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How to write an academic CV

One of the documents that I find is most required not only in job applications for the academic job market, but also generally to assess scholarly contributions is the curriculum vitae (CV). I have designed and re-designed my own academic CV quite a few times, and for the most part, all I did was to follow examples I saw from other scholars. I got asked last year to write a blog post on how to write an academic CV, and I left it in my queue until now.

After a few years on the tenure track, and having sat on several hiring committees and chaired a few of them, soI think I have an idea of what elements should be on an academic CV, though I don’t want to presume my own CV is perfect, or even an example (you can access my CV here). Here are a few recommendations before I share a few examples of CVs that I think are well crafted. Obviously these suggestions reflect advice *I* have been given as well!

1. Include your production *primarily*.

This is particularly a jab at Latin American CVs, where I see a list of the courses scholars have taken, or conferences they have ATTENDED. I believe that what should be reported on a CV is what a scholar produces. So, opinion pieces, consultancy reports, books, edited volumes, journal articles, and other types of products should be listed on a CV. A short list of courses taken (listed under “Additional Training”) could showcase special skills/computer software, but I don’t believe in listing every single course, nor conferences attended, rather than presented at.

2. Make your CV as brief as possible.

This is problematic once you’ve reached a certain number of years in the profession (my old CV was 23 pages long, and I’m not even a senior professor!). But I think that there are ways in which you can make your CV shorter. Instead of listing every paper you’ve presented at a conference, list the conferences (e.g. “APSA 2015, 2016, 2017″).

3. Clearly and honestly present what you’ve produced

I do not like when book chapters and journal articles are conflated. A number of scholars simply list “Publications”, but I believe that it is important to list what is peer-reviewed, what isn’t, book chapters separated from journal articles, opinion pieces, consultancy reports, etc.

4. Include “Work in Progress” well after your publications.

I always doubted whether I should include my work in progress, as I thought that since it wasn’t published yet, it would be problematic to say that I was working on something. A lot of senior scholars suggested that I should include it, but be very clear that it is Under Review. A number of academics also include what they’re preparing (In Preparation) though I am also not totally clear about whether or not it should be included. Still, it shouldn’t be in the Publications main section, but towards the end.

5. Include only the personal information you feel comfortable with.

In my CV I don’t post my personal address, and I certainly don’t post a photograph (though some countries require this, as well as your age!). I think you should only post what you feel comfortable with, and therefore I use my campus address. A number of people have asked me if they should include hobbies, past times, travel, etc. in their academic CV. I haven’t done it, but I don’t see why it would work towards their disadvantage.

6. Ensure that your CV is visually appealing and READABLE

My previous CV had a lot of fonts, underlining, highlighting, etc. My new one is a lot more sober. Depending on the font you use, you may get away with italics, etc. But I find that using white space, underlining and simpler fonts makes it easier for people to read your CV.

A few examples I really like are linked here. Obviously, I did not link to EVERY CV I like, but wanted to showcase a number of these that I think could help ECRs and PhD students. I tried to include CVs of assistant, associate and full professors, as well as PhD students.

Here you will find a few resources I deemed interesting on how to craft an academic CV.

Obviously, different countries and academic cultures have different idiosyncracies, so you may find that some or a lot of these suggestions may not apply to your particular case. As I mentioned at the top of this blog post, I crafted mine through a number of iterations and comparisons between my CV and that of other scholars. You may want to use a similar approach.

For additional examples of well-written CVs, please check the responses to my tweet below:

Posted in academia.


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