Having recently run two workshops on Academic CVs it seemed like a good time to highlight some top tips for CV tweaking for anyone that missed them.
It’s worth highlighting that your CV doesn’t get you the job it gets you to interview stage so it needs to be tailored to the job and showcasing your relevant experience first.
One of the first things to address, when tackling an application, is to work out what the employer wants and the best way to do this is to study the job description and try to decode it. What skills and experience are they asking for? What have they mentioned first? Have they given any insight into the direction they are intending to take as an institution? Once you have the answers to these questions you can start to think about the pieces of your experience that best match this criteria. Don’t make it difficult for the recruiter to find the experience that they are expecting – present the most relevant information on the first side. For example, if you are applying for a lectureship, then don’t hide your teaching section in the middle of the CV and make the recruiter work to find it! Make the structure of the CV easy for the recruiter to follow.
Once the recruiter can clearly see the different sections that they are looking for you need to make sure that you are presenting the information effectively. The best way to do this is by using bullet points, which allows greater ease of reading for the recruiter, they can pick out the key information (i.e. how you added value) quickly without having to read lots of text. Remember this is key when recruiters have lots of CVs to get through, they won’t spend more than a minute or two per CV. Well-written bullet points are extremely important, ensure that you keep the balance between providing need-to-know information and being concise. Use facts and figures to help back up your achievements.
This is an issue that comes up often. How long should the CV be? Academic CVs allow for more flexibility than other professions. Senior academics may have CVs that are longer than 5 sides but I’d encourage you to try to keep it below this by omitting minor and less recent achievements.
Remember that not every academic vacancy is the same! So don’t make the mistake of submitting the same application documents (CV, covering letter, Research and teaching statements) to every vacancy that you apply for. Do your research and investigate the institutions wider strategic vision and research how they present themselves. You are aiming to make a match between what they are offering and what you can bring to the department/institution.
Conferences & Training sections:
Researchers often tend to list all the conferences and training that they have been to. Consider the relevance of this approach and think about what this information says about you. Attending training is usually a passive activity unless you can directly highlight how you have benefited from the experience. Focus on those activities that you have something relevant to say. For example, are there conferences that you were invited to speak at or any that you had a hand in organising or those where very relevant information/topics were covered.
Give summary details of the all the roles held rather than just a list of roles as it may not always be obvious how these demonstrate leadership skills and qualities. Any notable achievements or things that you implemented that were successful, make sure to highlight them.
If you’d like to discuss anything raised in this post feel free to make an appointment to discuss your career needs with either Darcey or Eleanor.