Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Build your CV

Resume or CV?

Many scholarship applications require you to submit a CV (curriculum vitae) or resume. Your CV or resume provides an overview of your qualifications and past experiences.  If given the option, we recommend that you submit a CV because it will allow you to include a comprehensive overview of your experiences, activities, and accomplishments.

CVs tend to be used more in academic settings, while resumes are more often used in professional settings.  CVs and resumes may be general, or tailored toward a particular opportunity.  Consider developing a comprehensive CV which includes all of your activities, then cutting and pasting from that version to create a CV tailored to a particular application.

Get Started

Here are some general tips for developing your CV or resume:

Make a list

Where do you spend your time? What topics do you like to learn about? What jobs have you held? Where do you volunteer? What research positions have you held on campus? Have you received any honors or awards? Have you interned anywhere? List out everything! Include your participation dates and location information.

Identify headings or categories for your list

You’ll want to include more common headings like “Education” and “Research Interests” as well as headings that will help you to narrate your experiences.  Be creative and consider your intended audience.

Use active words and clear phrases to tell the story of your experience

To get started, choose one of your activities, jobs or volunteer experiences.  Free-write about your role in that activity. Did you work with others? What did you have to learn in order to be successful in that activity. What are you most proud of in terms of your involvement.  Once you’ve finished free-writing, read back through your writing.  Look for phrases that provide specific information or context. Exchange unnecessary adverbs for strong verbs.

Choose what to include

Sure, Curriculum Vitae translates as the “course of (one’s) life,” but you’ll want to make strategic choices about what to include. Focus on the activities and experiences that are aligned with the application criteria. Start with your college-level experiences.  Do not include high school activities and experiences unless you have continued them through college. For example, if you began playing in an orchestra in high school and continued through college, it is reasonable for you to include that activity. If you stopped after high school, do not include that activity.

Put it all together

Look through your professors’ CVs, CV’s from professionals and students in your field and the UW Career Guide.  Choose a template and style that works for you.  Put it all down and then get ready to edit!

Edit & add

Your CV grow and evolves with you, and you should continue to edit and add to it throughout your academic and professional career.


UW Career Center’s resume writing resources & helpful CV & resume samples