CAREER BRIEF

Toolkit: How to write a great academic CV

Academic CVs differ from those intended for industry roles. Here are some broad rules to follow.

Academic CVs differ from those intended for industry roles. Here are some broad rules to follow.

The basics

Word count. Academic employers tend to be less prescriptive than industry employers about the length of a CV. Arrange your CV to ensure that a recruiter sees the most important parts first.

Structure. Your CV should contain the following sections in the order:

• Brief personal details and career summary

• Education (most recent first)

• Publications, funding, awards and prizes, teaching and conference attendance (seperated into subsections)

• Technical and professional skills

• References

Design. An academic CV does not need to be beautiful, but it should be legible and consistent in its use of fonts, line breaks, bullet points and other details.

Proofreading. Everyone can make a mistake when writing their CV. Ask someone to check every word.

An example. Check out some examples of model CVs here, by Imperial College London’s careers service.

Dynamic verbs

Use dynamic verbs, which are specific, exciting words that demonstrate changes and accomplishments. Examples include accomplished, led, designed, developed, published, managed, ran, wrote, formulated, fixed and founded.

Geographical differences

It is common in some countries to include a picture of yourself. If you are in doubt, look for examples of CVs that are specific to the part of the world in which you are applying for a job.

Find out more

For a further 38 tips on how to write an academic CV, check out this blogpost.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01358-5

Paid content

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.