Mastering the Curriculum Vitae

How well-written is your Curriculum Vitae? Does it make prospective employers swoon? Or cringe?

Don’t be the guy in this stock image. You can do this!

There are two parts to any professional job application: the cover letter and the resume/curriculum vitae (CV). In academic library-land, the CV is the preferred format (and can be a LOT lengthier than a resume). If you’re looking for an academic job in this market, you’ve got to be sure that your CV reflects your true awesomeness!

If you’re starting from scratch, organize your employment history as well as educational, committee, and volunteer history as well as other personal information before you begin. You’ll save yourself a headache later!

The CV is different from a resume – the Purdue OWL explains the basics.

Here’s a list from Dartmouth Graduate Studies on what to include:

  • Applicant Information (Name and contact info)
  • Education
  • Awards/Honors
  • Grants/Fellowships
  • Research Experience
  • Teaching Experience
  • Publications and Presentations
  • Related Professional Experience
  • Languages
  • Other — Memberships, Associations, Conferences
  • References

Standard resume advice is not to exceed two pages, but it’s very common for CVs to be three or more pages depending on experience.

If you have an existing resume/CV, here’s 6 Small Changes you should make (from AskAManager). Objectives are outdated and a NO-NO. Also, don’t just list your duties from each position you’ve held. Stand out from the crowd by listing what you accomplished at each position.

If you’re stuck, look at other job seekers’ CVs. One of my favorite things to do is Google the CVs of librarians with the sort of job that I want. For instance, I’d love to be an instructional librarian, and I can see what experience real-life instructional librarians have and how they structure their CVs.

Remember that for each application you need to craft a custom cover letter that, along with your CV, addresses each point in the job posting and how your experience meets it. Search committees will be scoring your application based on the job posting. Make their job easy! Here’s a fun post from The Chronicle on What Search Committees Wish You Knew.

Cover letters are a post for another day. Is there advice you would give to someone crafting/perfecting their CV?

1 thought on “Mastering the Curriculum Vitae

  1. I also recommend paying attention to the mission, vision, and strategic plan of the institution and its library. Where are they headed? How can you help them get there? Your cover letter should touch on these things.

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