisfied with the final result. Use the following editing checklist provided by Colorado State University when reviewing your CV.

Editing Checklist:

  • Proofread! Get another pair of eyes to review your work as well.
  • Be consistent with the document's organization - capitalizing, italicizing, bulleting, etc.
  • Make sure your margins are even.
  • Make sure to use the correct verb tense when discussing past activities.
  • Make sure the document is easy to read.
  • Use specific language - concrete nouns and active verbs, avoid passive voice!

Additional Resources

Duke University Career Center: CV Guide

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Writing the CV

Colorado State University: step-by-step guide to Writing a CV

Chronicle of Higher Education: Creating and Maintaining Your CV

Higher Ed Jobs: 6 Tips for Writing a Higher Education CV