Creating an effective academic CV

Student in gownAcademic CVs should only be used for academic applications and have a unique format. The key extra features compared to general CVs are more focus on:

  • publications
  • your research  activities
  • funding awarded.

Although academic CVs are longer than other types of CVs, no more than four pages is often recommended. There is variation in the expected format in different countries, so try to find out what is expected. Here is some general guidance on creating your academic CV.

  • Tailor your academic CV for every application. Analyse the job description and specification, if available. Your CV needs to present strong evidence that you fulfil the job requirements
  • Highlight your academic achievements and research interests. Find out as much as you can about the research area you are applying to, so you understand how your expertise complements theirs and can judge their familiarity with technical language of your research area
  • Keep jargon to a minimum and write with clarity. Spell out your qualifications, research, publications and any other relevant information. Describe your contribution to publications, particularly high impact publications. See the section on writing a statement of research interest. Don't be modest
  • Publications: a reverse chronological list is a prerequisite, best presented as an appendix. Include journal articles, books or chapters of books, reports and patents
  • Research experience: in reverse chronological order. Emphasise specialist/technical expertise, IT skills, plus any skills required for the job. including project and people management
  • Education: in reverse chronological order. Focus on higher education onwards. Include awards and scholarships. Include the name of your doctoral supervisor and funding body, if appropriate
  • Funding: include awards for research projects or to attend meetings or conferences, prizes. Include the amount of money allocated, where useful
  • Teaching experience: include lecturing, supervision, demonstrating, curriculum development, seminar and group work, assessment etc. especially if teaching is in the job description
  • Administrative experience -. Highlight any positions of responsibility, event and course organisation, committee membership, etc, especially if administration features in the job description.
  • Professional qualifications: membership of learned societies or professional bodies
  • Professional development activities, including any training undertaken - eg teaching and learning qualifications, specialist research or analytical techniques, time management, academic writing, research supervision
  • Attendance at conferences and seminars - highlight any invitations to present, provide papers or posters
  • References - details of two or three referees (usually at least two academic). Ask for permission first
  • Outside interests are unlikely to be relevant.

Make sure other people read your CV. They will pick up on whether it is clear, any spelling mistakes etc. Consider asking:

  • careers advisors: most institutional careers services offer CV clinics
  • your peers
  • mentors or other academics.

Do not use the academic CV format to apply for non-academic jobs: use a chronological CV or competency-based CV.