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How to Write an Academic CV
Attention, ambitious individuals in the UK who are tirelessly pursuing their dreams in academia. Whether you are just starting your career or have honed your expertise in a specialised field, we want you to know that you are not alone and that we understand your unique challenges. For those reasons, we have created this comprehensive writing guide so you can get closer to realising your aspirations.
In the highly competitive landscape, your CV holds the power to unlock a world of exciting scholarships, esteemed positions, and extraordinary research opportunities. It is your opportunity to showcase your prowess in a way that captivates and inspires.
With our comprehensive guide, you can unlock your potential in the UK job market and better showcase your research, teaching, and achievements on your academic CV.
Writing a professional CV that successfully navigates through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is critical in securing career opportunities. Understanding the ATS algorithms and tailoring your CV accordingly will enhance its visibility and increase the chances of landing your desired academic position or research role.
In academia and research-related fields, a well-crafted CV is essential. Whether you're a professor, lecturer, postdoctoral researcher, graduate, student, or scholar it is crucial to develop a comprehensive master CV that can be tailored for each specific job. By strategically highlighting key components and aligning them with the desired role, you can present a compelling CV that showcases your qualifications and maximises your chances of success.
A master is a comprehensive document that contains all the relevant information about your education, work experience, skills, achievements, and qualifications. It serves as a repository of your professional history and can be used as a reference when tailoring your CV for specific job applications.
Remember, a CV should be a dynamic document you regularly update as you progress in your academic career. Continually update and refine your CV to reflect new achievements, publications, and experiences as they arise.
A job-specific CV for academic purposes is tailored to a specific job or position. It focuses on highlighting the most relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments that directly align with the requirements of a specific job.
Isabella Bennett, a highly accomplished Registered Dietitian, selected the California CV template to showcase her expertise. She seamlessly combines teaching, research, and public engagement in nutrition and STEM fields. With a deep understanding of nutrition, Isabella offers expert guidance for improved health. Her solid research background and industry experience enable her to develop tailored dietary plans.
The best academic CV format should include some, if not all, of the following key CV sections and information to effectively showcase your qualifications, research experience, and achievements:
Presentations and Conferences
Grants and Funding
Honours and Awards
Remember to present your CV in a clear, well-organised format. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make it easy to read and navigate. Tailor the content to the specific position or opportunity you are applying for, emphasising the experiences and achievements most relevant to that role.
When writing a personal profile on a CV, highlight your academic achievements, research interests, and professional goals. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write a compelling personal profile:
Begin your profile with a brief introduction about yourself, mentioning your academic qualifications.
Clearly state your research interests and any specific areas of expertise. Highlight the research questions you are passionate about and the broader impact of your research.
Mention any soft or transferable skills relevant to your field.
Use clear and concise language to make your profile easy to read and understand.
Customise your personal profile based on the position or opportunity you are applying for. Highlight the aspects of your profile most relevant to the specific role, research area, or institution.
Finally, carefully proofread your personal profile for any errors or typos. Ensure that it flows smoothly and effectively represents your qualifications and aspirations. Revise as necessary to make it clear, engaging, and compelling.
A personal profile is an opportunity to showcase your background, research interests, and career goals. Ensure it aligns with the rest of your CV and creates a positive impression on the reader.
Example of personal profile on an academic CV
Dedicated researcher with a strong background in molecular biology, focusing on understanding mechanisms of genetic regulation in cancer development. PhD in Biochemistry with multiple publications in renowned scientific journals, bringing expertise in molecular techniques, genomics, and data analysis. Passionate about translational research and contributing to novel cancer treatment therapies.
Example of personal profile on an academic CV for masters application
Highly motivated individual with bachelor’s degree in Biology. Keen interest in environmental conservation, eager to explore the intricate relationship between human activities and the natural world. Solid foundation in ecological principles, data analysis, and fieldwork through academic coursework and research experiences.
Example of personal profile on an academic CV for a PhD
Ambitious and driven individual seeking admission into the PhD program in Psychology. Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. Committed to pursuing cutting-edge research in cognitive development, specifically investigating the impact of early experiences on brain development and learning processes. Strong background in experimental design, data analysis, and neuroimaging techniques.
Refer to our PhD CV example article for more inspiration.
When showcasing work experience on a CV, it is important to highlight relevant positions and responsibilities demonstrating your expertise, research skills, and contributions to the academic community. Here are some tips on how to effectively present work experience:
Start with the most recent positions.
Focus on research-related roles.
Describe responsibilities and achievements.
Quantify achievements if possible.
Include teaching or mentoring experience.
Highlight relevant skills.
Use action verbs and concise language.
Tailor to the specific application.
Proofread and format consistently.
By effectively presenting your work experience, you can demonstrate your ability to conduct research, collaborate with others, and make valuable contributions to academia.
Example of how to present work experience on an academic CV in the UK
Research Assistant | Department of Psychology, University of Oxford | Oxford, UK, 2019 - Present
Contributed to research projects on memory formation, conducting literature reviews and assisting in design and implementation. Collected and analysed behavioural data, ensuring accuracy using statistical software. Collaborated with researchers to prepare manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. Recruited and scheduled participants, maintaining ethical standards. Presented research findings at seminars and conferences, engaging in scholarly discussions.
Published a research article titled "Exploring the Role of Cognitive Processes in Memory Formation" in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
Received the Best Presentation Award at a national conference for effectively communicating complex research findings on the impact of cognitive processes on memory consolidation, demonstrating excellence in research and presentation skills.
It is important to emphasise your academic and transferable skills and customise the skills section to match the requirements of the position or program you're applying for. Always use clear and concise language to effectively convey your skills and their relevance. Moreover, include a mix of hard and soft skills to present a well-rounded profile demonstrating your expertise, abilities, and suitability for the opportunity.
Examples of hard skills:
Specialised equipment operation
Examples of soft skills:
Writing and communication skills
Teaching and mentoring skills
Analytical and critical thinking
Organisation and time management
Collaboration and teamwork
Adaptability and flexibility
Attention to detail
It is essential to include the relevant details clearly and organised. Here's a guideline on how to effectively present your education section:
Begin with your highest level of education and work backwards chronologically. This format ensures that the reader sees your most advanced qualification first.
Specify the exact degree you have obtained, such as a Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, or Doctor of Philosophy.
If you're pursuing a degree, indicate it as "In Progress", or the year you are expected to graduate.
Mention the university/institution.
Include honours and distinctions.
If you are a recent graduate, include relevant or notable courses/modules.
Example of education:
Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience | University of Cambridge, UK, 2024
Master of Science in Psychology, University College London,UK | 2019
Distinction in Thesis Research
Relevant coursework: Advanced Neurobiology, Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis, Cognitive Psychology.
Listing publications on your CV is vital for showcasing your research contributions and achievements. Here's a guideline on how to effectively present your publications section:
Dedicate a section specifically for your publications. You can label it "Publications" or "Selected Academic Publications."
List your publications in reverse chronological order, with the most recent publications first.
Provide the full citation for each publication in a consistent and standardised format. Include the authors' names, title of the paper, name of the journal or conference proceedings, volume/issue number (if applicable), page numbers, and publication year. If it's an accepted or in-progress publication, mention it as "Accepted" or "In progress" along with the journal or conference name.
Specify your roles in the publication, such as first author, co-author, or corresponding author.
Maintain a consistent format throughout the publications section, including font style, size, and spacing. You can use bullet points or a numbered list for clarity and readability.
Provide DOI (Digital Object Identifier) links or hyperlinks to your publications if applicable.
Example of publications:
Smith, J., Johnson, A., & Anderson, B. (2022). Title of Article. Journal of Neuroscience, 45(2), 123-145.
Anderson, B., Johnson, A., & Smith, J. (2021). Title of Conference Paper. Proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive Science, 32-40.
Johnson, A., Smith, J., & Anderson, B. (2020). Title of Book Chapter. In S. Lee (Ed.), Advances in Neuroscience Research (pp. 78-92). Publisher.
A well-crafted CV is crucial for showcasing your academic achievements, research contributions, and potential as a scholar. It should be concise, focusing on the most relevant information about your qualifications, research experience, and publications. Keep these expert tips in mind:
Tailor your CV to the specific position or program you're applying for.
Structure your CV logically with clear headings and subheadings.
Highlight notable achievements like publications, presentations, awards, and grants.
Emphasise research experience, methodologies, and outcomes.
Maintain a clean and professional layout, consistent formatting, and error-free content.
Whether you need assistance ironing out inconsistencies in your CV content or want to create a compelling CV from scratch, we have the tools and expertise to help you make a strong impression. Our intuitive builder lets you easily choose an expertly-designed CV template to create well-structured CVs and cover letters. Alternatively, check out our CV Writing Services.
These types of CVs differ in purpose, length, format, and focus. An academic CV showcases academic achievements, research experience, publications, and field contributions. It spans multiple pages and is geared towards academic positions, grants, fellowships, and graduate programs. On the other hand, a professional CV emphasises professional experience, skills, and achievements. It is tailored for non-academic roles in diverse industries and sectors.
The best CV layout for this purpose is clean, organised, and easy to read. It should effectively highlight your academic qualifications, research experience, publications, and other relevant information. While there isn't a single "best" layout that suits everyone, it’s important to present information in a way that is easy to navigate and allows the reader to assess your qualifications and achievements quickly.
In this field, it is not common practice to include references directly on the CV itself. Instead, you would typically provide a separate document or page dedicated to your references, often called a "References List" or "References Sheet." It's important to check the specific requirements or preferences of the institution or employer you are applying to, as some may have specific instructions on how they prefer to receive references.
The length of this type of CV can vary depending on your specific circumstances, including the stage of your career, the depth of your experience, and the requirements of the position or program you are applying for. In most cases, a CV for a position within academia can range from two to four pages. Still, it is not uncommon for more experienced academics with extensive research and publication records to have CVs that extend beyond four pages.
While there is no one "best" CV format, following these guidelines will help you create a strong CV that effectively presents your achievements and potential as a Masters student. Here are some important aspects to include in your CV:
List your educational background in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent degree. Include the institution name, degree title, dates of study, and any relevant coursework or dissertation details.
Highlight any research experience you gained during your undergraduate studies or internships. Include the project titles, the institutions or supervisors you worked with, and a brief description of your contributions and outcomes.
If you have any research publications or conference presentations, list them with full bibliographic details. Include the title, authors, journal/conference name, publication year, and relevant impact factors or citations.
Highlight your academic and technical skills relevant to the field of study you are applying for. This may include laboratory techniques, software proficiency, data analysis skills, or language proficiency.
Mention any academic honours, scholarships, or awards you have received during your undergraduate studies.
The order of sections on a CV may vary based on individual preferences and the specific requirements of the position or program you are applying for. Remember to customise the order and emphasis of sections based on your background and the requirements of the position or program you are applying for. Keep the layout clean, organised, and easy to navigate, using consistent formatting throughout the CV.
When writing a CV for a PhD application, it's important to highlight your academic qualifications, research experience, publications, and other relevant information that showcases your potential as a PhD candidate.
Even without direct experience, highlight your achievements, skills, and potential for future growth. Tailor your CV to the specific program or position you are applying for, emphasising the aspects of your background that align with their requirements.
When creating a CV, it's important to be selective and include only relevant information highlighting your qualifications and achievements. Here are some things you should generally avoid including:
Unless a particular work experience directly relates to your academic field or research, it's best to omit it from your CV. Focus on highlighting research experience, teaching experience, and academic-related roles.
While including basic personal information like your name, contact details, and professional website or LinkedIn profile is necessary, avoid including personal details such as your date of birth, marital status, or photographs.
Unless your hobbies or interests are directly relevant to your academic field or demonstrate transferable skills, including them in your CV is generally not necessary.
Once you have completed higher education, such as a bachelor's or master's degree, it's generally unnecessary to include your high school education. Instead, prioritise higher-level qualifications and relevant achievements.
While showcasing honours, scholarships, and awards is important, avoid including unrelated non-academic achievements or accomplishments, such as sports achievements or irrelevant certifications.
While it's important to highlight relevant academic and technical skills, only include unrelated or generic skills directly related to your field of study or research interests. Focus on skills that are specific to your academic discipline or research area.
Yes, including skills on your CV can be beneficial. While the primary focus of a CV for this type of position is on your education, research experience, and publications, including a skills section allows you to highlight specific abilities relevant to your field of study or research area.
When writing about achievements in your CV, it's essential to highlight your accomplishments and provide specific details to showcase your academic excellence. Here are some tips to effectively describe your academic achievements in your CV:
Clearly state your achievements in a concise and specific manner. Instead of using general statements, provide details that highlight your accomplishments.
Include information that demonstrates the significance and relevance of your achievements. This can include the name of the award, the organisation or institution granting the award, the criteria for selection, and any additional recognition received.
Whenever possible, include quantitative measures to provide context and make your achievements more impactful.
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