What is a CV?

In Canada, the term curriculum vitae (CV) is used to reference a specific type of job search document that is used for the following: applying to graduate school, a medical position, an academic position (post-secondary teaching and/or research focused), and some performing and studio art positions.

It is not uncommon to hear the terms resume and CV used interchangeably but they are different documents.  If an employer asks for a CV and you are not applying for one of the categories listed above, it is likely that a resume is required.

One of the biggest distinctions in the formatting of resumes and CVs is that in Canada, resumes are usually 2-3 pages, while CVs can be multiple pages in length.

CV Sections

A CV can include a combination of any of the following sections. The headings you choose will depend on your knowledge, skills and abilities (competencies) you wish to highlight along with the type of opportunity for which you are applying.

  • Education/Academic Credentials/Academic History- includes thesis/dissertation/project title
  • Certifications/Designations- non-academic credentials
  • Honours/Awards/Distinctions/Recognitions- academic awards, medals, fellowships, scholarships, prizes
  • Research Interests/Teaching Interests- reflective of your current competencies and future interests
  • Research/Research Experience- current funded research projects, research assistantships, thesis, dissertation, postdoctoral fellowships
  • Research Funding History/Project Grant Information/Research Grants- Categories: Senior Responsible Author, Principal Author, Co-Principal Author, Co-Investigator, Collaborator
  • Teaching Experience/Academic Work History/Teaching Dossier- examples of scholarly work: teaching experience, instructorships, teaching assistantships, marker
  • Related/Supplementary Work Experience/Consulting Experience- list all relevant work experience
  • Theses Supervised/Students Supervised- ex. PhD, MSc, MA, MFA, MEng, MBA, PGD
  • Professional Practice/Professional Experience/Internships- program evaluation, editorship, tenure/promotion review, development of curricula, manuscript review, grant review
  • Administrative Service/Faculty Appointment/Departmental and College Committees/University Committees and Boards/Academic Associations/Affiliations/Memberships/Associate Memberships
  • Graduate Student Committee/Conference Organizer
  • Intellectual Property- Categories: Patents Granted/Pending, Copyright, Licenses, Disclosures, and Trademarks
  • Artistic Exhibitions/Performances/Works/Compositions
  • Languages- level of reading, writing and oral fluency or competency
  • Professional Organizations/ Memberships/Advisory Committees/Research Groups
  • Publications- Sub-categories: Peer-reviewed, Non-peer reviewed, Works Submitted, Works in Progress, Reports, Technical Articles, Print, Social Media, Books, Chapters; use the editorial style that is associated with your discipline
  • Conferences- Sub-categories: Papers; both contributed and refereed, Posters, Presentations, Proceeding, Attended, Invited Lectures/Seminars
  • Community Contributions/Involvement- both academic and non-academic

Checklist

Know Yourself and Your Audience

  • Can you comfortably articulate your values, knowledge, skills, abilities and interests as they relate to your job search documents?  (If not, consider Taking a Career Assessment!)
  • Did you perform an adequate amount of research on the prospective employer?

Showcase Your Skills

  • Did you take inventory of the broad range of skills you have and did you cross-reference those skills with what the employer is looking for in their job posting?
  • Did you begin your bulleted achievement statements with action verbs?
  • Were you mindful of creating achievement statements that demonstrate your skills rather than just listing descriptive adjectives (such as good communication skills) or job duties?

Polish Your CV

  • Is your CV concise? (While a resume is limited to 2-3 pages, CVs can include multiple pages)
  • Have you reviewed your CV for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors?
  • Did you prioritize your content by placing the most relevant information first?
  • Did you organize your information in reverse chronological order?
  • Did you present the most targeted information on the left side first (i.e. Job title(s) on the left, dates on the right)?
  • Were you consistent with format, verb tense and font?
  • Did you begin your achievement statements with bullets and action words?

Include Your References

  • Do you have at least three references who can attest to your work style, academic profile and/or personal qualifications, and who have agreed to be a reference?
  • Do your references reflect a cross-section of individuals who can attest to these strengths?
  • If you choose not to include your references in your CV, be sure to bring your list of references and their contact information to the interview
  • Once your CV is complete, provide a copy to each of your references

Sample CV

We recommend that you refer to our Action Words and Resume Guide as supplements when creating your CV. Many of the headings that are used in a resume are also used in a CV in addition to the sections mentioned above. 

Keep in mind that many colleges and universities require their faculty to follow a standardized CV format. In such cases, it is strongly recommended that you adhere to their guidelines. The University of Saskatchewan has a guideline for CVs which can be found here.