PhD students and researchers wanting an academic career will need an informative and detailed CV, different from CVs in other sectors. Our advice is to draw on four areas of expertise which tend to meet the requirements of most academic job specifications:
- Research – yes, that’s your PhD thesis, but it’s also: going to and presenting at conferences, publishing in the best journals, building an academic network, knowing your field and the other players. Show you have broad horizons, know what researchers are doing in other institutions and have affiliations with appropriate learned societies or associations. A research plan showing your strategy for research and publication after the PhD shows you’re thinking ahead and will continue to be productive.
- Teaching –show you have a range of experience with large groups, small groups in seminars, in lectures at undergraduate and at master’s level; gained here and at other universities. The Cert HE teaching qualification is well regarded too and shows you think seriously about pedagogy.
- Public engagement – take your work outside academia and show it has relevance to a wider audience through the media, social media, public talks, in schools and so on. IF you can show impact outside academia the recruiting institution will value your contribution to their REF submission.
- Service to the university – show you want to help your university strive for excellence. Join a committee, represent your peers, offer to support a conference, organise an event, work as a research assistant, contribute to a grant application, work at a student recruitment event. Or set up something new! This helps the selection committee understand that you’ll be a good colleague, aware of and willing to contribute to the range of essential commitments in an academic department.
The activities in these four areas need to be presented in a tailored way to show your potential to fulfil the requirements of the specific role. Not just summarising past experience. It takes time to achieve this tailoring, re-ordering and re-naming sections. Often you are also asked to send additional materials such as a research plan, teaching statement and writing sample. Then there’s the very important covering letter or statement of motivation.
Jobs.ac.uk has current job descriptions and you can see the requirements sought be employing departments. This will help you start to tailor your application materials but be aware that time is needed to refine your CV and covering letter to meet competitive standards and get you to interview.
Support we offer
We can help you learn to do all this:
- see the guidance on our website about applying for jobs inside academia
- attend our seminars and events for PhD students and research staff
- book a one-to-one appointment with Catherine Reynolds, the PhD careers consultant to review your CV and covering letters
Good luck with your applications and make good use of the support we offer!