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Academic CV: Writing Tips for Creating Your CV

A CV on a desk

The academic CV is a type of curriculum vitae which details educational background, research and teaching experience, professional appointments, fellowships, awards, publications, grants, and other key achievements. When applying for an academic position, creating an academic CV is one of the most important steps in the process. That is because a proper academic CV will showcase your achievements, displaying why you would be a valuable asset to any educational institution that would hire you.

Unfortunately, many people find themselves wondering exactly how to create the perfect academic CV. From formatting and structure to the various sections that your academic CV will include, it is likely that you have a lot of questions. Luckily, we are here to answer all of those questions, giving you the information that you need to write an academic CV that highlights your past achievements and attractive skills and qualities.

As always, don't forget to make sure that your CV stands out aesthetically so that you can present your professional skills appropriately. To do this with style and professionalism, we highly recommend using a CV template. When using a CV template, you won't have to put all of your time into the design of your CV. What does that mean? Put simply, you'll have much more time on your hands to ensure that your academic CV is properly formatted and filled with substance. Now, onto your questions about creating an academic CV!

Important Steps for Writing an Academic CV

Before we talk more specifically about proper format for an academic CV, we'd like to share some general information that you need to know. As you create your CV, you need to remember that academic selection committees have to review thousands of applications for each scholarship, post, or grant that they are offering. That means that you'll be facing a lot of competition and need to do everything in your power to make your academic CV stand out. That's why we want you to keep the following important steps in mind!

Tip #1- Think About Length, But Don't Agonize Over It

The first thing that you need to remember when creating your academic CV is that length isn't as much of a concern here. Unlike resumes (and even some other types of CVs), academic CVs can be of virtually any length. You can read our article on the difference between resumes and CVs for more information. That being said, if you are applying to a particular job, you should always check the job listing to see if it includes any specified page length limit on your CV. Otherwise, don't feel too limited by the length of your CV as it is less of a concern than when writing a resume.

Tip #2- Consider Your Audience

When creating an academic CV, you should always keep your audience in mind. Much like a resume, an academic CV should be tailored to fit the audience that will be reading it. If you are applying to work for a university or department, for example, you'll want to answer a couple of questions about that entity. For one, does this department value publication over teaching experience in terms of promotion decisions? If this is the case, you should focus on your publications before listing your teaching experience to prioritize the information.

By considering your audience as you write your academic CV, you'll be able to highlight the most important information and this will increase your chances of impressing a recruiter.

Tip #3- Be Knowledgable About Structure

Considering the fact that length isn't a major concern when writing an academic CV, you'll want to focus more on structure. A proper academic CV always places the most important information at the top of the document, for example. This includes your education, employment history, and any publications.

To make your CV stand out even more, consider inserting a personal statement at the top of your CV. In this section, you can sum up your skills and background and how it relates to the position you are applying for. Further, following proper structure, be sure to list your experiences in reverse chronological order in each section of the CV.

Tip #4- Make Your Academic CV Easy to Read

Although an academic CV is sure to contain a lot of information, you need to go above and beyond to ensure that your CV is uncluttered and easy to read. To keep your CV neat, utilize 1-inch margins on every side of the document. Additionally, use ample space between each section. To make the document even more attractive, consider including a bulleted list in some sections of the CV. It's been proven that bulleted lists are attractive to the human eye for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it breaks up long sentences and gives our eyes a break as we read.

Tip #5- Edit Carefully

As with any CV, you will want to ensure that your academic CV is professional and well-polished before submitting it. The only way to make sure that your CV is of the highest quality is by editing carefully. Ideally, your document will be completely free of errors. Read through your CV several times, proofreading for any spelling or grammatical errors along the way. For added reassurance that your CV is free of errors, we recommend getting an extra set of eyes to proofread. Ask a friend or family member to look behind you and offer any helpful feedback that they can provide.

Tip #6- Be Consistent

Regardless of what academic CV format you choose, you'll want to prioritize consistency. By that, we mean that you should bold all section titles if you bold even a single one, for example. Consistency not only makes your CV easier to read and more attractive but also displays professionalism and organization.

What is the Proper Format for an Academic CV?

You may be wondering about the proper academic CV format. The CV format that we'll be breaking down below will give you a better idea of sections you might include in your own.

As always, we recommend tailoring your CV to the unique field and job that you're applying for. Take this into consideration as you use the following guidelines to assist you in writing your academic CV.

We also want you to keep in mind that some of the sections listed here may not apply to your field. If that's the case, simply leave them out! Do what makes the most sense.

Contact Information

The first section of your academic CV should include all relevant contact information. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email address front and center.

Personal Statement

While this is an optional section, a personal statement is your opportunity to include a brief overview of why you're the perfect candidate for the position.


Next, list your academic background in the Education section of your CV. Include both undergraduate and graduate institutions that you attended. For each degree that you hold, list the institution, location, degree title, and the date you graduated.

Employment History

Provide all relevant work history in the Employment History section of your academic CV. These should be listed in reverse chronological order, including relevant details about the position and dates in that position.


In this section, list any fellowships or internships, and be sure to include the organization, title, and dates. You can also include any grants you have received in this section, including the amount of money awarded for each individual grant.


In the Honors/Awards section of your academic CV, include any awards that you have received for relevant work.


Use this section to include any service opportunities that you have completed for your department.


Relevant certifications and licenses can be a huge selling point for academic positions. Be sure to include any type of license, certification, or accreditation in this section as well as the date it was received and the date it expires.


This section is where you will include any publications, articles, or books you have written. Include all of the relevant information about each publication such as the title, journal title, and date of publication.

Professional Affiliations

Here, include any professional organizations that you belong to.


This is another optional section but this section provides the opportunity to include a glimpse into who you are. If you are bilingual, for example, this would be the section to include that information and could make you a more attractive candidate for an academic position.


You may want to also include a list of your references at the bottom of your academic CV in the event that it is relevant to the position you are applying for or if it is explicitly required by the job listing.

We hope that these academic CV writing tips and formatting examples have been helpful to you! If you simply follow these guidelines and keep these writing tips in mind, you're sure to have success. This ensures you can create an academic CV that is attractive, informative, and above all, professional. Good luck and check back to BuzzCV for more CV and career tips!

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