How to Write A Professional Academic CV

No matter what stage you are in your academic career, you need a professional academic CV. An academic curriculum vitae allows you to showcase yourself and your academic and professional achievements in a concise way.

Whether you are applying for an academic job, grants, fellowship and even conference, you will be required to submit an academic CV. You need to have a convincing CV that is well-organized and easy to read, yet accurately represents your highest accomplishments.

The academic CV is very different from any other type of CV and has a unique writing format. This is because you need to present your research, various publications and awarded funding in addition to other items contained in a non-academic CV.

Tips For Writing A Professional Academic CV

This guide provides advice and tips on how best to write a CV for the academic field. The advice and tips are organized into categories as could be used to structure a CV as well.

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Length: Since academic CVs must present so much information with regard to research and publications, it can be any length. However, if the job specifies the page limit for your CV, you have to adhere to it.

Structure: You need to choose a structure for your CV with the headings and sub-headings accordingly. When writing an academic CV, place the most important information at the top. Often, this will include your education, employment history, and publications. Within each section, list your experiences in reverse chronological order.

Other important categories to address include funding, awards and prizes, teaching roles, administrative experience, technical and professional skills and qualifications, any professional affiliations or memberships, conference and seminar attendances and a list of references.

Audience: Tailor your CV to your audience. For instance, some university or department value publication over teaching. In that case, you need to research and know what your audience wants. So, in that case, you should describe your publications before listing your teaching experience.

However, if you are applying to a university that prides itself on the quality of its instruction, then your teaching accomplishments should have pride of place. In this case, the teaching section (in reverse chronological order) should come before your publications section.

Formatting: Make your CV clear and easy to read. Use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, in a font size of about 12-pt. Use bullet points to highlight important items and to concisely present your credentials. Keep a consistent style for headings and sub-headings and main text – do not use more than 2 font types in your CV.

Consistency: You need to be consistent with whatever format you are using. For example, if you bold one section title, bold all section titles. Consistency will make your CV easy to read.

Proofread: Ensure your academic CV is free of spelling and grammar error. Re-read a few times after writing the CV to ensure there are no errors. Ask a friend or family member to look it over as well.

How to Write A Professional Academic CV

Below is a format which you can use to write your academic CV. When writing your CV, tailor every section to your field, and the job description. Some of these sections might not be applicable to your field, so remove any that don’t make sense for you.

Name
Curriculum Vitae
Contact information, including address, phone number and email address

CAREER SUMMARY

The career summary is not a statement of your ambitions or objectives. It is a brief summary of approximately 5 -7 sentences summarizing your expertise in your discipline(s), years of expertise in the area(s), noteworthy research findings, key achievements and publications.

EDUCATION

Provide an overview of your education starting from your first academic degree to the most recent degree obtained (reverse chronological order). Include the names of the institutions, location, date of graduation, thesis or dissertation topics and type of degree obtained.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

List your employment history in reverse chronological order, including position details and dates. You might break this into multiple sections based on your field. For example, you might have a section called “Teaching Experience” and another section called “Administrative Experience.”

PUBLICATION

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The listing of publications is a key part of an academic’s CV. It is advisable to list your most reputed publications in ranking of type, such as books, book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, non-peer-reviewed articles, articles presented as prestigious conferences, forthcoming publications, reports, patents, and so forth. Consider making an exhaustive list of all publications in an appendix.

Research As an academic, your research experiences, your findings, the methods you use and your general research interests, are critical to present in the first part of your CV. Highlight key research findings and accomplishments.

Honors and Recognitions Here is a section where you can allow yourself to shine. Share any prizes, awards, honors or other recognition for your research and work with the year it occurred and by who/which body the award was granted.

Funding The funding you have attracted for your research and work is recognition of the value of your research and efforts. If applying for positions, institutions also like to see what kind of funding you can attract. As with the honors and recognitions, be forthcoming with what you have obtained in terms of grants, scholarships and funds.

Other skills and qualifications As on every CV, academics should highlight key skills and qualifications relevant to your research and academic work. Technical and practical skills, certifications, languages, and more are relevant to mention in this section.

Professional affiliations and memberships If you belong to any professional group or network related to your areas of expertise, you should mention them in this section. Only list affiliations or memberships with which you are active (within the last 5 years, for example). This should not be a lengthy section.

Attendance at conferences and seminars List the most relevant conferences or seminars where you presented or participated in a panel within the last 5-7 years. In an appendix, you can add an exhaustive list of conferences and seminars where you participated by giving a speech, presented a paper or research, or participated in a discussion panel.

REFERENCES

It is advised to list at least three contact persons who can provide a reference for your research, work and character. Provide their names and complete contact information. Clearly, they should all be academics and all the people you have worked with.

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