If you love working with and mentoring students and you enjoy nothing more than settling down to write an essay, or read some literature, you are probably cut out to work in academia. There are many roles to choose from, including lecturer, senior lecturer, or professor, and there is a clear career path – with good salary and benefits on offer for most institutions.
Your academic CV should be bursting with qualifications, publications, research and any presentations you have undertaken. It will be the focus of your CV, so keep this in the forefront of your mind as you navigate your way around your academic CV.
When applying for these roles, don’t be afraid to show confidence in your academic abilities and your love for academia. Within a short space, your CV needs to show the reader what you can do.
At Resume.io we provide a one-stop resource for job seekers, in all industries, including academia. You will find CV guides, as well as CV examples, and you can use our quick and easy CV builder to create your very own masterpiece. There are CV examples for many different professionals. We will help you create a CV that will help you get your foot in the door of your next dream job.
This guide, together with our academic CV example, you can expect to know more about these key points:
- What sort of jobs can you work in within academia?
- Tips on how to write an academic CV
- The CV format you should use
- What to write for each section of the academic CV, including summary, experience education, and skills
- The most effective layout and design to use.
What does an academic professional do?
Academic professionals need to have a strong academic history and reputation. They must excel within academia, as their role is to deliver teaching and support students in a range of subjects.
You may work with undergraduates in university, postgraduates, or Ph.D. students. Research is also an important part of working in an academic role. Typical roles include lecturer, senior lecturer, and professor.
Those that work in the academic profession have a passion for academia, and they enjoy helping and mentoring students in their studies. It is also the opportunity to share your passion for a specific subject and in many cases, have a bit more freedom in what you do.
You may also have the opportunity to travel to attend academic events, all the while knowing the work you do will have a lasting impact.
How much do academics earn?
A lecturer can expect to earn an average salary of £34,041 per year, although it will depend on the institution you are employed. For instance, you would expect to earn more at the University of Oxford, the highest-ranking university in the UK, than the University of Bedfordshire.
Professors earn an average salary of £68,481, while teachers earn an average salary of £16,308. There is quite a gulf between the salaries for different academic roles, and as such, you would be expected to have more experience, qualifications, and publications in a higher role.
Academic professional job market and outlook
With the pandemic taking hold in recent years, it is difficult to predict what the job market will be like for those looking to find work in the academic profession. Professor Charles Stafford from the London School of Economical and Political Science provides some useful insight and advice on dealing with employment challenges, if and when they arise. These include analysing your CV and ensuring you continue with your research activities.
One thing is for sure though, and that is that there will always be a need for academic professionals, in whatever format that may be. You may have a target institution you would like to work in, but you might need to be prepared to secure a role somewhere else — at least initially
Statistical insights from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that the number of academic staff employed in HE increased by 2% from 2019 to 2020.
How to write an academic professional CV
Before you start writing your academic professional CV, you need to know what it should contain. These are the main elements that make up your CV:
- CV header
- Summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- Employment history
- Skills section
It’s important to find out who you will report to, and if possible, direct your CV to them. Conduct some research into the institution you are applying to and keep this at the forefront of your mind when compiling your CV. Consider the questions you might be asked during the interview process and direct your CV to cover these. These are some points to keep in mind when writing your CV.
- Tailor your CV to suit the employer. Remember that all institutions are different, and it is important your application is directed with them in mind.
- Use an attractive CV design and keep the content clear, and concise. You do not need to try and make your CV edgy, just stick to ensuring it looks good and has all the relevant information.
- Take keywords where relevant from the job spec and use these in your CV where the skills are appropriate to you. It will help if the recruiter uses an ATS (application tracking system.)
- Use our CV templates to help you write the best possible academic CV.
Choosing the best CV format for academic professional
The reverse chronological format is oftentimes the one most commonly recommended. This format starts with your most recent position and works backwards through all relevant experience. In the case of academic CVs, however, the best format is a modification which starts with the summary (profile), but instead of the employment section, we suggest listing your education, including any publishing work, awards, etc.
Your academic achievements are more important than your experience for these roles, although experience also helps. Your CV may be a little longer than a standard CV, but that’s perfectly acceptable. Try not to let it go over three pages though.
CV summary example: your academic experience
First thing’s first, and that is your CV summary. The CV summary (or profile as it may be known) should be placed at the top of your CV, below your header. The summary should contain your main skills, experience, and what you are looking for in your career. Think about it in terms of how you would write any academic piece, you would always start with an introduction. Make sure you state the area you want to work in and tailor this to each job.
The summary doesn’t need to be long; you can keep it to just a few sentences that underpin your career history and goals. There is no need to talk in the first person in your CV, you can just use action words to describe your experience and goals, for example, "Ph.D. student with experience and interest within cell and systems biology."
Don’t spend too long trying to think of something to write for your summary. We have further help in addition to this guide, with our education CV examples. You may want to start with our teaching assistant CV examples, or the college professor CV examples if you are at senior level. There is also everything in between in our CV samples.
You should never be afraid to shout about your achievements in your academic CV summary, after all, this is what will appeal to the person that hires you. The summary is a good way to condense your entire CV into a few statements, and then you can go on to discuss these in more detail throughout the CV. The reader will also be keen to hear about your career goals, and what you are seeking for the future. You can put this in the last statement on your summary.
Below you will find an academic CV example summary that you may want to adapt for your own.
Experienced Academic Tutor with 10 years of experience teaching students within a university setting. Expert in creating learning plans and helping students to reach their full potential. Passion and drive for developing students, and helping them achieve their education goals.
Employment history sample: your journey so far
Although your academic CV may begin with other sections, your employment history is still quite relevant and important for the employer. In fact, if you have extensive employment experience within academia, it might be best to place this section higher up on your CV.
When you are describing your employment, you should state the name of the employer, job title, and bullet points describing your experience. There is no need to go into extensive detail here, short and snappy is best, while also ensuring you cover the most important points. You don’t need to use ‘I’ in your bullet points, just keep it to the main action, for instance ‘Delivered lectures and mentored students within sport science.’ If you can support your experience with any achievements, this would also be beneficial and would help set your CV apart from others. For instance, any awards you have received in your employment or any specific type of recognition.
For your reference, you will find an adaptable employment CV example you can adapt to suit your own expertise.
Academic Tutor, University of Essex, Essex
August 2018 - Present
- Supporting students by providing lesson plans and helping them to learn and achieve strong exam results.
- Delivering lessons using the appropriate resources and facilities.
- Planning and developing goals with students, and encouraging them to reach their potential.
- Engaging with students from different countries and cultures, helping them to integrate into the university.
- Offering advice and support with any concerns students have about the lessons or their development.
- Ensuring the reputation of the University was upheld at all times by being professional and taking the needs of the students into account.
Academic Tutor, UCC University Centre Colchester, Colchester
July 2012 - July 2018
- Responsible for delivering engaging lessons to students, and keeping them motivated to achieve their goals.
- Fielding any concerns or questions from students quickly and efficiently.
- Providing additional guidance to students that might require further help to achieve their potential.
- Maintaining general administration, such as performance tracking and updating attendance records.
CV Skills Example: showcasing your expertise
The skills you possess are an important part of your CV, as they reflect your ability to carry out the tasks in the role. The skills of an academic go much further than just being knowledgeable, educated, and experienced. You need to be an individual that can inspire others, get the best out of people, and be able to get along with a range of personalities. Patience and understanding are other important skills associated with working in academia. No one wants to be nodding off during a lecture, so a bit of personality and charisma in your CV, will not go amiss!
List the skills you have that are relevant to the role and mix it up between hard and soft skills.
Keep ATS in mind
It is a good idea to consider that the organisation may be using an ATS when screening your CV and that you should incorporate keywords. Use keywords that you find on the job description and write them as you find them. Don’t stuff the CV with keywords, but make sure they are used, as otherwise you may get missed, even though you may be perfectly suitable for the job.
Think about some of the exceptional skills or experience you may possess that might help you stand out from the other candidates. Do you speak another language? Have you worked overseas? Do you currently mentor anyone? Don’t forget to list those skills or areas of expertise that might be favourable to a recruiter, and that sets you apart from the others.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Knowledge of Educational Philosophies
- Microsoft Office
- Excellent Communication Skills
Academic CV education example
You are applying to work in academia, so your education will be a big selling point when it comes to your CV. We would suggest placing this section underneath your summary or skills unless you have substantial work experience in an academic setting.
This is the perfect place to list your degree and any other professional qualifications. You can also list your publications, awards, and any memberships you have. If you have significant awards/publications, you might want to place a separate section for these. As mentioned earlier, your academic CV might be a bit longer than normal, for this very reason. Don’t worry if it is three pages in length, this is often expected with an academic CV. With this guide, we are mainly considering roles at university level, however, if you are looking for a teaching assistant or substitute role, this will be slightly different. You can use our substitute teacher CV example and guide as a point of reference.
You can base the order of the CV on your level of expertise. For instance, if you are applying for a teaching assistant role, the experience would be first, under the summary. If the role is a higher level such as a professor, your education would usually be more significant. We have an academic CV example below for you to use as reference. Use our CV templates to help create your masterpiece.
MSc Mathematics/Applied Mathematics, University of Essex, Essex
August 2010 - June 2012
BSc Mathematics, University of Essex, Essex
August 2007 - June 2010
CV layout and design: getting it right
This CV guide aims to ensure that you produce an academic CV that stands out and makes a real impact. Although the content is of course the most important aspect of your CV, you should not forget the significance of the CV layout and design. The design of your CV is the first thing the hiring manager will see, and if it’s not neat, they might not give it another glance. You should use the same font throughout your CV, including the style and design.
You want to avoid trying to make it ‘stand out’ by using a design that’s full of different colours and styles. Keep it to a nice design and layout, but simple is also key. The hiring manager is most interested in your expertise and skills, not how outlandish your CV is, particularly for academic roles.
Consider the audience when you are deciding on the layout of your academic CV. Find out what is important to the institution you are applying to. Universities, especially those that are quite prestigious will usually look more favourably on your publications and education than your experience. However, colleges will be more interested in your experience. You can tailor your CV to suit the job and institution you are applying to, bearing in mind the requirements on the job spec and the type of organisation you are looking to join.
Working in academia is all about being able to mentor and support students to flourish, and this is the direction you should go down when creating your CV. Keep your audience in mind and give them what they want. Make sure you research the institution that you are applying to and find out what their values are. Academics are often not the most creative, so if you are struggling, you can find a range of CV templates to inspire you. The doorway to success is just a click away!
Key takeaways for an academic CV
- Research the institution you are applying to. Make sure you understand their visions, and goals before you start creating your CV. This will help you steer it in the right direction.
- Consider the structure before you set off. This should be tailored to suit each application. What are the priorities of the job? Are publications more important than experience? This will help you determine the most appropriate CV format.
- Make sure you discuss any key achievements and don’t forget to sprinkle the more relevant keywords throughout your CV.
- Don’t just think about the hard skills you have, make sure you also mention the soft skills, such as communication, patience, and the ability to mentor students and help them succeed. This is, after all, the purpose of a role within academia.
- Use our CV example and CV templates to build your own. It will make the process much quicker, and easier!