Curriculum Vitae Section Tips

CVs commonly include the following sections. Include only the sections where you have information to highlight.  You may want to use different section heading to better fit the information that you want to include on your CV.

Contact Information
Include your name, address, phone number, and email.

  • Make your name 1-2 font sizes bigger than the rest so it stands out. Include your name on each page of you CV.
  • Your email address should be professional and your voicemail message should be professional and welcoming.
  • If you have a LinkedIn account and/or a personal website that would be of interest to an employer, include links to those as well.  (Make sure all content is professional in content and presentation.)
Objective
  • An objective statement is recommended when searching for entry-level employment to let the recruiter(s) know what type of position you are seeking and to create a connection to a specific position being pursued.  Briefly describe the objective of your employment search (e.g., “To obtain an assistant professor position in chemical engineering at a research-focused university beginning in the fall of 2014” or “To obtain a research position in materials engineering with a focus on polymers”).
    • This statement should be no longer than two lines.
    • An objective statement that is tailored to match a position description is most effective (i.e. if the job description states that a civil engineer with structural analysis skills is needed, include the keywords “structural analysis” in the objective statement).
Summary or Overview of Qualifications
  • Provide a few statements that provide an overall synopsis of your qualifications and highlight your main strengths.  This section is not required, but recommended in the following situations:
    • A CV is over two pages long.
    • To highlight direct experience in the areas mentioned in the job description.  This can catch the attention of the recruiter and indicates you are a strong match for the position.
Educational Background
  • Indicate the name of the school, location (city, state), the degree(s) conferred, and date of degree or years of attendance.
    Example:
    Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
    Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering                 May 2013
  • If you have not graduated from your most recent institution, list your major and expected date of completion.
  • You do not need to include your thesis and/or dissertation title here.  Your major papers should be listed in an “Academic Achievements” section and the relevant skill-based work should be summarized in your research experience area.
  • It is acceptable to list your major professor but it is not required.
  • Master’s students should provide their GPA.
Academic Achievements

List any honors and awards that you have received.  Include the award title, the year received, and a brief summary of the criteria.

  • Include scholarships or fellowships that you have received.
  • If you have written a thesis and/or dissertation, include it and any additional substantial papers that you have written but not formally published.  Include the title of the paper, the year completed, and a one or two sentence description of the work.
Teaching Experience

List any teaching experience you may have.

  • Include the title of the position and the name of the course(s) taught and relevant dates (e.g., “Teaching Assistant, Aerospace Engineering Problems with Computer Applications Laboratory (Fall 2012)”).
  • Use a descriptive course title if the actual title is vague or misleading; do not use the course number, as these will be different at each institution.
  • Indicate your level of contribution (i.e. primary instructor, co-taught, created the curriculum, graded papers, etc.) and the number of students in the class.
  • This section is especially important when seeking a faculty position, but teaching experience should always be included.  Teaching translates to comfort with public speaking, which is useful in most professional positions.
  • The depth of information in this section will depend on whether you are targeting a teaching position.
Research Experience

List any research experience you have had working under a faculty member. Be sure to include Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project or any significant, team projects that you have contributed to.

  • Include the name and location of the institution where the research was conducted, title of the position, and dates.
  • Provide a brief description of the project.
  • To highlight special skills that you may have developed, include several bullet statements describing the skills applied and the impact of your work. (See the information on skills-based impact statements in the resume section.)
Language and Other Special Skills

List any language skills that you have beyond English and any other special skills that may be of interest to the selection committee.

  • For language skills, note the level of fluency (e.g. speak Spanish, fluent in French, etc.)
  • List business software tools, programming languages, statistical analysis tools, and specialized equipment that you know how to operate if it may be useful to the research or responsibilities of the position being pursued.
Grants Awarded

List any grant proposals that you contributed to.

  • Include the title or topic, the year granted, the dollar amount, the granting institution, the purpose of the funds, and your contribution to the proposal (i.e. author, co-author, or content contributor). For grants include how much they were worth and the length of time they were disbursed.
  • Clearly distinguish between grants applied for and those awarded.
Publications

List any papers/articles that you have authored or co-authored.

  • Include conference proceedings, journal articles, book reviews, book chapters, or books.
  • Cite publications using the MLA citation style unless advised otherwise by a trusted source.
  • Papers that have been accepted for publication but not yet published should be listed with the publication date replaced with “Accepted for Publication.”
  • Subheadings can be used to highlight peer-reviewed articles over other publications.
Presentations

List all presentations or posters that you have authored or co-authored for conferences, lectures, or invited talks.

  • Provide the title of each presentation, the names of co-authors (if any), the name of the conference or event, location and date.
  • If you have a small number of presentations and publication you might want to merge this and the previous section into a “Publications and Presentations” section.
Other Professional Work Experience Outside of Academia

List professional employment not already included that provided professional skills.

  • Include the name and location of the employer, title of the position, and dates.
  • To highlight special skills that you may have developed, include several bullet statements describing the skills applied and the impact of your work. (See the information on skills-based impact statements in the resume section.)
  • Since industry or retail employment is not the primary concern of your CV, this does not need to be your complete employment record.  Use this section to highlight your professional skills, experiences and desirable traits.
Professional Affiliations

List memberships you hold in professional organizations related to your engineering discipline.

  • Include the name of the organization, dates of initial affiliation, and any administrative or leadership positions held.
Academic and Community Service

List any committees that you have served on or other service projects that you have contributed to.

  • This can include departmental, institutional, or community committee or service work. Service to student organizations is valid as well.
  • Highlight leadership when possible (e.g., organized conference, lead nomination committee, etc.)
Other Sections

Other section headings that are sometimes used are listed below, and it is perfectly acceptable to use your own custom headings.

  • Thesis/Dissertation
  • Research and/or Teaching Interests
  • Special Academic Training
  • Certifications
  • Professional Competencies
  • Areas of Expertise/Concentration
  • Academic Advising
  • Professional Development
  • Administrative Experience
  • Leadership and Activities
  • Distinctions