There is no definitive way of creating an academic CV, but it is important to think of it as a tool for communication with a potential employer at a university. Thus, a CV needs to stand out from the crowd and provide the potential employer with relevante information in a clear manner. Always try to address the specific potential employer in both form and content. To be able to do that you need to research the university, department, research groups, researchers, etc.
Structure of an academic CV
The contents and structure of a CV can be as presented below. It is, however, not limited to these elements.
- Contact info
- Good profile photo
- Profile text
- Academic work experience
- International experience
- Voluntary work experience
- Teaching experience
- Research groups
- Professional affiliations
- Conference participation and invited talks
- Grants, honors, and awards.
- IT and technical skills
- Language skills
- About you (e.g. your hobbies and sport activities)
tAIlor your cv to the Specific job
You need to tailor your CV to the specific academic job and ensure the script is relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV. It all depends on the relevance of each element. The different experiences have different aspects to them in relation to the position for which you are applying.
It is highly recommended to include a profile text to your CV. It is a small text – about 5-8 lines – that connects your abilities and motivations to the specific academic job. Why do you apply for this particular job? How can you use your competences in the job? Make it relevant for the specific potential employer. Keep in mind that this is the only part of a CV that focuses on the future.
When describing your experiences, leave as little space as possible for interpretation – always back up your claims with a context. That goes for both professional, academic and personal competences. If taken out of context, they are just meaningless words.
For every academic work experience and education you have had, consider including the following points:
- Focus: What did your work focus on?
- Compenteces: What competences did you develop?
- Results: What results did you make? (Results can be scientific results, publications, particularly successful teaching, patents, organisational impact etc.)
Include a list of your publications either as part of your CV or seperately and refer to your VBN/ORCID profile.
- Think about the layout - it should create an easy overview.
- Academic CVs can be of any lenght, because you need to include all of your relevant publications, fellowships, conferences, teaching activities, etc. Often the CVs of young researchers are around 5 pages long excluding list of publications.
- Use your private adress, e-mail, and phone number as contact information.
- It is not necessary to include your date of birth - and never include your CPR-number!
- Within each section, list your experiences in reverse chronological order.
- Translate your competences into the language of the particular department/employer.
- Match the language used in the job advertisement.
- Present your academic (and other) work experience before your educational background.
- Present all your teaching experience (supervision, lecturing, censor etc.), number of hours and ECTS (if possible), your role etc. Do not include names of students unless you have made agreements with them - or if it is publicly available knowledge.
- You do not need to provide the names of references in your CV. You can (but do not need to) write 'references available upon request' - most employers would assume this to be the case.
- Check and double check your spelling and grammar in order to avoid errors - and enlist a second pair of eyes to check over it. It might not be the deciding factor, but it surely leaves an impression.
- Make sure to communicate your relevance in a clear manner.
CV in other countries
The above applies to a Danish context. If you are searching for a research position abroad, we recommend you to research on practices in the specific country – check out the advice presented by the career center’s website at an esteemed university. This will provide you with you good inspiration.
Find inspiration for your academic CV online. Take a look at others' academic CVs. What works? What do you like?
Individual career counselling
As a PhD student, recent PhD graduate (until one year after obtaining the PhD degree), or young researcher at AAU, you can book a one-on-one talk to discuss your academic CV and future career. Read more about individual career counselling.