How to Write a Winning Academic CV

Don’t let your academic resume fall to the bottom of the stack. Whether you're aiming for a research position or a teaching role, having the right academic resume can make all the difference. Here’s how to make sure your resume stands out for you to land that perfect academic job.

By Raymond Mulyawan

Academic-CV

What is an academic CV?

An academic CV (curriculum vitae) is a specialised document that highlights your academic achievements. Unlike a standard CV, it focuses entirely on your educational and academic background, qualifications, research, teaching experience, and awards.

For instance, if you're applying for a lectureship, the hiring committee will be interested in your grades, research experience, and teaching background. An effective academic CV showcases these elements, offering a comprehensive view of your academic journey.

8 powerful tips for your academic resume

Download your free sample academic CV template.

1. Polish Your LinkedIn Profile

In today’s digital age, your LinkedIn profile is almost as important as your academic resume itself. Include your LinkedIn URL in your contact information, but make sure your profile is optimised first. Update your profile picture, ensure your headline and summary reflect your academic expertise, and fill out your experience and skills sections.

2. Start with your education section

This is where your PHD should appear at the top of this section. Unlike professional CVs, Academic CVs will generally start with an education section before mentioning professional experience and accomplishment. It is important to list your academic achievement in reverse chronological order, starting from the most recent education qualification.

3. Tailor Your Resume for Each Application

Generic resumes don’t cut it in academia. Customize your academic resume for each position by aligning your experiences and skills with the job description. Use specific keywords from the job posting to highlight relevant research and teaching experience. This will helps your resume get past any applicant tracking systems (ATS) that might be in use.

4. Organize Your Work History by Relevance

If you have diverse experiences, such as research and teaching, consider breaking them into separate sections. Label them clearly, such as 'Research Experience', 'Teaching Experience' and 'Industry Experience', be sure to list your positions in reverse chronological order. This helps hiring committees easily find the information most relevant to the position they’re filling.

5. Focus on Relevant Contributions

While it’s important to list all significant publications, presentations, and grants, emphasise on your most recent and relevant work. If your career spans many years, avoid listing every single accomplishment instead, focus on those from the last decade or so. This keeps your resume current and relevant, avoiding the appearance of being outdated.

6. Quantify Your Achievements

Numbers speak volumes. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements to add context to your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying "published several articles," say "published 10 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals." This specificity helps hiring committees understand the impact of your work.

7. Simplify and Streamline Your Contributions

Your contributions to academia—like certifications, training, publications, presentations, and grants—should be organized and easy to navigate. Use bullet points and consistent formatting, and list items in reverse chronological order. This makes your resume easier to read and ensures that your most recent and impressive work is seen first.

8. References

References are taken seriously in academia. It is usual to include your PHD supervisor and atleast one other academic, such as a collaborator and thesis examiner.

Conclusion

Crafting a standout academic resume involves more than just listing your qualifications. It’s about showcasing your academic journey and demonstrating your unique contributions to the field. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a resume that captures the attention of hiring committees and lands you your dream job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should an academic resume be?

Your academic resume should be thorough but concise. Typically, 2-5 pages depending on your experience.

Should I include a photo on my academic resume?

No, including a photo is not standard practice for academic resumes.

How do I address career gaps in my academic resume?

Briefly address career gaps in your cover letter or an explanatory note, focusing on what you did during that time.

Can I include non-academic work experience?

Yes, include it if it’s relevant or demonstrates transferable skills beneficial for the academic role.

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