Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)
What is a Curriculum Vitae vs. Résumé?
A résumé generally has a free-form organizational style and is used for seeking employment in the private sector, whereas a curriculum vitae usually has a more standardized look and format for the purpose of seeking positions in academic or educational institutions. A curriculum vitae often includes complete and unembellished lists of data such as educational institutions attended, degrees received, positions held, professional affiliations, publications authored, etc. A résumé may or may not include a complete history of your background experience, whereas a curriculum vitae usually implies that there are no omissions, and in particular, no temporal gaps.
Your CV should be a clear, concise summary of your skills, relevant experiences, and transferable skills. Remember - the person reviewing your CV typically takes no longer than 30 seconds to do so. Make sure your half a minute counts!
Start by reviewing the information presented in this web site. You may also want to check out the Piper Center's collection of CV books for additional ideas and examples. You can look at the Piper Center’s resume help information and examples as well. The Piper Center also hosts workshops to help you with writing a CV.
Once you've completed an initial draft, stop by the Piper Center to have a Peer Advisor review your CV. After having a Peer Advisor offer some insight regarding your creation, make an appointment with a pre-law advisor for a final CV check.
Tips & Hints
There are no absolute requirements in the preparation of your CV, but there are generally accepted guidelines to follow. Here are some tips and hints to help you with your creation:
- A CV tends to be somewhat longer than the traditional one-page resume that is considered ideal for college students and recent graduates.
- Be consistent in your choice of font and layout. Times, Garamond and Helvetica are compact fonts and allow for more information to be presented on one page. Don’t use a font size smaller than 10.
- Use bold, bullets, italics, and underlines to highlight but beware of looking cluttered or busy. Highlights should be used consistently and sparingly.
- Be factual and 100% honest.
- Do NOT use personal pronouns (I, we, my) in your curriculum vitae. Start all statements with action verbs.
- PROOF YOUR C.V. ! Your curriculum vitae should be free of spelling errors and have perfect grammar and punctuation. Keep in mind that the curriculum vitae is an example of your writing and communication skills.
- Print your final copy on a laser printer using résumé paper.
Though you’ll find many options for headings, listed below are some of the more common choices:
- Research Experience
- Teaching Experience
- Laboratory Experience
- Language Fluency
- Computer Skills/Technical Proficiency
- Certifications or Training Programs
- Off-Campus Study Programs
- Work and Internship Experience
- Volunteer and Community Activities
- Academic Awards, Honors, and Distinctions
- Special Skills and Competencies
- Professional Affiliations and Activities
The Quick 5-Step Start
- Take out a piece of paper and a pencil.
- Jot down the qualifications and skills important for law school and legal practice.
- Next, think about the following areas of your background: education, off-campus study programs, work and internship experience, volunteer and community activities, awards, honors, distinctions, special skills and competencies, professional affiliations and activities in which you've been involved. List the experiences as well as the skills you used in the experience. Write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind! There may be pieces to your background that seem insignificant to the position/program for which you are applying, but these opportunities can show transferable skills.
- Organize your CV into categories that will showcase your background in a way that clearly demonstrates your "fit" for the program. View examples for assistance.
- Finally, create your first draft, edit it, get feedback from Piper Center Peer Advisors, academic advisors, supervisors, faculty and other students. Pay close attention to spelling and consistency in formatting. Get a final check from a pre-law advisor!
There are two basic options when laying out your curriculum vitae: the “two-column layout” and the “tuck-under layout”. Choose one layout and use it consistently throughout your curriculum vitae. Both choices are professionally recognized and allow you to highlight your capabilities utilizing any one of the three formats listed above.
EDUCATION St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Majors: History and Philosophy
Graduation: May of 2014
QUALIFICATIONS Communication Skills—strong oral and written communication
abilities as a result of classroom presentations, assisting peers with writing assignments, and giving tours as a guide for the Jesse James Historical Museum.
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN Graduation: May of 2014
Major: Mathematics Concentration: Management Studies
Actuarial Intern, American Memorial Life Insurance Company, Summer 2012
Researched individual policies and determined incorrect cash values.
Recalculated correct cash values for various policies.
Daily use of Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and proprietary programs.