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April 02, 2018

How to Format Your CV or Resume

Hannah Greenbaumby Hannah Greenbaum

Our users often ask us how to format a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume in APA Style. The answer is simple: Do whatever you want! Seriously, APA does not provide guidelines, in the Publication Manual or elsewhere, for the style and layout of a CV or resume. However, if you choose to, or are instructed to, follow APA Style in your CV or resume, you can adapt components (e.g., references, guidelines for hyphenation, and other writing guidelines) of APA Style as presented in the Publication Manual. You probably wouldn’t want to use some APA Style formatting, like double-spacing because you want to showcase your experience and skills in a small space.

You might still wonder what to do even if there aren’t APA rules to follow. I understand this personally because questions flooded my mind when I began applying to graduate school . . . not the least of which were "How do I write a CV? Or resume? What is the difference?! 😤"

A CV (curriculum vitae) is Latin for "course of life" and is generally longer, academically focused, and more comprehensive than a resume. A resume is French for "summary" and is typically a one-page document showcasing more professionally oriented experiences and skills. (UC Davis Internship & Career Center, 2015)

Several years later, and near the completion of a doctoral degree in counseling psychology, I consistently add to my CV as I attain academic and professional experiences. I also have one-page resumes on hand and resumes tailored to specific kinds of employment.

two people working on a document togetherAnother tip is to look to the CVs of your advisors, mentors, and trusted academic colleagues for examples. Some people boldface their own name when it appears as part of a reference for previously published works or spell out all author names when their name would otherwise be omitted by an ellipsis. To indicate contributions to works when you are not listed as an author, you can create a section and explain what you did. These are suggestions; in the end you have latitude to organize these documents in a way that makes sense to you (just be sure to include relevant information). Some employers provide guidelines. Write with your audience in mind.

I have also found the following articles helpful. The more examples you expose yourself to, the better. Find a format that works for you and that fits the type of experience you are seeking.

Now go live your life and enjoy your experiences! But remember to document your accomplishments in your CV and resume!

Reference

UC Davis Internship and Career Center. (2015). Resume vs. curriculum vitae: What's the difference? Retrieved from https://icc.ucdavis.edu/materials/resume/resumecv.htm

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