When applying for your first academic position, you’ll need to create something that is a little different to get your CV noticed by employers. An academic CV is more comprehensive than a standard document and should detail your academic qualifications, skills and experience, as well as any notable publications you may have. An effective academic CV will impress the institutions you apply to, and prove that you’re capable of doing the advertised jobs, therefore persuading hiring managers to invite you through to interview stage. Here are some tips to make your academic CV shine – and ensure it gets noticed by employers:
Do your research
Preparation is key to any successful CV, but it becomes even more important when you’re applying for an academic role. Tailoring your CV to the types of role you are applying for is an absolute must. Take a look at plenty of relevant job specifications before you start writing so you can match up your qualifications and skills to the most frequently appearing job requirements.
Have you researched the institutions, browsed their websites and looked further into the specific departments you’re applying to? This will help you to gauge how your expertise can complement theirs, which you can then incorporate into your CV.
After researching the roles, you may find that a particular publication or achievement of yours is more relevant to the role than others. Make sure you highlight those and go into more detail about them in your CV, if this is the case.
Structure for success
Despite academic CV’s being more detailed, normal CV writing rules still apply. The document should be well organized and easily readable with a clear font, muted colour palette and white gaps between sections.
Contact details – Include your phone number, email address and location.
Profile – An introductory overview of your skills, experiences and academic experience, sometimes called a personal statement
Experience – A list of your previous roles, starting with the most recent.
Research – A summary of current or past research experience.
Education – Include the institution, dates of study and outcomes.
Notable publications – A shortlist of any notable publications you have produced. If you have lots of relevant pieces, you could provide a full list in a separate appendix.
Reel employers in with a profile
When applying for academic roles, CV’s can become pretty lengthy. This makes it even more important to capture the employer’s attention with an impactful profile at the top of the CV. In 5-10 lines, summarise the education, skills, expertise and experience which make you the perfect candidate for the role.
Include your specialised field, prestigious institutions you’ve worked in, research and notable awards or publications in your profile – always referring back to the job requirements to make sure it’s relevant. An effective academic profile will make the reader feel compelled to read more about you.
Include examples of your work
An interview-winning CV includes plenty of facts, figures and metrics. Using numbers in your achievements proves the impact you have made, and can make, in any institution. These figures don’t always have to be monetary. For example, you could mention the time taken to deliver a piece of research or the percentage of students in your class who achieved outstanding results in your classes.
It’s always disheartening when you put time and effort into your CV but don’t hear back from applications. However, it’s important not to let rejection get on top of you, and instead, continue to be proactive in your job search.
Apply for lots of jobs, tweaking your CV to match the requirements of each. It’s also beneficial to make some speculative applications. This means reaching out to an institution with your covering letter and CV, even if they’re not advertising for any specific roles at that time. It shows initiative and they may even have a suitable role in the pipeline or keep you on the books for future positions.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV