Are you fed up of receiving rejection letters in your pursuit to step up the ladder of your academic career? It can be tempting to give up, or even take a change of direction, if you feel like your applications aren’t getting you anywhere. Take a look at these four reasons why your academic CV could be ignored before you think about giving up on your dream career. Do remember that something as simple as reviewing your CV could be the answer. Your academic CV is the most critical step to earning an interview, so you should dedicate time to refine it and make it so impressive that recruiters simply feel compelled to pick up the phone and invite you for an interview.
It’s not scannable
Therefore, it’s imperative that your CV is formatted in a way that is easily scannable, so that recruiters can see your key achievements and relevant information in limited time. It may help to use a CV template for academic job applications to ensure that it’s presented in a way that is easy to scan.
You’re recycling your CV
If you’re applying for numerous similar roles, you might be tempted to save time by using the same CV for each job application. CV recycling is probably the worst mistake you can make – it paints you out as someone who’s not passionate about the specific role and makes it look like you’re not committed to getting the job.
To tailor your CV, start by taking some time to research the institution and analyse the job description. Then, adapt your CV to match your findings. The end results should paint you as someone who is a perfect fit for the role, who has proven relevant experience and can clearly match all the specific job requirements.
It’s packed with jargon
Yes, it is a good idea to impress recruiters with expert knowledge and your understanding of technical detail, but it can actually be dangerous to use too much jargon in your CV. The HR department are likely to be doing the first sift through the applications, so if your CV is filled with technical terms, then you might be missing your chance to get your CV through to the next stage.
You must be able to convey your expertise and knowledge without over-complicating the language. Your interview is the place to use technical details where relevant, so avoid going overboard on the jargon in your CV.
You focus on duties, not accomplishments
When talking about previous academic work experience, the best way to impress academic recruiters is to focus on what you have achieved rather than just listing the duties that you have performed. Remember that describing your career and education achievements could be the differentiator between you and your fellow applicants. Don’t sell yourself short – other applicants certainly won’t be! Recruiters want to see what results you have driven and the actions you have taken to achieve success in metrics, rather than generic statements. Include plenty of facts and figures to prove your impact.
Displaying your main responsibilities in short bullet points will concisely show employers if you have the experience that they are looking for.
Before you submit your next job application, schedule in some to review it and ensure you are not making any of these mistakes – after all, they might just be the reason why your academic CV could be ignored.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV