Developing a Vita

Candidates most often use a vitae when promoting oneself within professional and academic fields; when applying to graduate or professional programs; and/or employment with international firms.  The vita is most appropriate for candidates that have completed a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree. 

Lets begin by answering the basic question, how does a vita differ from a resume?  Vita and resumes both have similar purposes-as marketing documents that provide key information about your skills, experiences, education, and personal qualities that show you as the ideal candidate.  Where resumes tend toward brevity, vitae lean toward completeness.

The 1 to 2-page resume summarizes educational preparation and experience relevant to one's career objective.  Unlike resumes, vitae can be up to ten pages in length.  The average vita is two to four pages for a young professional, and six to ten pages for a veteran.  The content determines the length of the vita.  

The vita is longer than the average 1-2 page resume because it provides a greater range of information and typically includes:

  • Professional, vocation or research objectives
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Professional licenses or certifications
  • Education including post graduate, graduate and undergraduate degrees and studies
  • Listing of relevant course work to match career and academic objectives
  • Educational or professional honors or awards
  • Scientific or academic research, laboratory experience and related skills
  • Description of thesis or dissertation, papers written and publications
  • Academic or professional presentations
  • Related extracurricular activities, professional and association memberships
  • Community involvement
  • Work experience both paid and volunteer
  • Technical and specialized skills such as computer programming
  • Interests and future academic or professional goals
  • Travel and exposure to cultural experiences
  • Additional information that may support objective or qualifications

There are a number of good books and web sites that specifically address the development of vitae.  Please consider the following books or search vita on yahoo:

Academic job search handbook / Heiberger and Vick; 1992

Developing a Professional Vita or Resume / by Carl McDaniels ; with editorial assistance from Mary Anne Knobloch; 1997

Curriculum Vitae Handbook: how to present and promote your academic career / Rebecca Anthony & Gerald Roe; 1998

Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae / Acy L. Jackson; 1998 SAMPLE VITAE: 

Vita Examples

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3