Academic CVs, like all others, need to be tailored to the job you apply for. Although longer and more detailed than other types, they should be concise and focused on relevant experience. CVs of more than two sides of A4 are acceptable.
Academic CVs should only be used for academic applications. The key features are: publications, descriptions of research and details of funding awarded.
Before you begin, also look at the general advice on CV writing and the tips on applying for academic jobs. You could also talk to other researchers and ask if you can see their CVs. Further tips on making the most of your research experience can be found in Presenting your research.
- Analyse the job description and then think about how to present evidence that you meet the requirements
- Give prominence to your academic achievements and research interests. A list of publications should be compiled - the more in higher ranked journals the better. Academic employers will be interested in relevant specialist research skills and academic experience and will be less interested in your personal transferable skills. Outside interests are often regarded as irrelevant in this context
- Consider a career summary. You might want to make the first page of your academic CV a summary of your qualifications, research, prominent publications and any other information relevant to the job. Don't be bashful if you have made a significant discovery or achievement in your field. Give this front-page space
- Create an appendix with a list of your publications and an abstract of your research work to cut down on detail within the body of your CV.
Don't be bashful - highlight your research achievements.
Academic CV structure
The structure could include the following suggested headings that can be arranged in the order that best suits your experience and the job requirements.
Personal details - your name as the document title with contact details beneath.
Education and prizes - in reverse chronological order. Focus on higher education (GCSEs are no longer relevant and front-page space is precious). Include awards and scholarships. Include the name of your doctoral supervisor and funding body.
Research interests - a brief outline of past, present and future. see the section on statement of research interest
Research experience - also in reverse chronological order. Again, focus on higher education. Highlight any funding received. For further ideas look at Presenting your research
- relevant techniques
Funding - awards for research projects or to attend meetings or conferences, prizes.
Teaching - include student demonstrating, supervision, lecturing, seminar leading, assessment, (again in reverse chronological order).
Administrative experience - eg course organisation, committee membership, highlighting any positions of responsibility.
Skills - specialist/technical, IT, languages, plus any skills required for the job.
Professional qualifications - membership of learned societies or professional bodies.
Training and development undertaken - eg teaching and learning qualifications, specialist research or analytical techniques, skills development (for example, presentations, time management, academic writing, research supervision).
Publications - listing most recent first. Include journal articles, books or chapters of books, reports and patents.
Attendance at conferences and seminars - highlighting any invitations to present. Always list the most recent first.
References - details of two or three referees (usually at least two academic) who have given permission to be included.
Use of technical language
You can assume that the audience for your academic CV will be familiar with technical language of your discipline and so it is appropriate to write a description of your research work in academic language. But be aware that people less specialised may read the CV, so keep jargon to a minimum and write with clarity.
Always fundamentally re-write your academic CV if planning to make applications to non-academic jobs, even if still in the research field.