Purpose

A curriculum vitae or résumé* presents the achievements of your professional and academic life in such a way that anyone who reads it will quickly and easily be able to find the information they want. Think of your CV as an advertising brochure that sells a product, and the product is you. We presume that you are a good product that employers would want to buy you if they realised how good you are; unfortunately, employers, like the rest of us, often buy the best marketed product, not the best product. Your CV is the one chance you have to persuade that employer or PhD program that you are the right person for them.This page provides guidelines and suggestions to help you use that chance effectively. At the end you will also find a practice activity where you can identify the errors of a bad CV, and two examples of 'good' CVs. For more examples of CVs and further useful tips and suggestions, take a look at the Student Services 'Career and Study Abroad' manual.

*In the US, a curriculum vitae is usually a document for academic purposes. A similar document which focuses on getting a job is called a résumé. In Britain, the term résumé is not usually used, and if it is, it is a synonym for CV. Ultimately, what matters is less what you call your document and more whether it has the appropriate content and presentation. On this page, much of the time, except where indicated, the terms are used as synonyms.