PhD Admissions: CV/Resume

One of the most important aspects of your grad school application is the curriculum vitae (CV). A CV is slightly different from a resume in that it mainly focuses on your academic and non-academic accomplishments related to your field. Another difference is that most resumes are usually one page, whereas a CV can be as long as you need it to be. The rule of thumb when writing a CV is that you should start by listing achievements from your freshman year of undergrad, leaving out anything from high school. Besides your name and contact info (e.g., home address, email address, and phone number), here are some other sections that you can include in your CV:

Also, most programs will accept a resume (rather than a CV) if you are someone who has been out of school for the past few years and in the workforce. Here is a document to check out about writing a grad school resume and an article about how to write a clear, compelling CV.

My personal tips for writing an effective CV are similar to those listed in the Science Magazine article, but here are three that I wanted to mention:

PRO TIP #1: Feel free to include other sections in your CV such as mentoring and teaching experience if you have any. I didn’t include those in my “CV flashcards” because of my lack of experience in those areas, but definitely add them!

PRO TIP #2: If you are not really sure what you want yours to look like, try looking up the CVs of professors and grad students in your field to get some ideas. These are normally listed on school/program websites as well as personal websites.

PRO TIP #3: PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. PROOFREAD. PLEASE! Although admissions committees will be forgiving if you have a small typo (e.g., using “a” instead of “an”), you don’t want that to taint their first impression of you.

I also wanted to share my CV with you all so that you can get a sense of what one can look like. I started working on mine in 2016 when I was applying for a scholarship and have been updating it ever since!

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