Academic CVs generally follow the same principles as any other CV, but are likely to require some extra elements.
First step in writing your academic CV
The first step in producing your CV is to gather the facts. It is a good idea to make a list of all the key information you may require, including dates, job titles and other details, before you start. Although you may not use it all in your CV, this is useful preparation for interviews and application forms and will also help you when you come to tailoring your CV for future positions.
You also need to look at the person specification of the job for which you are applying. Check the essential and desirable criteria for the job, and list your most relevant examples of the kinds of skills and experience they are seeking. These are the things that you will need to emphasise in your academic CV.
Information to gather for your CV
Research interests - think about how your interests and experience relate to the vacancy and how this could be expressed succinctly.
- PhD: title, date (and submission date), institution, supervisors’ names, examiners’ names.
- Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees: title, date, institution, grade achieved.
- Any other relevant awards, e.g. teaching qualifications, technical qualifications
Publications - be sure to reference fully.
Employment / teaching experience - courses you teach and what your responsibilities are for each, e.g. seminar tutor, exam marker, etc. List job titles, employers, dates and the key experiences that might be relevant to the position.
Conference papers given / sessions organised / sessions chaired - Check dates, paper titles, conference titles, venues. List conference sessions you have been responsible for organising.
Competencies and skills - List any other roles that you fulfil as part of your academic job, such as editorship of a journal, administrative roles etc.
Grants awarded – details of any funding awards received from internal and external sources, including PhD funding, conference grants and research leave awards. Include nominations made on your behalf, even if unsuccessful.
Referees - List the names, postal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of two referees who know your academic work well and/or have observed your teaching.
Compare what you’ve gathered with the job specification and think about which elements will show you match the person specification. This will help you decide on the layout and arrangement of your CV. It will also help when you come to write your covering letter.
Drafting and editing your academic CV
- Teaching / lecturing
Most academic positions will include elements of all three but take some time to consider the job description and person specification for which you are writing your CV. This will help you to structure your CV appropriately; making sure the most relevant information is easily discernable. Ensure you follow any application process guidelines carefully and include what is requested.
Style – our example CV layout (PDF - 21.5KB) shows the typical key sections and some advice on what to include, however you should also try to adopt your own style.
Length – academic CVs are usually longer than conventional CVs. Their length depends on the number of publications, conference papers or teaching posts etc. you have to include; it is acceptable to attach appendices with more details of research projects, publications etc. (where relevant) and this can bring your CV up to around five sides of A4 paper.
Paper – if you’re intending to send your CV by post, use good quality white/cream paper.
Layout – the CV should be concise, clear and easy to read. Avoid long, wordy paragraphs. Break up the text with headings, bullets, bold type and margins. Employers read CVs very quickly – do the key points of your CV stand out if the CV is only scanned for a few seconds? View it from a distance – does it look neat and professional?
Active words – when describing your experiences, use active words such as organise, manage, persuade, improve, direct, recommend, plan, rather than passive words such as ‘involved in’ or ‘required to’.
Spelling and grammar – check and double check – don’t just rely on the spell checker.
Getting feedback on your CV
After drafting your CV, contact the PGR Careers Adviser for some impartial feedback or ask your supervisor or academic contacts for their comments before sending it off.