There are many academic CV guides and templates available online and in most cases no absolute ‘rule’ to follow when creating yours. This information focuses on some simple tips to help you write effectively. As with any kind of application, the crucial issue is that you emphasise your output. But, you will also need to show very specifically that you have a strategy for moving forward with your research and teaching that is tailored to the context of the institution that you are applying to.
Most applications will request that you include a cover letter and this will be the crucial space to ‘sell’ yourself. Remember, unless it is a research or teaching specific role you will need to clearly express your experience and skills in each key area of research, teaching and administration.
Write with the job specification in front of you. If you have not clearly explained how you meet each criterion then it is highly unlikely that you will be shortlisted.
Avoid vague statements with no content, like “I have extensive experience of juggling different tasks and bringing these to a successful conclusion”. Instead give a clear, concise example of how you have done this.
Try to avoid providing all your references from one department or institution.
Grants and awards are vitally important. Be very specific: include grant numbers, dates, and the amount awarded. Make sure you also indicate what you will be aiming to secure in grant funding in the future.
Is your CV is ‘scannable’? Unless you make it through to further rounds of the selection process it is unlikely your CV will be read in detail. Think about the important information and if it is possible to find it with a quick scan read.
On a related note – structure your CV carefully into logical sections. Don’t be afraid to use bold text, bullet points or charts but don’t let them take over and remember the CV is also a chance to show that you can write well.
Do some homework. Find information about the institution you are applying to explain how you are a good fit and could contribute to specific activities, research clusters or teaching.
If there is a contact given and you have questions, make a call! If you can make a good impression on the phone and put yourself in the mind of a selector it is more likely that your CV will stand out.
Avoid jargon. You want to show you are adept in the language of your specialism but you don’t want to be indecipherable. In the same vein, be clear about what content you have taught rather than using institutional course codes.
If you are applying for lots of positions, keep the job advert of each. If you are shortlisted you will need it to prepare for the interview and it will usually no longer be online after the post closes.
Have a look at this helpful Guardian article about the 10 most annoying things in an academic CV!