Your CV should be a clear and concise summary of your qualifications, skills and experience but you also need to tailor it to your target audience. A CV for an academic post will differ in style to a CV for a private sector role. In essence, your CV is a marketing document and you need to ensure that it conveys information relevant to the employer's requirements.
An academic CV can be longer than the standard 2 pages and much will depend on your status; a recent PhD graduate may have few publications to include but an established researcher may have a longer list. There is no defined layout and the content and emphasis will vary according to the role, institution and your own selling points. Most CVs, however, will include the three main sections: research, teaching and administration.
How you choose to organise your CV will depend partially on the role - for positions at research intensive universities you will need to prioritise your research experience whereas teaching only roles will demand greater emphasis on your teaching experience.
What to include
- Research output - publications, conferences, posters etc
- Teaching experience - courses, delivery mode, UG or PG, pedagogy
- Administrative experience - SSLC representation, convening seminars etc
- Funding - was your PhD RC funded? Any travel/conference awards
- Awards - scholarships, grants, prizes.
Non academic CVs
The style and content of your CV will vary depending on whether you are applying for a position that requires your research background and specialist knowledge, or your transferable skills. If you are applying for research roles (in R&D or policy work) then you need to emphasise the practical application of your PhD or post doctoral research to the job in question. For other jobs removed from your research or subject knowledge you will need to focus on the transferable skills, giving clear examples of how - and why- you meet the job/person specification.
CVs for research posts
- provide a summary of thesis/research showing relevance to job
- you may need to demonstrate commercial awareness
- emphasise any collaborative activities, project work, funding secured etc
- highlight any specialist skills/techniques
- relate your transferable skills to the workplace e.g. team work, problem solving, innovation
- ideally the CV should be confined to 2 pages.
CVs for non research posts
- present your PhD as professional experience, avoid academic jargon/terminology
- omit detailed information about publications and conferences - the employer is more interested in what you can do
- identify and highlight the skills you have developed during the PhD/research process
- sell all relevant experience: this may include prior work experience or voluntary activities
- your CV should be a maximum of 2 pages.