What is the difference between a CV and a Resume?
While both CVs and resumes contain a history of your major activities, a resume is more heavily focused on professional achievements and work history. A CV, on the other hand, accentuates your academic accomplishments and is a synopsis of your educational and academic background and related information. In addition to your college transcripts, GRE scores, and personal statement, graduate schools will often require applicants to include a CV. The rules for composing a CV for a Master’s or doctoral application are slightly different than those for a standard job application. Let’s take a closer look.
Do I need to provide a CV for admission to college or graduate school?
CVs are used to secure all kinds of jobs—in this case, that job is “grad student”! Even when a graduate program does not explicitly require you to submit a CV, if the school DOES allow you to upload this document, according to many college and university counselors and admissions experts, it is almost always a good decision. Moreover, if you have not already composed an academic CV, now is the perfect time in your career to do so. Here are some reasons why now is an ideal time to create an academic CV:
Like personal statements, CVs are a common grad school application staple (though not all programs require them). A grad school CV serves the same basic purpose as a regular CV: to secure you the job you want — in this case, the position of “grad student.” Essentially, the CV is a sales pitch to grad schools, and you’re selling yourself!
What do the graduate faculty members and admissions committees look for in a CV?
Admissions committees and faculty members want to see that your skills, experiences, and qualifications make you a great fit for their program and university. So before you even begin to compose your CV, consider that your readers will have seen hundreds if not thousands of applicant profiles. Keep these considerations in mind to make your CV stand out:
Major CV Sections and Important Information to Include
The order of information and level of detail you include about each element of your CV is somewhat flexible and is ultimately up to you. But the best CVs will be those that showcase the applicant’s interests and qualifications. Follow these section-by-section details to craft an academic CV that will impress any admissions committee.
Write your full name, home address, contact number, and email address. Include this information at the top of the first page, either in the center of the page or aligned left.
This is a list of the institutions you have attended. Start with your most recent college or university and work backward to high school. Include the name of the institution, where it is located, the type of degree you received, your major, and the dates you attended.
While most first-time applicants to grad school likely won’t have any teaching experience under their belts, any experience tutoring or acting as a teacher’s assistant (both as an undergraduate or graduate student) could be placed in this category.
As with teaching experience, research experience may be rare for first-time grad school applicants. But if you have any assistantships, practica, or other research experiences, list them here.
Honors and Awards
List each award, granting institution, and the date it was awarded. These can run anywhere from university scholarships to teaching assistantships and fellowships, to inclusion on the Dean’s list for having a stellar GPA.
Include any work for which funds were awarded. List the title of the submitting, the name of the awarding institution, the dollar amount of the grant, and the date it was awarded.
Because academic research is heavily dependent upon building databases and analyzing data, relevant experience with statistics and computer modeling and analyzing programs (EXAMPLES) should be highlighted on your CV.
Academic and Professional Experience
List work positions that highlight your skills and qualifications. This might include internships or jobs with administration duties but can include any work that shows your commitment and work ethic as well. Group experiences into relevant categories if you have more multiple elements to include in one category (e.g., “Research,” “Teaching,” and “Managerial”). Your employment history should include work going back four to five years, depending on your age and the extent of your work experience.
You will likely begin publishing work during or after graduate school. If you have published work, separated the various kinds of publications into sections for journal articles, reports, and other documents. If you do not have any formal publication credits to your name, you may also cite work in less academic publications such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, and newsletters that highlight your skills as a writer and thinker.
As with publications, you probably won’t start attending conferences and giving presentations until well into your graduate school career. If you do have this experience, include any presentations you have been involved in, whether you were the presenter or contributed to the visual work (such as posters and slides).
Academic and Professional Membership
Affiliation with professional or academic groups shows admissions committees a willingness to branch outside of the university environment to pursue your interests and network with other like-minded individuals. Include academic/professional groups or societies of which you are a member.
Research and Teaching Interests
In addition to any research or teaching work you have already completed or are currently working on, it is a good idea to discuss directions you would like to take with your research and instruction once you are admitted to graduate school. Be as specific as possible with the topic and even design of your potential research, and name any specific courses or areas of study for which you would be interested in teaching as a TA in individual classes. The more information you can present to admissions committees to show your readiness for graduate-level work will raise your value as a candidate.
Community Service, Volunteer Work, and Extra‐Curricular Activities
Include community and volunteer activities that helped develop your leadership, organization, or other skills that will help you succeed in graduate school.
Additional Relevant Skills and Languages
List other experiences and certifications you have that might benefit you in graduate school. In addition, list any languages in which you are fluent or proficient.
This is usually the final section of an academic CV. If possible, include 3-5 professional and academic references who can vouch for your ability and qualifications and provide evidence of these characteristics.
Formatting Tips for Your College/Graduate CV
Remember that no matter how compelling the content of your CV is, if it isn’t well organized and easy for admissions committee members to read, they probably won’t bother reading through all of your notable achievements and skills. Keep these formatting and organization tips in mind when composing and revising your CV:
Revising and Editing Your CV/Resume
After you have finished composing your academic CV or resume, you still need to ensure that your language is compelling and accurate, that your organization is clear and tidy, and that your documents are free of errors. A good CV will generally take at least three or four revisions before it is ready to send out to university department faculty. Be sure to have a peer or professional editor check your work to ensure that there are no glaring errors or major room for improvement.
For professional editing that is among the highest quality in the industry, send your CV and other application documents to Wordvice Editing Services. Our editors will ensure that your hard work is reflected in your CV and help you get into the college or graduate school of your choice.