So now you know what a resume is. You know how to write one, and you know that it’s not the same thing as a resume. 

Hopefully, by now, you have a top-notch resume that is a passport to the job of your dreams.  (Pro-tip: It’s not over yet, you gotta keep updating it as you advance in your career.)

Good job! Pat yourself on the back.

Now, what if you’ve been asked for a CV or curriculum vitae, instead? It would be totally reasonable if you frantically saw your whole life flash by as you looked for things to put in it. 

But don’t worry, because writing a CV is a lot easier than it looks – don’t be fooled by the Latin. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how editing and expanding your resume into a CV might be the best way to go about it

Putting together a CV might seem like tedious work, especially since it’s more detailed than a resume. But having a resume to start gives you a basis that you can work with. 

Just to reiterate, a curriculum vitae (“course of life” in Latin) is an overview of background and achievements. It is primarily used within applications in academia,  but also during job applications. 


When to Use a Curriculum Vitae

But first things first. Let’s clear this up: when do you use a CV instead of a resume? 

If your chosen path is academics, then a CV is your ticket to success!
A CV, in this context, is generally used for applying to teaching or research positions within a university. With the goal of pitching yourself as the most suitable applicant for the post, it includes research and teaching experience, publications, grants and fellowships, awards and accolades, affiliations to professional organisations, etc.

Note: Although CVs are mostly used in an academic setting, sometimes they are also requested in job applications. But to save yourself some time and energy, it’s a good idea to have one at hand, anyway. 


What to put in a Curriculum Vitae 


Let’s take it step by step, and start with the information you have in your resume. 

  1. Personal details: Add your name and contact details – phone number, address and email ID. 
  2. Work experience
  3. Education history 
  4. Key Skills 
  5. Accomplishments and Awards 

Now that you have all this down, let’s add to it. 

Since the document is meant to be a record of the “course of your life”, the next step is to make sure that you have everything that you’ve done. We said that a resume should be an overview, right? Scratch that. That doesn’t apply for a CV. 

To your existing information, list down the entire trajectory of your career in your field. As far as the existing sections are concerned, add and expand. If you killed your darling while composing your resume, revive them. Dump everything you’ve ever done in the document. (Don’t worry, this is just the beginning. Editing and organisation with come soon.) Also, add details of grants, fellowships and other things you have done. 

Additionally, add a Professional Summary or Profile. (We’ll tell you what that is, in just a minute.)


Organising Your Curriculum Vitae 

Now that you have all your components in place, your following task is to arrange them in such a manner that it catches the attention of your application reviewer. How you organise or customise is also dependent on the post that you are applying for: as a rule of thumb, though, put the most relevant information first. 

  1. After your name and contact, your profile/summary should be the most prominent part of the beginning of your CV. A profile in a CV is essential since it is basically the first impression that your reviewer has of you. It should be a brief overview of your career, skills and professional goals. In other words, it is an introduction to your CV.
  2. The most pertinent section after this is your work history.
    If you have explored multiple avenues of academia, you have the additional task of prioritizing your career trajectory, depending on what the organisation(s) you are applying to are looking for.
    For example, if you are applying for a teaching post, then your teaching experience precedes research experience. On the other hand, if you are applying to an organization that values your research, then list out your research experience first.
  3. For academicians, education history is also very important. List your education in chronological order, with titles and year of graduation. You could even add the names of your graduating dissertations if you’re applying for a research post.
  4. A list of your publications is really important in a CV. While your skills and work experience give you credibility, interviewers always want proof of your work. A list of your publications (especially within academia) is also an indication of acceptance within your field.
    If you’re writing a CV for a job application, put down details of important projects that you have worked on. Provide evidence of the work you have done.
  5. Additionally, if you have any awards and accolades, add them as well.
  6. The next thing that your reviewer would want to see is a list of your skills in bullet points, in order of importance and relevance. 
  7. If you’re part of (or affiliated with) professional organizations, add them as well – and your designations within the same. This is another way to increase credibility. 
  8. Lastly, if you’re interested, you could add volunteer experience and other personal projects. While in a resume, this information might seem irrelevant, in a CV they showcase your versatility. 


Pretty easy, right? Don’t feel daunted, anymore. You got this! 😉