Academic CV

One of those difficult moments to any researcher is have to prepare his or her first Academic CV. We all know how to prepare a professional resume or professional CV but, what should an Academic CV look like?

Before writing this post, I have made a little research on line and I collected some good tips I would like to share. Mention that the matherial used here is based on the suggestions and models used in anglo-saxon countries. These suggestions are not necessary the rule that applies to your specific country or area, and they should be just taken as guidelines.

Regarding layout there is not any specific format, but we must keep it legible and eye-friendly. The person who will read our CV will scan the document looking for key words, terms and publications that might match with the open possition that you are applying for. These key-words might be higlighted using bold, and italics should be reserved for quoting.

You may be using just one typography, it would make more consistent the readability of your text, and it should be easy to read. Think about and Arial or Verdana for your CV, even that they are not the most expressive, they are kind of professional, and that’s what matter! Our aim is to get and engage in an Interview, so we must express professionalism in our CV, but still make it attractive and easy.

Depending on your experience, the possition you are applying for, etc. your CV’s lenght will vary. For what I have read, seems that the general accepted is by 5 pages, but this may vary. I have checked a few professors’ CV and normally they give their production in extenso, what results in a kind of production history. Remember that academia is a hierarquical structure, and depending of the position you may have, you can do or undo certain things.

We should number every page, and stamp our name in every page. This would allow the interviewer keep a good track on your CV, and read it without get lost 😉

The information presented should be in reverse order, the most recent first. And try to clean the unnecessary information, that might turn into an against instead of an a for.

As in professional life, I mean non academic, we must tailor our CV to the call’s request. Preparing a general CV is fine as a base, but then we should adjust our “interview-key-maker” to make it match with what they are loking for. This is a kind of targetting plan, and we must prioritarize.

Try to avoid unnecessary jargon. The person who will review your CV is not necessary a professional with great expertisse in the area. That person -most likely -has been briefied  with a few characteristic or desidered skills, and probably canot really see your value. Try make that person believe you are awesome!

Personally, I don’t like pictures in my CV, I like to be evaluated because of my work, not my image, age, etc. In some countries it is recommended to avoid it -as part of some equality opportunity programs. Keep this in mind 😉

Non of the webs checked referred to social media, but I believe that we should start including them, specially as we are using Twitter and Researchgate or Academia in order to spread our word, and a way of Academic Reputation Building. This could be a nice indicator of our professional network and influence, but we can use as well ORCID OCRcode as a very visual element to connect with your production. Feel free to check.

Regarding the structure…. depends on your area. Human Sciences and Maths are not exactly the same, and even that they belong to the academic world, they speak different language. If you are using a sample from somebody else, make sure that you are kind of a similar profile. Consistency is a big plus, and after that first person, you may have a second interview with a senior peer, and this person knows the rules of your area, including CV’s. suggest a few points to keep in mind:

  • 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

  • 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. one of the most recognized websites in the uk suggest a very similar structure:


Briefly state exactly what it is you want – what post are you applying for.  Don’t waffle. 


This is the key element of your CV.  The rest of your CV content will be based on this section.  Use words which reflect skills and experiences which match the opportunity you are applying for but keep it short.


Write in reverse chronological order, the institutions where you studied, when you studied and outcomes.  If you are applying for your first post after graduating, then this section can highlight aspects of your PhD which are relevant to the post you are applying for.  Include an abstract of your PhD.  You may choose to write a more detailed synopsis here or you could put this as an Addendum (if relevant to your application).  See the Guidelines for more information.


Write in reverse chronological order, job title, organisation and dates (only month and year necessary).  Include jobs you did as a student only if they are relevant to your application.  Do not write a job description unless the employment is directly relevant to the post you are applying for.


List any memberships you may have relevant to your research or other life activities.


Use this section to write about your computational skills, administrative skills, team-working skills, time-management, communication skills and project management skills giving some evidence of how you acquired them. What IT skills do you have? Rather than write a long list, use sub-headings: you may want to include some skills in your Addendum if you have one.


Perhaps you held a position of responsibility, play/played a sport, have volunteering experience, or were an active member of a university club?  Do you speak any languages, have a driving licence, play an instrument, or hold a non-academic qualification?  If so, include them here.


Three referees would be appropriate.  Include your PhD supervisor and at least one other academic who knows you.  Give as many contact details for each referee as possible, (address, email and telephone number) with title if appropriate.


  • Brief summary of current research + names of supervisors
  • Emphasise creative and innovative aspects of your research where possible.
  • Where is your research going?  Where would you like it to go?
  • Your potential employer might well know your supervisor – that will give connections and employer may well know methodology of supervisor
  • Incorporate conferences and posters
  • Collaborations – highlight your name even if it is third or fourth in list of contributors
  • How have you disseminated your research to a wider audience?
  • Conducted archival research
  • Evaluated and selected the appropriate approach to identify key features of the research
  • Conceptualised the problem
  • Planned and managed the research project
  • Ability to deal with different methodologies and theories
  • Recorded, analysed and interpreted data


  • Teaching/demonstrating experience both paid and unpaid – including anything of relevance.
  • Training, mentoring, facilitating
  • Supervision of students – undergraduate? Post graduate?  Year?
  • What teaching materials have you designed or prepared?
  • Seminar experience?  How many hours and how many students?
  • Have you organised any fieldwork or trips?
  • Any involvement in course organisation or preparation
  • Lab supervision
  • Any informal mentoring or supporting students
  • Have you supervised any dissertation work or theses?
  • Have you been involved with tutorials
  • What lectures you have delivered
  • Evaluation techniques


  • Responsibility for planning conferences
  • Committees (Board of Studies – even as an undergraduate perhaps?) and student associations
  • Marking, assessment and related paperwork – did you run a lecture course?
  • Examinations – perhaps you have helped with invigilation or marking?
  • Writing up research or checking other research work
  • Ability to prioritise workload and to meet deadlines
  • Have you made any changes to procedures which have improved the efficiency of the research project or department?
  • Administration related to involvement with course work or degree schemes
  • Have you helped out at Open Days?
  • Planned or organised conferences?
  • Involvement in writing research proposals
  • Excellent verbal and written skills


  • Write about the aims, responsibilities and successes of your research so far
  • What techniques and methodologies have you used so far?
  • Are you using quantitative and/or qualitative methods?
  • What technical skills are you using/developing?
  • What other skills are you acquiring?  Problem-solving skills? Project Management?


Use this heading to identify where you would like your research interest to go.


  • Teaching qualifications
  • IT qualifications
  • Language qualifications such as TEFL
  • Any professional qualification
  • You could put any professional courses you have attended


  • Member of curriculum development team
  • Supervised research students
  • Setting and marking of examinations
  • Supporting students in a pastoral/advisory role
  • Membership of committees/boards
  • Represented institution at conferences and seminars
  • Established collaboration outside the institution
  • Coordinated academic and policy dissemination
  • Managed and supervised staff
  • Programme administrator


Depending on how many publications you have, you could include a short list in the body of your CV or provide a full list in an appendix. Include journal articles, books or chapters of books, reports and patents.  If you wrote as part of a team, list all authors and highlight your own name in the sequence.


  • Give details of any conferences you have attended, and those at which you have presented delivered poster presentations.
  • Mention any involvement you may have had –  perhaps a Grad School event or a conference at department level
  • List any posters or exhibitions where you have presented
  • You could use this section to list any courses you have attended


  • List any bursaries, scholarships, travel grants or other sources of funding that you were awarded for research projects or to attend meetings or conferences.
  • Who made the award and for how much
  • Did you win any undergraduate prizes?
  • Was the award for you alone or was it shared
  • What role did you play in securing it?
  • When was the award made?
  • Include grants, awards, bursaries and fellowships


This second structure seems very inclusive, and offers a larger overview of your qualifications, skills and talents. But, keep an eye on the job offer! In there you’ll find what you have to underline to get that interview!

You may be interested in reading their do’s and don’ts, very inspiring and very clear information to keep in mind while preparing your CV. Another entry that you may be interested to check is Steve Joy blog posting on The Guardian –  regarding irritating mistakes on Academic CV.

In previous posting I have referred to matherial prepared by the Graduate College of Illinois and their Career Center. Please, have a look here below as their tips are a good starting and their examples too 🙂

In case you need more examples have a look to this two:

Academic CV Example for PhD Graduate

Academic CV Example for a Senior Post





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