How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)
• CV is an academic version of a resume to impress your potential co-researchers in academia.
• There are no hard and fixed rules to follow when writing a CV and yet, you still have conventions.
• You may include anything that shows well your research asset but mind that it should be directly related to research.
Have you heard about the CV? You might have noticed an attached document on the professor’s profile on the university's website. The Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is one of the most important documents in the academic career. Some might ask what’s the difference between a CV and a Resume. The two are used interchangeably but in academia, a CV is preferred. You’ll see when applying to a seminar or a research position, they ask for a CV to submit.
A resume is a rather compact document including professional experiences to impress potential employers. People say that one page of a resume is ideal whereas a CV is acceptable with long pages - although it has generally two or three pages. Because CV is an outline of your research career containing detailed information you have done as a researcher.
Every researcher has their CV
To make a long story short, a CV is used to market yourself as a researcher in academia.
Job applications, for example, the HR department will figure out who you are by reading your CV first. They will shortlist candidates based on CVs submitted. It goes the same process for graduate school admission since the first thing that the admission committee will do is to review your CV. If your CV is persuasive, they go over your personal statement, writing sample, and the rest. You can also attach the CV to promote yourself when you seek out an opportunity to present your research at a seminar or workshop.
It can’t be stressed enough the significance of creating your CV and keeping it updated. You don’t know when your network would refer you for the position that matches your research interests. That’s why you need to be ready to grab opportunities when they come. Another reason to keep it fresh is not to miss your achievements. If you get lazy at updating your CV, you might miss the details of what you have done - it will lead you to sell yourself short against your will.
Sections you should include in the CV
People in academia might weigh in their opinions on how a CV should be written. But there are no fixed rules to follow. This means that you’re supposed to have much deliberation on how to present your research excellence on the CV. There are no fixed rules to follow and yet, you still have conventions. The below sections are considered as essentials:
Awards and Honors
Below are considered as optional sections:
Additional Personal Information
Skills and Techniques
You are free to add and remove sections to stand out your accomplishments, as far as it is relevant to your research. But use your best judgment whether it will likely be viewed as an asset or not.
Let’s find out then more of the sections that you should include on your CV.
Advice on contents of the CV
What goes at the top of this section is your name, current affiliation address, and institutional email address. Without contact information, you can’t get reached out. It is general to use the institutional email address but you can also write side-by-side a commercial email address such as Gmail just in case.
Next, describe your educational background starting with your most recent to the oldest. If you are a current PhD student, display them in this order: PhD, Master, and Bachelor.
If you graduate from Magna Cum Laude or Summa Cum Laude, it is worth notifying the HR team/admission committee. It is rarely seen highschool backgrounds on the CV but as far as it is helpful for your career, it is acceptable to include.
For graduate degree holders, it is common to refer to thesis titles and advisor names so that the HR team/admission committee can figure out and restrict your research areas based on that.
This section requires you to make the best use of your creativity. You should describe your research interests not too long but adequate - three or five sentences are ideal. Be sure to make them specific, not too broad.
This section is the beauty of the academic CV since the publication demonstrates your research accomplishments. How to list your research output depends on your decision. But keep it mind - what matters is that you should promote yourself via an effective CV.
If you're the third author on a paper, the publication can be listed as follows:
- Author 1, Author 2, Your name, Author 4, Article Title, Journal Title, Publication Date, Volume number(s), Page Numbers.
Referring to the above just an example, make a strategic plan to list your publications. In case you have a relatively small volume, you should deliberate for a better arrangement of the information.
a) In case you have more first author papers than co-authored ones, make your name boldface to stand out.
b) In case you have fewer first author papers, leave off what it is.
c) In case your article got published in the Journal with a high Impact Factor, indicate IF numbers followed by Page Numbers.
d) In case your article has a low Impact Factor but with a lot of citations, indicate how many cited.
If you have articles that are pending or submitted but not yet accepted, it’s okay to include them and mention them as ‘under review’. If you have manuscripts not yet submitted, you need to use your best judgment: Is adding manuscripts as ‘In preparation’ helpful? If you think it is, you may choose to add the Manuscript in preparation section and include them in it.
You can describe your research presentations and workshops in this section. It should be focused on displaying your development and accomplishments by attending conferences, submitting proposals, presenting papers and posters. If you have presented more oral sessions than posters, you may divide your list into two parts. You might also include a section on invited talks.
Most academic CVs would not feature this section. But if your research field values field experiences, listing your relevant work experience may be helpful - it will also explain the period away from academia. In case you went into PhD/Master’s program after your bachelor’s degree, you can customize it as Research Experiences. If you have 3 months of research experience at another university, for example, you may include it in this section. If you have internship experience as an undergraduate, you might include it but you should consider whether it is relevant to your research excellence or not.
Awards and Honors
You should list any awards and honors you have received here. Be sure to include awards that are related to your research excellence. Usually, you’ll be taken to a reputable researcher if you got fundings for the research than being self-financed. Because it proves that you are academically competitive.
Other sections you may include in the CV
Additional Personal Information
You may include language proficiency, marital and/or visa status in this section. Whether to list the additional personal data is totally optional. The additional personal information may provide more room to consider you as a prospective.
Language proficiency, for example, might be described with fluency levels such as Native in English, Fluent in French, and Intermediate in Spanish. Or you may indicate proficiency as follows: Proficient in spoken and written English. The purpose of this is to inform the reviewers that you are able to communicate in these languages. The marital status, for instance, is related to the health insurance coverage when a potential PhD student will expect to receive the funding (tuition fee, living costs, or etc). That’s why further information is being provided and the decision leaves in your hands.
The next section might be applied to researchers in the field of science and technology. Scientific researchers may stress their academic achievements with patents. Holding a lot of patents manifests that you’re aware of technical details in the field. If you have international patents, be sure to include them since it is regarded more valuable than domestic patents.
Skills and Techniques
You will then refer to the skills and techniques obtained upon the research process. This section may describe you more of a technician than a researcher, but it should be the key skills to carry out the research: how to handle the equipment and/or software such as an electron microscope or a CAD. If you succeed in having the HR team/admission committee find you competent, it is nicely done.
If you're a PhD trying to find a job in academia, a lecturer, for example, this section should be well organized. You may describe relevant teaching experience in this section. The PhD students may include their teaching assistantship in this section. You can also add this section in the name of Teaching & Advising Experience, to include mentorship experience if it is processed in the size of the college. Mentioning these experiences will be a plus factor describing you as a sociable researcher and positive influencer. This section might be dropped if these activities are not related to teaching.
It is not often the case that your research or project features in the press, but make sure to include it when it happens. Listing press releases in your CV will be valuable especially if it is directly relevant to your research area. It can be advantageous when you’re applying for a scholarship or a position related to your research because it might be evidence of your commitment to the research area.
A reference check involves contacting third parties to identify you, checking your educational backgrounds, competencies, and skills on your CV. Personal references are usually provided by the thesis advisor, or another professor and/or researcher who had co-research experience with you so that they can vouch for you. So be sure to add references who know you well. Contacting your references means that you’re shortlisted and you’re just ahead of final decisions. When checkers interview your references, they should know you enough. Unless your name will be scratched off from the list since your CV lost credibility. Make sure to add strong references to your CV.
We’ve been looking over what you should include in your CV so far. To restate, you may include and customize sections that well describe your academic excellence. Bear in mind that sections should be related to your research area since the CV is to market yourself as a promising researcher.
Try to make your CV organized and keep updating. So that everyone may know your commitment to the research!
How about making yourself known to your potential advisors via CV? Try it, it’s all FREE NOW!!
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