How to write an academic CV

Els - AcademicTransfer
17 Oct ’19

Whether you are at the beginning of your career or have made several steps already, your Curriculum Vitae needs continuous attention. When applying for a job, sending in your CV is still a top priority. A great opportunity to make a good first impression! 

Besides summarizing several CV basics, when preferring an academic career, you should include academic skills and experiences primarily. Therefore, I will focus on these today. 

CV essentials

Let’s start with some CV essentials. When applying for a job, you aim  for a job interview. Make it as easy as possible for the employer to contact you. Your name, date of birth, e-mail address and telephone number should be on top of your CV. You can decide for yourself if you want to add more details, like your address, a professional photo, your nationality, driver licence, personal website, and/or online (professional) profiles, like LinkedIn/Researchgate. The more details you add, the more transparent it will come across in the Netherlands.

Your CV needs to consist of clear sections. Always include a personal profile, your educations, employments, skills, additional activities (volunteering/student associations), and references. Make sure you adapt your CV to the job description. Highlight the things that are important for that specific job.

Profile section

This section is your personal pitch in which you explain in a few sentences who you are and what skills and ambitions you have. What in particular makes you interesting for this employer and this specific position? What is the match between you, the organisation, and the job? Use this paragraph to stand out.

Here is an example of what you can write in this paragraph: “I’m a scientist specializing in… (field). My research focuses on … (major topic). Using … (research methods), I found … (major results) which is important to … (social context). I’ve learned …. (skills). My personal goal is to … (research ambition).”

An academic CV

If you want to start or proceed a career in science, your CV needs to breathe ‘research’. I will give you 4 tips on how to make your CV more academic: 

1. Focus on your research experience

Depending on your seniority, you can add your research experiences to the basic sections ‘education’ or ‘employment’ or you can add a specific research section to your CV. Provide a brief summary of your past or current research, your research methodologies, and your future research interest. It is important to include the names of your supervisors as well. Most researchers and professors in the same field know each other. 

2. Give attention to teaching or administration experience

Have you ever supervised students? Organized a course, field work or gave training? Have you ever planned a conference or gave a talk? Or marked students paperwork? Mention it all on your CV, because they imply teaching and administrative qualities which can be an asset for your future academic job. 

3. Mention funding or awards

If you achieved to get some funding or if you have won an award, highlight it in your CV. These are achievements to be proud of and they deserve a special spot. 

4. List your publications

It goes without saying that if your article has been published, that you give this attention too. If you have a long list of publications, we advise you to separate it from your CV and make a publication list document. The same goes for conferences or talks you gave. 

Make it readable

Some final CV tips: write your CV in reverse chronological order. Employers are mostly interested in your recent activities. When you’re a starter and don’t have a lot of employment or research experience, put your educational experience first and highlight your master thesis. 

Make sure the document is readable, scannable. Appearance counts too! Use clear paragraph titles and save your document as a PDF, then you prevent layout changes due to different computer programs. Also make sure that you give the document file your name. A professor gets a lot of resumes so your CV might get lost when you did not name the file correctly. 

Match your CV with jobs

AcademicTransfer offers an option to upload your CV and match it with all current available and past vacancies. By using this matchmaking tool, you might gain insight into how your CV actually matches with what recruiters and employers are looking for. Give it a try! 

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