How to Write a Captivating Academic CV (template).

how to write an academic cv poster

Whether you are writing for a PhD position, or searching for a research job, an academic CV can look a little bit different to a typical resume for any other jobs you’ve had before.

Here, there is a focus on research experience, writing and often a very clear structure that is expected.

However, we want an academic CV to captivate your audience. You need to catch the eyes of potential supervisors, universities or new employers.

Here is the template that I follow for my Academic CV. I am currently a PhD candidate and have scored myself multiple tutoring roles during my time as a post-graduate student.

The general idea is to make sure it includes your academic qualifications, research experience, scholarships (or funding you’ve received), awards, conference and teaching experience and research outputs.

General Structure of an Academic CV

  1. Education
  2. Professional Experience
  3. Scholarships and Awards
  4. Teaching Experience
  5. Supervision
  6. Conference Presentations
  7. Non-Conventional Outputs
  8. Publications

If there are any sections here that you know you have no experience in, or that you aren’t able to fill yet, keep on reading – I have included alternative ideas to provide examples of your capabilities otherwise!

white printer paper on macbook pro

Education

Hopefully this one comes easily to you! For an academic CV, of course, you need some academic qualifications. Whether you have just started a degree, or have an undergraduate already under your belt, this is the spot for it.

I usually like to keep it simple here, but also tailored. The key is that everyone with an academic CV obviously has some kind of degree or qualification. Thus, for more, just be straightforward. Most people reading it would have gone through a similar experience, so the bells and whistles here are not needed.

Further, unless you have a very shiny GPA (almost perfect), you probably don’t need to include it. Just include the name of the degree, year completed (or expected graduation) and if you had to write a specialised thesis (as in, completed an Honours year), add the title here too. This lets the reader know a specialty area of yours.

Professional Experience

If you have lots of professional academic experience, this is where you would include it.

For me, this is where I detail any research roles/experience I have gained.

That is, time I’ve spent as a summer scholar, in research placements, or internships. I detail my job description, tasks I underwent and any specialty knowledge I acquired, alongside the name of the laboratory/university/company this was undertaken at.

Scholarships & Awards

This one is nice and easy, just simple list of awards you’ve gathered along the way, who from and what date.

This could include awards at conferences, commendations for your grades, or monetary scholarships won.

Whatever you can think of that deserves to be put on show, can be listed here.

My examples: 3MT (3 minute thesis) commendation or Best in Session at a conference.

Teaching Experience & Supervision

This will of course depend on how long you’ve been in the academic game and what tricks you’ve got up your sleeve!

For me, this section includes which courses I have tutored for, and the titles of my honours student’s theses.

If you don’t have teaching experience directly, you could include any things where you’ve volunteered your assistance. Before formally tutoring, I helped my supervisor teach a summer short course. Perhaps you’ve volunteered your expertise in university library sessions that aim to help out students in courses you’ve already completed.

Conference Presentations

Were you able to present at any conferences during your undergraduate degree? If so, add them here. This section could also include informal presentations. For example, during your laboratory’s meetings, or perhaps during a campus tour.

You could also call this section “Talks and Presentations” to better encompass all of the aforementioned experience.

Non-conventional Outputs

This section should include any publications that are not formally peer-reviewed. For me, this covers progress reports created for my industry partners, which involve countless hours of work, but never get published as full articles.

I was also able to write up a small article for an undergraduate research newsletter (after presenting at a conference). I also like to include this in my CV to show breadth of writing capabilities. Journal article writing is one thing, but being able to take on multiple writing styles and media is great to showcase.

Publications

This is the most typical section that you will see in any academic’s CV: the pride and joy of scientific research.

Here is where you list any papers that you have authorship.

If you are in the process of submitted to a journal, you can also be a little sneaky and cite your work as in preparation.

Further tips for your academic CV…

For some beautiful but simple CV templates, I suggest looking at Canva.

If you need an academic CV to complement your PhD proposal – have a look here at my how to write Phd proposal to secure your postgrad spot.

All the best!

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