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Need to write a new academic CV? Let us do the research and teaching for you this time – we’ll help you brush up those CV writing skills with our latest how-to guide.
Of course, there are a wide range of career paths in academia and whether you’re a recent graduate just beginning your journey or a postgraduate, there’s plenty to consider.
What do you want to be – for example, do you want to become a higher education lecturer? That typically has a starting salary of around £33,000, according to the National Careers Service.
The UK also offers a Global Talent visa for foreign researchers and academic leaders to take up a science, social science, medicine, engineering or humanities role in Great Britain.
And if – now or in the future – you have an award or grant funding worth £30,000 or more, you may be eligible for UK Research and Innovation endorsement.
Whichever path you want to go down, let’s look at the dos and don’ts of writing an academic CV that helps you book an interview.
Firstly, get the basics right. For example – use a clear layout, avoid complicated formatting and send your CV as a PDF.
Always think about how you can customise your academic CV to each role you apply for, tailored to the job description.
Check your CV thoroughly before sending – fix spelling and grammar mistakes, or anything else that will make potential employers stop reading.
For more information on getting started, here’s our comprehensive guide to writing a CV.
Academic CVs tend to differ from those for other professions in terms of structure and sections.
At the end of the CV, there will usually be words to the effect of ‘References available on request’ or something similar.
But on an academic CV, you’ll often see some or all of the following sections too:
Moreover, it’s likely you’ll want to expand the education section and put it near the top of your academic CV.
Shortly we’ll take a look at each of these sections and what to include.
Sometimes it’s not easy to use figures or statistics on an academic CV to show how much impact you’ve had in your career.
It’s not always appropriate to specify exactly how much money you’ve received in funding, for example (however, it is common for scientific or business-focused CVs).
Give as many relevant and impressive examples as you can. Write about how many courses you’ve taught, conferences you’ve presented at, awards you’ve received, or reports you’ve had published.
You can always mention how many staff you’ve been responsible for too.
Some of these may not apply to you, so don’t worry – but you see where we’re going. Try to quantify your work achievements to date.
These facts and figures will have more impact in the right context. If you’re struggling to explain your best ones, use the STAR method.
Strong CVs feature plenty of evidence to back up claims, otherwise the achievements can sound too generalised, so employers struggle to see how you stand out.
If you need to give a long or complex STAR example, consider including it in your cover letter or supporting statement instead.
Taking all of the above into account, here’s a short academic CV template to help you get the ball rolling:
Aside from the contact details, you can be more selective about the sections you include in an academic CV – some parts of the below may be more relevant to you than others.
Tailor each CV to your own circumstances and the job description. We’ve included brief, approximate examples of what potential employers would expect to see in each section.
[Address] – [Phone number] – [Email address]
Personal Statement / Research Objective
MA English researcher with five years of teaching experience. Looking to continue my research into Renaissance literature by securing a UK postgraduate research position.
Qualifications and Education
[University name, Master’s degree] [Dates]
Thesis: Feminism in Elizabethan Literature; Supervisor: Dr M Scholes; Submitted: July 2022.
[University name, Bachelor’s degree] [Dates]
Modules: English Literature 1558-1603; The works of John Fletcher; Shakespeare sonnets.
Research / Teaching Experience
[Institution name, Role] [Dates]
Funding / Grants
Received Lauren Griffin Studentship funding at Redshire University – one of only seven studentships offered on Master’s programmes.
[Institution name, Role] [Dates]
Conferences / Presentations
Presented ‘Enlightening Elizabethan Writing: A Question of Time’ at NG College, June 2023.
Attended the Elizabethan Era Literature Conference hosted by The Wills Society, May 2023.
Positions / Awards / Honours
Award for Innovative Technology in Class (Redshire University, 2023).
Nominated for Coombes Award for research and academic excellence (Redshire University).
[Name] – [Role] – [Institution] – [Phone number] – [Email address]
Give yourself the best chance possible with an outstanding academic CV, because there’s plenty of competition out there for the most desirable roles.
Remember that potential employers have lots of CVs to look through, so make sure you have a strong opening to hold their attention.
Start with the basics, then focus on including the right information for the job description. Provide evidence to back up your achievements.