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Vancouver IslandUniversity

Developing an Academic CV

Academic CV Resource

Introduction to the Academic CV Resource

Welcome to the Vancouver Island University Centre for Experiential Learning's Academic CV Resource page. This comprehensive guide is designed to assist VIU students from all academic programs, from undergraduate to graduate levels, in crafting effective and impactful academic CVs. Whether you're applying for research positions, graduate school, fellowships, or academic employment, your CV is a crucial document that showcases your academic journey and achievements. Our resource provides a detailed checklist, tailored suggestions, and insights to guide you through each step of developing a CV that reflects your scholarly identity and trajectory. Utilize this guide at your own pace or as a foundation for one-on-one appointments with our career counselors. Our goal is to empower you to present your academic and professional experiences compellingly and accurately, paving the way for your future success. 

What is an Academic CV?

An academic CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a comprehensive document that outlines an individual's academic career and accomplishments. Unlike a standard resume, which is typically brief and focused on work experience, an academic CV is a more detailed and extensive record. It's commonly used in the academic, research, and scientific communities.

Key Characteristics of an Academic CV

  • Length and Detail: Academic CVs are often longer than traditional resumes, as they provide a thorough account of one's academic journey, including education, research, publications, presentations, teaching experience, and more.
  • Focus on Academia: The content is predominantly academic and research-oriented, showcasing scholarly achievements, research interests, and academic services.

When to Use an Academic CV

  • Graduate School Applications: When applying for master’s or doctoral programs, an academic CV is often required to provide a comprehensive view of your academic background.
  • Research Positions: For roles in research labs or projects, an academic CV details your research experience, methodologies, and results.
  • Academic Jobs: If applying for faculty positions, postdoctoral fellowships, or other academic roles, an academic CV is essential to demonstrate your academic credentials and contributions.
  • Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships: When applying for financial support for academic endeavors, an academic CV helps in showcasing your academic merit and potential.
  • Conferences and Symposia: For presenting at academic conferences or submitting papers, an academic CV often accompanies your proposal or presentation.

Guidelines for Undergraduate Students

Undergraduates often create academic CVs for applications to research positions, graduate school, or scholarships. Here's what to focus on:

  1. Education: Clearly state your current institution, degree program, and expected graduation date. Include relevant coursework, honors, and awards.
  2. Research Experience: If you have participated in any research projects, even if they are part of your coursework, detail these experiences. Include the project title, your role, and any notable outcomes.
  3. Work Experience: Include any part-time jobs, internships, or volunteer work, emphasizing skills and experiences relevant to your academic and career goals.
  4. Academic Achievements and Awards: Highlight any scholarships, honors, or awards you've received during your undergraduate studies.
  5. Extracurricular Activities: Leadership roles in clubs, sports teams, or student organizations can demonstrate transferable skills like teamwork, leadership, and time management.
  6. Skills and Certifications: List relevant skills such as language proficiency, computer skills, laboratory techniques, etc.
  7. References: Include professors or mentors who can vouch for your academic abilities and character.

Guidelines for Graduate Students

For graduate students, the academic CV is more detailed, reflecting a higher level of academic and research experience:

  1. Advanced Education: List all post-secondary education, including your current program, past degrees, and any relevant academic distinctions or honors.
  2. Research Experience: Provide detailed information about your research, including thesis/dissertation titles, methodologies, findings, and any publications or presentations resulting from your work.
  3. Teaching Experience: If you have teaching experience, such as being a teaching assistant or instructor, detail these roles, including course titles and responsibilities.
  4. Publications and Presentations: List any academic publications, conference presentations, posters, or talks, following the citation style common in your field.
  5. Professional Experience: Include positions related to your field of study, especially those involving research, project management, or industry collaboration.
  6. Academic Service and Leadership: Highlight any roles in academic committees, professional organizations, or review boards.
  7. Grants and Fellowships: Detail any competitive funding you've received for your research or studies.
  8. Professional Affiliations: Membership in professional societies can demonstrate your commitment to your field.
  9. References: Provide contacts who can attest to your academic, research, and professional qualifications.

Guidelines for Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellows have unique experiences and achievements that need to be effectively communicated in their academic CVs. This section is tailored to help Postdocs showcase their advanced academic and research credentials.

  1. Advanced Research Experience

    • Detail your postdoctoral research, including project titles, objectives, methodologies, and outcomes.
    • Highlight any collaborative projects and your specific contributions.
  2. Publications and Scholarly Work

    • Provide a comprehensive list of publications, including journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings.
    • Mention any significant in-progress or under-review works, clearly stating their status.
  3. Conferences and Presentations

    • List presentations delivered at national and international conferences.
    • Include any invited talks or keynote speeches, which demonstrate recognition in your field.
  4. Grant Writing and Research Funding

    • Detail grants and funding you have secured, including the title of the grant, the funding body, and the amount awarded.
    • Highlight your role in collaborative grant applications.
  5. Teaching and Supervisory Experience

    • Include courses taught, curriculum development activities, and any innovative teaching methods employed.
    • Detail your experience in supervising or mentoring graduate or undergraduate students, if applicable.
  6. Professional Development

    • Mention any workshops, courses, or seminars you have attended that contribute to your professional growth.
    • Include certifications or additional training relevant to your field.
  7. Academic Service and Leadership

    • List your involvement in departmental committees, editorial boards, or professional organizations.
    • Highlight any leadership roles and the impact of your contributions.
  8. Career Goals and Trajectory

    • If relevant, include a brief statement outlining your future career aspirations, showing how your past experiences align with these goals.
  9. References

    • Provide contacts who can attest to your academic, research, and professional qualifications, including senior researchers, supervisors, or collaborators.

Additional Tips

  • Continuous Update: Regularly update your CV to reflect new achievements and experiences. 
  • Professional Development Resources: Visit the VIU Career Studio, engage with your faculty or program advisors and talk to professionals already working in your chosen field to learn what might be expected, or to increase your chances of success. 


For a more detailed understanding and additional resources, you can also refer to the guidelines provided by Princeton University's Center for Career Development , Cornell University's Graduate School , and Columbia University's Center for Career Education. These resources offer comprehensive insights into creating effective academic CVs for both undergraduate and graduate students, tailored to their specific academic and career goals. 

A CV on top of a laptop upon a bed

Ready to craft your academic CV? Click here to download our Academic CV Template! Whether you're an undergraduate or graduate student, our template guides you through structuring and detailing your academic achievements and experiences, setting you up for success.

Academic CV Template
A checklist

Checklist for Developing an Academic CV

Steps to developing an Academic CV:

  1. Understand the Opportunity

    • Gain a solid understanding of the type of opportunity you are applying for.
    • Tailor the CV to align with the specific requirements and focus areas of the opportunity.
  2. Gather Basic Information

    • Contact details: Name, phone number, email address, and professional website (if applicable).
    • Education: List institutions, degrees, majors, and dates of graduation or expected graduation.
  3. Review Academic Achievements

    • List academic honors, awards, scholarships, and fellowships.
    • Include any relevant coursework or projects.
  4. Detail Research Experience (if applicable)

    • Name of the lab or department, position held, location, and dates of involvement.
    • Brief description of the project, role, primary methods used, and key findings.
  5. List Publications and Presentations

    • Include scholarly publications: journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings.
    • Presentations at conferences or symposia, including details like format (poster or oral presentation).
  6. Highlight Teaching Experience

    • Courses taught or assisted, institution name, position held, location, and dates.
    • Brief description of roles and responsibilities.
  7. Add Professional Experience

    • Include relevant jobs, internships, or volunteer positions.
    • Detail organization, role, location, and dates, along with a brief description of accomplishments.
  8. Showcase Leadership and Extracurricular Activities

    • Include positions held in student organizations, community service, and other relevant activities.
  9. Mention Professional Memberships and Certifications

    • List memberships in professional or academic organizations and any relevant certifications.
  10. Skills and Languages

    • Technical, computer, laboratory, language skills, etc.
  11. Format and Style Consistency

    • Choose a clear, professional layout.
    • Ensure stylistic consistency (font size, headings style, margins).
    • Use reverse chronological order in sections.
  12. Customization for Specific Applications

    • Tailor the CV for the specific position or opportunity being applied for.
    • Emphasize relevant sections based on the application's focus (e.g., research, teaching).
  13. Proofreading

    • Check for spelling, grammar, and typographical errors.
    • Ensure clarity and conciseness.
  14. Feedback and Review

    • Seek feedback from mentors, advisors, or peers.
    • Revise based on feedback received.
  15. Continuous Updating

    • Regularly update the CV with new experiences and achievements.


This resource has been developed with the assistance of ChatGPT, an advanced language model by OpenAI. ChatGPT provides support in compiling and organizing content based on current, authoritative sources. However, the interpretations and structuring of the guidelines are uniquely created for the Vancouver Island University Centre for Experiential Learning to specifically cater to the needs of VIU students. While we strive for accuracy and relevance, we encourage students to use this resource as a starting point and consult with career advisors for personalized advice and feedback. The dynamic nature of CV standards and the uniqueness of individual experiences mean that personalization and advisor input are invaluable in creating a CV that truly represents your academic and professional journey.