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Below are four samples of CV’s from our Academic Work Search handbook – available
for reference in the Career Resource Library. Doctoral candidates can get a free
copy when they register for the Graduate Dossier Service.
Creating Your CV
The weight placed on the CV means that you should have it critiqued by several people
and, therefore, it is imperative to begin early. The process essentially involves
- reviewing your academic and scholarly profile and conceptualizing how to order your
- drafting the actual document;
- working on the formatting and visual appearance;
- getting your CV critiqued by a placement officer, or faculty member
- working on additional drafts, incorporating feedback from critiques, and polishing
a final copy.
When drafting your CV and cover letter and preparing for the interview, it is crucial
that you strive to articulate clearly why an employer should hire you. Every posting
should contain a detailed summary of the materials the hiring committee is requesting.
If you have any questions about what is required, follow up with the committee.
After sending your materials you may also want to follow up to ensure their receipt.
While the general format of the CV is fairly consistent across disciplines, you
should consult the Academic Work Search Essentials for specific advice by discipline.
Tailor your CV to each position, and ensure it doesn’t appear to be a generic template.
Keep in mind certain visual and lay-out rules:
- use a font style and size that is easy to read (e.g. Times New Roman 11 or Arial
- use no more than two fonts (one serif and one sans serif);
- use white space to highlight the distinct areas;
- ensure that your name appears in the header of each page after the first one, along
with a page number.
Applying for graduate school?
Most programs will request a CV or resume as part of the application. Although some
programs specifically request a CV, not everyone is in a position to write a formal
CV due to lack of relevant teaching or research experiences (particularly common
for students coming out of an undergraduate degree). In these cases the required
cv will most likely take the form of a modified chronological resume
targeted towards academia. For more advice consult Graduate School: Winning Strategies
for Getting in with or without Excellent Grades
The Essential Components
The following categories can all appear on a CV, though you should pick the particular
set of categories that are most appropriate to disciplinary conventions and your
When organizing information within each category, particularly for categories that
list degrees, publications, awards, etc., remember to list them in reverse chronological
order, with the most recent information appearing first.
Personal information - The first section of any CV is always comprised
of personal information. Name, home address, office address if you have one, email
and phone number should be clear and up-to-date. It can be helpful to include your
citizenship if it makes you eligible to work in the country in which the institution
you are applying to is located. Information on marital status or dependents, religious
affiliation, gender or ethnicity need not and should not be included anywhere on
your CV when applying to positions in North America.
Academic information - This section is sometimes called Education
or Academic Background. If applying directly from a doctoral program, this section
usually comes first, whereas if you are applying from a post-doctoral or faculty
position your experience can appear at the head of your CV Place the date of the
degree at the left-hand margin, with the degree and the institution listed to its
right. Below the listing for your doctoral degree comes the name of your supervisor
and the title of your dissertation, and if relevant, a brief summary and further
details can be included.
Academic Honours and Achievements - Here you can highlight the
special commendations you have garnered for your academic work. If an honour will
not be familiar to those who will be reading your CV, include a brief line explaining
what the award is for. If including undergraduate awards ensure they are highly
Experience - This category is presented in varying ways: you can
choose to combine the two areas into Teaching and Research experience or simply,
Academic Experience, which can highlight the cross-fertilization between your teaching
interests and your research interests, or you can break this information down into
two separate categories, which can be more appropriate when applying to a teaching-intensive
institution. If you have very little to put in either category, it may be best to
combine the two rather than have two separate, scanty categories.
Research Experience - For this section, list all research assistantships
or research projects that you have worked on. For each listing, include information
on the institution, the supervisor, the research group, the subject, and your specific
role. This section is particularly important in the sciences where it is common
for students to work in the labs of various research groups.
Teaching Experience - List relevant teaching experience including
instructorships, teaching assistantships or experiences where you served as a marker.
Include the course title, the course code/level, your title, and the date for each
listing. Include other relevant information, such as class size, and a one-line
description of your responsibilities. Further information about the classes can
be included in your teaching dossier.
Teaching Interests - If you are applying to a teaching-intensive
institution, you can include this section which would precede the Teaching Experience
category. Here you state your area of specialization and areas of competence. If
you aren’t including a separate Statement of Teaching Philosophy, you can include
a brief summary of your philosophy here.
Professional Experience - If you have worked outside of academia
then this should be included in the CV Including this information will explain any
gaps in your academic work and, if highly relevant, it can show your continued engagement
with your topic and demonstrate the diversity of your experience.
Professional Academic and Administrative Experience - Since any
faculty appointment involves some administrative and committee work, this section
can demonstrate to a hiring committee that you will be able to fulfill any commitments
of this nature. Committee work for your faculty, membership on academic councils,
and positions within a graduate student union, committee, or government should be
included in this section.
Publications - This section typically appears near the end of the
CV, followed only by the list of references. Consult the Academic Work Search Essentials
booklet for conventions in your discipline and consult with your department for
best practices. Since your publications are a key marker of your eligibility, it
is imperative that you follow conventions and refrain from padding your list, as
important publications can be overshadowed by material included as filler.
Conference Papers - It is absolutely vital that you separate conference
papers and presentations from published works. However, you must use your own judgment
to evaluate your personal profile: if you have only given a few of each type of
paper, it may be better to group them together than to create multiple categories.
Conference Proceedings - Most departments recommend separating
published conference proceedings from publications that appear in books or journals,
since conference proceedings are often either non-refereed or reviewed with less
rigour than is customary in other venues. If you have a long list of conference
proceedings, you can list them as a separate category, otherwise conference proceedings
can appear as a subcategory under conference papers.
Academic Associations, Affiliations, and Services - List any memberships
of academic associations in your discipline, such as the MLA or APA. If you have
done administrative work or helped organize a conference, this experience should
be listed here as it demonstrates your engagement with your discipline and your
contribution to the wider academic community. Any editorships at journals should
also appear here.
Languages - This category is most common for scholars in the humanities
and social sciences and allows you an opportunity to specify your reading, writing,
and oral fluency in foreign languages.
References- A list of the people who are providing the reference
letters that accompany your application is often included in the CV, though many
people dispense with this category since the letters are solicited in the application
advertisement and the search committee does not have to contact referees to request
them. If you list your referees, include their title and department. Including a
phone number or an e-mail address can be helpful to a search committee that wishes
to follow up with a referee and obtain more information.
The Career Centre offers the Graduate Dossier Service (GDS), which is a confidential
depository of letters of reference, transcripts, and CV’s for U of T doctoral students
and graduates applying to advertised academic positions. This service is offered
up to ten years following doctoral convocation. Inquire at the Career Centre for
Bear in mind that hiring committees will check references. In cases where members
of the hiring committee know your referees, they are particularly likely to speak
to them directly. This can be to your benefit, since it affords your referee an
opportunity to inform the committee in further detail about you and your work. This
makes it all the more important to keep referees apprised of where you are currently