Today’s post is a simple one, responding to many queries: How do you make a “short CV”?
A short, or two-page, CV is often required for grant applications and the like. The point here is to sketch the main highlights of your record without excessive or repetitious detail.
You must make a number of adjustments to your full-length CV in terms of content and formatting. Do NOT try to game the system by going to a 10 point font and .5” margins. The margins must remain 1 inch (OK, maybe .75″), and the font 11 at minimum (and whether or not you can get away with 11 depends on which font you use, since 11 in Garamond is one thing, and 11 in Bookman Old Style is something entirely different).
Your name and address at the top will of course remain. For those of you who use the words “curriculum vitae” above or below your name: this is a time when you can consider removing them. The date, for those who include it, can also be removed.
Remove most extra white space on the page. Leave a single blank line above each new heading and subheading, but otherwise, remove most blank lines.
Next, be sure that each heading contains only major highlights. Under Education, you’ll list just your 3 major degrees (BA, MA, PH.D.) with no extra training or schooling thrown in. Under Academic Appointments, list only the major appointments, and only for the last decade. Under Publications, if you have many, limit to high status publications (books, refereed journal articles, book chapters), and remove things like book reviews or (except for particular fields) conference proceedings. Under Grants, list the large and important ones only. Conferences need not extend back further than about 5-8 years. Follow each heading in which you have done such editing with the word “(selected).”
Keep publication subheadings to the extent that you can, at least to distinguish books vs. articles and chapters.
Focus on hard outcomes, not ongoing projects. “Research” should be included only if it is specific grant-funded lab or field research; otherwise, research must be represented on the CV entirely by your lists of publications and grants.
The headings that are critical for the short CV are:
- Professional Appointments
- Awards and Honors
- Invited Talks
- Languages (if these are relevant to your scholarly identity; if not, skip)
Headings to almost certainly jettison include:
- Research Interests
- Teaching Interests
- Dissertation summary
- Non-Academic Work
- Related Professional Skills
Headings that should be considered carefully depending on the grant:
- Teaching Experience
- Professional Affiliations
Short CVs typically are requested as part of research-oriented fellowship applications, and the role of teaching in these fellowships varies. Some fellowships include a major teaching element; some include very little. The specific fellowship requirements will dictate whether or not to include any mention of teaching on the short CV. As with all other headings, it will likely be truncated—a brief list of courses by title, rather than a term-by-term record of specific teaching assignments.
You will have to fiddle with your formatting and spacing to achieve a good outcome in the short CV. Again, it must always be in visible/legible font, with reasonable margins. Abundant white space, however, that you would want to keep in the full-length CV, can be removed. It is understood that all or most headings will be “selected.” Prioritize your highest status achievements, and the more recent ones. Beware of any excess verbiage, and any elements that deviate from the strictly academic/scholarly.
If I’ve missed anything, please ask in the comments.
- Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Academic CV
- Why You Need a 5-Year Plan
- What UK/Commonwealth-Trained Candidates Are Doing Wrong on the U.S. Job Market (And some c.v. advice for everyone)
- Why Your Job Cover Letter Sucks (and what you can do to fix it)
- Editing Your C.V. and Letter for Teaching/Writing Positions