The Academic CV: A Guide to the Essentials

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To some degree, most resumes a hiring manager receives are similar—for example, they follow roughly the same format, and they feature somewhat similar content because everyone’s applying for the same job. Still, there are some differences. An academic CV (curriculum vitae), also known as an academic resume, resembles a traditional resume with some slight variations. 

If you’re pursuing a career in the academic, scientific, or medical field, you can’t submit a traditional resume and expect to get an interview. You need an academic CV that demonstrates your knowledge and experience in that particular field. If you don’t know what you need, contact our resume experts for help with creating this intricate type of document. 

In the meantime, check out the guide below for essential information about academic CVs. 

What’s an academic CV and when do you need one?

Simply put, an academic CV is a resume that focuses primarily on your education in a particular field and your knowledge in that discipline. Whereas a standard resume is mainly concerned with your skills and work experience, an academic CV revolves around your credentials and your time spent studying or practicing in a particular field. 

You need an academic CV if you’re pursuing a career in medicine, science, research, dentistry, academia, and related fields. All of them require extensive education and practice. Therefore, before any company or institution hires you, it will want to be certain that you’ve put in the time and effort to learn and then improve your knowledge. Your academic CV is how you show recruiters that you have the necessary education and practice for the position. 

How an academic CV differs from a traditional resume

There aren’t that many differences between an academic CV and a traditional resume. At their core, they serve the same purpose: to land you a job. However, knowing the differences between the two will help you determine what you need to change if you’re using your traditional resume as a base for your academic CV.

Firstly, the length differs. A traditional resume should generally be no longer than two pages. However, an academic CV doesn’t really have a length limit because when a company requires one, it’s interested in your education and practice in the given field and wants to know your background in detail. 

In some instances, an academic CV could be up to fifteen pages long. Commercial organizations just want to see a succinct summary of your skills, work history, and most important achievements, so fitting all the right information on two pages is part of the game. However, those looking to fill academic positions want to dive deep before they hire anyone. Be sure to list any education and experience you have in that field, sometimes with lengthy descriptions.

Secondly, the focus of the two resumes is different. Sometimes, you can alter your traditional resume to focus on different aspects—for example, if you don’t have a great educational background, you can highlight your skills, placing them front and center to distract from your less-than-stellar education section. 

However, an academic CV doesn’t center on skills or qualifications. Instead, it focuses solely on your education and experience. The qualifications are assumed based on education and experience, so if you don’t have the right schooling, you shouldn’t apply for the job. 

Finally, the content of the two types of resumes can differ. A traditional resume lists your qualifications and skills, such as languages, technical literacy, education, previous work experience, and other skills deemed important by the company. 

That doesn’t change when dealing with an academic CV. In fact, the difference is in how many more skills and accomplishments you should list in an academic CV. You should include additional content that you wouldn’t normally insert in a traditional resume, such as dissertations, research achievements, presentations given, patents, grants, and industry-related awards. Ultimately, your academic CV aims to highlight your skills (in the form of education and experience) in much greater detail than a traditional resume.

Dealing with the information

Since academic CVs deal with so much information, it’s vital that you know what information to include and how to arrange it. If you just throw all of it on the page and hope for the best, you probably won’t end up getting the job. So, knowing how to arrange your information is imperative.

You can put your most recent accomplishments at the beginning of your academic CV. Keeping these in chronological order helps the hiring manager see your latest achievements and (hopefully) trace them to previous accomplishments. In this sense, it’s like a traditional resume, the difference being that you don’t have to list your achievements in chronological order.

If you choose not to have a chronological academic CV, you could opt for arranging your achievements in order of importance, putting whatever you deem your greatest achievement first. The issue with this option is that the hiring manager will not have a clear picture of your work history. If your greatest achievement was ten years ago, how can they know that you will do great work for their company today? However you choose to arrange your academic CV, have a purpose behind it.

As you’re writing the document, you may realize that you don’t have all the qualifications for the job. For example, you may be applying for the position of history professor, but you’ve never taught before. Still, you’ve done years of research and can effectively explain your research in writing, so include that. Education and knowledge are much more important than teaching experience, and you may very well get the job despite your lack of teaching experience. You may find that certain areas of your field contribute to other areas. Don’t just assume that you won’t get the job—present your argument, prove it with your accomplishments, and let your experience do the rest.

In the field of medicine, you must demonstrate the required education and expertise. Since people’s lives and well-being are on the line, the requirements in this field are stringent, and you must have a superb academic CV to show why you can be trusted with this important job. Use your academic CV to showcase your experience, even if just as a volunteer. Many companies will require a certain number of hours of practice, so you want to make sure you can prove that you meet this requirement.

Lean on a professional resume writer

As you can see, writing an academic CV is no joke. It takes extensive planning and evaluation of your education and work experience. You can tackle this daunting task on your own, but isn’t it better to outsource it to experts? If you hire a professional resume writer, they can help you not only identify all the information you need to include but also present it in a way that best showcases your abilities. Our expert team has extensive experience in writing academic CVs and will do the hard work of proving that you deserve that job. 

However, we can’t do absolutely everything for you. The academic CV we write for you can only be as powerful as the information you provide, so make sure your academic CV writer gets all the details. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of putting together your academic CV? No need to be! If you have the qualifications for the job you want, reach out to an academic CV writer and let them help you get hired!

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