How to Write a Professional Academic CV
No matter what stage you are at in your academic career, having a professional academic CV is essential. Applying for jobs, grants, fellowships and even conferences will all require you to submit an academic CV. This document is different from a business résumé and has a unique format.
The biggest difference between the format of an academic CV and business résumé is length. There is no need to limit yourself to two pages when writing an academic CV, and the document will become longer and longer as your career progresses. Academic CVs also do not include bullet points expanding on the duties of each position. Your academic CV is, for all intents and purposes, a list. This list should be in reverse chronological order throughout with the dates clearly indicated. This format makes it easier for the person reviewing your CV to gauge your productivity over time.
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing your academic CV is to tailor it to each position you apply for. You should prioritize the accomplishments that are most important to the intuition/position you are applying for. Does the position emphasize teaching or research? It is also important to read the job posting or application requirements closely and adhere to their specifications. For example, some fellowships only ask for a selection of publications, rather than your entire publication history.
You should also reorganize the sections of your CV to fit the requirements of the position or grant that you are applying for. Since you will not use the same CV for every application, it is important that you also keep a master CV that you update with every single award, publication, and conference presentation throughout your career. While presentations at smaller conference within your university might not find their way onto your CV for a national fellowship, they are useful for demonstrating your involvement in the university when up for tenure or a promotion. Finally ensure that the information on your CV relevant to your experience level. If you are a tenured professor there is no need to include travel awards from graduate school, and likewise recent graduates do not need to include accomplishments from their undergraduate degree.
Below you will find all the information that should be included on your academic CV. As the order of some section (especially publications) can be field specific, consult with a trusted senior advisor in your department about what the conventions are.
Contact information, including address, phone number and email address
Where are you currently employed? Include your title, institution, and office/contact information.
This section is essential and is always found near the top. List your degrees in reverse chronological order including the department, institution, and year of completion. Under your Ph.D. entry you may include the title of your dissertation/thesis and your committee.
Immediately following education, list your professional appointments and academic employment history. Obviously if you are a recent graduate you may not have previous academic employment so you can skip this section. When listing your employment history, only include contracted positions such as Postdoctoral, instructorships, adjunct and tenure track positions. Include Teaching Assistant (TA) and one-off course adjunct positions in the “Teaching” section, not here. Include the title of the position, institution, and years you held the position.
This is the bulk of your CV. The subheadings in this section and their order will vary based on your field. In general, you can divide this section into books, edited volumes, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, web based publications, other publications (including some non-academic publications of note). Those in STEM fields will want to start with peer-reviewed original research articles, followed by review articles. You may want to bold your name in the author list so first author publications are easily identifiable. You can also include forthcoming publications or publications under review, giving as much detail as possible.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
You may choose to put this section above publications if it really stands out (otherwise move it further down). Include the name of the award, granting organization/institution, monetary amount, and year.
GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS
In some fields, these are different from awards. If that is the case in your field, include the name of the fellowship, funding organization, monetary amount, and year span.
In this section, you should list talks you have been invited to give at other institutions. Include the title of your talk, department, inviting institution, location (if different from the location of the inviting institution), and date of the talk.
The subheadings of this section are also field-dependant. Organize your conference activity into panels organized and papers presented. Include the title of your paper in quotations, followed by the name of the conference, institution, city, and date. In STEM fields, you will want to ensure you distinguish between podium presentations and poster presentations. You should also include the full author list before the title of the presentation or poster, bolding your own name. If a paper, panel, or abstract has been accepted for an upcoming conference, you can include it in this section.
Depending on how extensive your teaching experience is, this section can be organized in a few different ways. You can choose to organize it by course level, by institution, or by area/field. Include the title of the course and the year(s) taught. Courses you TAed should be included in this section. If, at your institution, TAs design and are the sole instructor for their courses, you should label yourself as an instructor for these courses.
If you have been a research assistant, this is the place to mention it. You can also include information on your fieldwork here.
This section includes things like society membership, journal manuscript review work, and roles in professional organizations. You should also include departmental/university service, such as search committee membership and other committee work.
There are some categories that are optional and may be specific to your field, experience level, and what you are applying for. These can include languages, research interests, dissertations supervised, skills, relevant work experience, and selected media coverage.