The Curriculum Vitae is usually requested for academic positions including teaching, administration and research. A CV is also sometimes requested for international positions and graduate school applications. What you choose to include and emphasize on your own CV will depend on your audience. The search committee will often read your CV before your resume (in fact, many search committees request a CV and not a resume), so it should emphasize the experiences and accomplishments that have directed the course of your academic life to this search committee and that make you the best candidate for the position.
Researching Your Audience
Knowledge of the specific job you are seeking helps you decide how best to present your experiences and accomplishments to the search committee. Understanding the job setting and surrounding community can be helpful as well.
As an example of the importance of knowing your audience, consider an applicant for an associate professor position whose interests include cultural studies and secondary school education. That CV can demonstrate that the candidate is qualified to teach literature in an English department that offers cultural studies coursework. But researching the job itself, the job setting and the surrounding community would reveal that this university's English department is closely related to the Education department, which works closely with secondary schools in the community. With this information, the candidate can craft her CV to reflect that her experiences, accomplishments and interests qualify her more than other candidates.
The more you know about the position and the working environment, the better able you will be to relate your experiences and accomplishments, so researching your audience is an important first step.
Tips for Researching CV Audiences
So that you can be sure to include every relevant experience and accomplishment (and so that you are sure you actually want the position for which you are applying), you'll need to find out a good deal about the job itself and the employer. Fortunately, this important research can be done fairly easily.
- Carefully read the job description, as well as descriptions of other available positions. Read between the lines to determine the actual nature of the job and the employers so that you can shape your CV accordingly
- Conduct an Internet search to find information about the employer. Employer websites can provide useful information that can help you understand the context of the job for which you are applying.
Use the following questions as starting points for your research:
- What does the position entail?
- With what types of people will you work?
- For what types of people will you work?
- For teaching positions, what pedagogical approach does the department take?
- What course offerings are similar to those with which you have experience?
- What are the research interests and publications of faculty members?
- What opportunities and expectations exist for research and publication?