How to write an academic CV

Els - AcademicTransfer
24 okt ’23

Whether you are at the beginning of your career or have made several steps already, your Curriculum Vitae needs continuous attention. Although we see a shift in the current labour market towards skill-based hiring, for most academic institutions your CV is still the starting point in the application procedure.

Is your CV ready for your next step? Our tips will help you to make a good first impression! 

CV essentials

Let’s start with some CV essentials.

Contact details

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.

Clear sections

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.

Example personal pitch

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. 

For some applications you will need to write a separate research statement. Learn how to write such a statement.

2. Give attention to transferable skills

What skills have you trained besides doing research? Have you ever supervised students? Gave training or courses, or maybe you organized field work? Have you ever planned a conference? Or marked paperwork?

Think about your natural talents and transferable skill set. Often researchers have experience with: teaching, project management, working with others, problem solving, abstract and critical thinking, managing research tools and data and many more! These skills are a gateway to a successful career within and outside academia, and therefore worthwhile to mention on your CV.

Would you like to get a better understanding of your skills? Take our free self-assessment and get to know yourself better.

3. Mention funding or awards

If you achieved to get some funding or if you won an award, this is all important information to highlight on your resume.

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

Here are some final CV tips:

Most recent activities first

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 and research. 

Make your document scannable

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

Would you like to know which currently available jobs match your CV? Try our CV Match! Upload your CV and match it with all current available and past vacancies.

If you would like to receive an alert by email when there is a new job that matches your CV, please save your document into your AcademicTransfer account.

CV templates

Are you looking for a CV template? Our Career Buddy offers tips and templates to help you tailor your CV. Get started right away!

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