Don't let your academic CV fall to the bottom of the stack.
For those of you who are pursuing careers in higher education, you need the right professional documents to help you land the job. This means using an academic CV.
Whether you call it an academic CV or an academic resume, this job-search document highlights your qualifications and experience to help you land a position in your field of choice. But there are a few things you must keep in mind, especially when editing your academic CV to pursue tenure-track professorships and other positions in higher education. Continue reading to learn more about the seven powerful changes you can make to your academic CV to help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Add your LinkedIn profile
Much like the resumes of professionals outside of academia, your academic resume should include your LinkedIn URL in the contact information section. LinkedIn is an extremely important job-search tool, and you should always include it on your job-application documents. But before you add your URL, make sure to polish up your profile and customize it so that it is easily identifiable as yours. From optimizing it with keywords to using a professional profile picture, make sure your profile stands out for all the right reasons.
2. Swap out your skills summary section
When it comes to your academic CV, your experience, education, certifications, publications, and other relevant contributions speak for themselves. Therefore, including a title, core competencies table, and a skills summary section is unnecessary. Instead, an effective academic CV leverages the “show-not-tell” approach. This means making sure the education, experience, and contribution sections of your resume use action verbs and other strong language to describe and quantify your achievements in a way that helps you stand out. Simply put, your key selling points will be in the critical and concrete details of your academic, teaching, and/or research contributions, so let them do the talking.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. You should craft a skills summary section, use a title, and develop a core competency table if you are applying for a position outside your core area of expertise or if you're targeting a specific or unusual position. For example, if you have been a researcher for most of your career and now wish to move toward lecturer or professor positions in the classroom, you should edit your academic resume like any other professional going through a career change would. This means including these three sections to effectively lead the reader toward the conclusion that you possess the skills and experience for the job — even if you've never worked in that capacity.
3. Lead with your education
Unlike other professional resumes, an academic CV typically starts with an education section before getting into your professional experience and accomplishments. This is because the basis of your competency in your field starts with your education and the degrees you have acquired in this area of study. You want to make sure that it is highlighted at the top of your document.
Of course, you can reverse the order and list your professional accomplishments first — especially if there are relevant accomplishments you want to highlight that will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants. But typically, the order starts with education, followed by professional experience, and then the sections for any relevant certifications, training, publications, presentations, committee contributions, research, grants, and other pertinent details or experience.
4. Break up your work history
If you've had several positions ranging from research to teaching, or even positions outside of academia that are relevant to your area of study, then it is best to break down your work history into smaller sections. For example, if you are a professor and researcher of chemistry who also has freelanced in the pharmaceutical sector throughout your career, then you should break it all up into three distinct work history sections: Teaching Experience, Research Experience, and Industry Experience.
However, this should only be reserved if you have extensive experience that requires organization. If you are just starting out and only have a handful of experiences under your belt, stick to one experience section.
5. Focus on your recent work
While all of your publications, presentations, experiences, etc. should be listed on your academic resume, you still want to focus on your most recent work to avoid revealing your age or dating yourself. This means removing details that are more than 25 years old. Yet, just because you should remove them from your document does not mean you should forget about them entirely. Instead, create your own list to keep in a portfolio and bring with you to your interviews
6. Organize your contributions
When it comes to your contributions section, this will take up the bulk of your academic resume. That said, you shouldn't put everything down in a nonsensical order and call it a day. Instead, make sure you list your relevant certifications, training, publications, presentations, committee contributions, research, and grants under their specific categories (i.e. publications under publications), number them, and place them in reverse chronological order.
The key? Keep it consistent. If you format the information in a category a certain way, make sure each addition to that category follows the same format as the others.
7. Remove your references
Lastly, just like other resume formats, you don't need to include a list of references on your academic CV. If a prospective employer wants to see your references, they will ask for them — no need to add more bulk to your document.
Not sure where to start with your academic CV? We get it — it's no easy feat. Writing your academic CV takes a lot of organizing, planning, and editing before it is ready to get you in the door. That's why you should consider talking to one of our TopResume writers. They understand the in's and out's of the academic CV and can help create a document that shows off your accomplishments in a way that will impress hiring committees. Don't let your dream job slip away because your academic CV wasn't ready.