There is life after a PhD, and you will need to transition from being a research student to either a post-doctoral academic role or to a job in industry. See how to include your PhD experience on your CV.
The journey to achieving a PhD can be an intense, challenging, and exciting journey. Achieving such a high qualification after intensive and in-depth research should be extremely rewarding and something that you are proud of throughout your life. Being recognised as a Doctor and an expert in your specific field is very impressive to employers.
The ability to call yourself a Doctor at the end of it and be considered an expert in your field is a great achievement, one that you should be proud of.
If you make an application for your similar area of research, it is worth noting to go into depth as regards the topic, data analysis and results.
However, if the job for which you are applying is not entirely linked to the PhD research, it is best to list your PhD experience in your CV’s academic background section. It is worth showcasing your skills and capabilities attained by your PhD study in other areas of your CV.
While listing a PhD experience enhances your job application, it is vital to carefully analyse the job description. Recruiters examine CVs to find the relevant information and will be able to envisage your compatibility with the specific job role and responsibilities.
Benefits of Including a PhD in a job application:
There are numerous benefits of possessing a PhD when it comes to the world of work.
- You gain problem-solving and presentation skills
- You attempt various techniques and trials which build up your resilience
- Your knowledge and expertise may entitle you to an increased salary or job role
- You may be able to cope better with criticism
- You can share new findings, theories and/or innovations
- You have experience working independently and, in a team
- Achieving a PhD will demonstrate resilience, determination, hard work, passion, effective time management and a plethora of sought-after skills
If you are seeking a career in industry or prefer to remain in academia here are some general tips that will help all PhD graduates write a job-winning CV:
- Concisely outline your PhD research and list the discipline
- List the stage you are currently at with your PhD, such as thesis submitted, VIVA pending or completed
- Ensure you detail all academic qualifications, including any A-Level, BTEC or professional qualifications you have attained
- List publications, poster presentations or conference details you have been published in or have attended. This applies more to an academic CV than an industry CV
- List any techniques or technologies you have used within your PhD that are relevant to the role you are applying for
- Ensure you list your academic qualifications in reverse chronological order. Your PhD should be at the top of the list
If you are seeking a postdoc opportunity in academia, the structure of your CV will be somewhat different from that of a conventional CV. However, there are some similarities, such as:
- Name and contact details – always make sure that your name, and a contact number, email or LinkedIn profile link is at the top of your CV
- Education – when listing your PhD be sure you list the title, aim, methodologies and results concisely
- Work experience – including part-time work and any relevant volunteering you may have done
- Skills – for example, lab techniques, or other specialist skills you may have attained during your PhD study or other work
- Interests and achievements – this section should be for your extra-curricular activities
- References – you can either list two references or you can opt to write ‘references available on request’
A CV for a PhD graduate should be somewhere between 2-4 pages long, depending on how many publications you have been published in and the number of conference presentations you have completed.
Achieving a PhD will allow you to be equipped with a plethora of skills and capabilities. Depending on your experience and the job you are applying for, you may wish to structure your CV in a way that classifies related job roles or skills together. For example, experience in:
- Lab work
CV for industry
If you are seeking a job opportunity outside of academia, you will need to create a more conventional CV which should be short and to the point. Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages, always using reverse chronological order for work experience and education. The following should be included:
- Name and contact details
- Education – give your PhD at least a brief paragraph explaining what your PhD the specialism, any special techniques used, and, any transferrable skills that may be beneficial for the role you are applying for.
- Work experience – when listing your work experience, you can opt to use the reverse chronological order method or you can group your experience into themes, such as technical/scientific experience, leadership experience and industry experience
- Skills – this can include all the significant skills you have attained through your working life, not only in your academic career.
- Achievements – both extracurricular and academic achievements
- Interests – this should focus on your extracurricular activities
- References – you can either list two references or opt to write ‘references on request’.
As your most recent qualification is your PhD, it is vital to ensure it takes pride of place. However, it is important to keep it clear and concise. Present a summary of your research in a paragraph or in bullet points and include any significant subject knowledge, or innovative techniques you may have used in your study. Remember to also outline impressive achievements and outcomes clearly.
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