How To Write an Academic CV (With Template and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you work in the science or research industry, you need to tailor your CV to highlight your published work in the field. Thus, an academic CV is an informative document that's goal is to impress recruiters with your unique skills and characteristics. Understanding the key components and structure of a research CV, therefore, can increase your influence over other job candidates. In this article, we discuss what a research CV is, why it's important, how to write one and share a template and example that you can use as a reference.

What is an academic CV?

An academic CV (curriculum vitae), also known as a research CV, is a document that structures your skills, work experience, published work and other notable accomplishments in a readable format. It's the industry-standard method of presenting your most valuable characteristics in front of a recruiter. Scientists, mathematicians and researchers use this format to share their research interests and expertise. Thus, when applying for an academic role, recruiters expect you to use this specific type of CV competently.

Key components of a research CV

The following is a list of key components you need to include in your research CV:

  • Your contact information

  • Personal summary

  • Academic history, including any relevant certifications and licences

  • Fellowships, residencies and grants

  • Research achievements

  • Awards and recognitions

  • Professional work experience

  • Key skills

  • Relevant voluntary activities

  • Relevant hobbies and interests

Why is a research CV important?

Research CVs are important because it allows recruiters to get a comprehensive overview of job candidates in the academic field. Usually, these jobs are complex in nature, requiring professionals to have a strong background in science and statistics. Here are some reasons to describe the importance of a research CV:

Easy to read

Recruiters receive dozens of CVs every day, therefore, following the correct CV format encourages them to read about your skills and experience in greater detail. Adhering to the standard structure of a research CV shows recruiters your professionals. It conveys your respect for business etiquette, which can reflect positively on your character. Closely following the easy-to-read style can get you a step closer to your ideal role.

Highlight your most impressive traits

You can customise a research CV to highlight your published work and academic background. Focusing on these sections can make you appear more credible in a recruiter's eyes. Practising your writing skills can enhance the overall quality of your CV. This helps you progress through the hiring process smoothly.

Contains a detailed overview of your background

While most CVs are two pages in length, a research CV has more flexibility. However, this doesn't mean that you fill the document with pages and pages of information. The best CV writers stick to the most relevant details. Thus, a research CV allows you to elaborate on your awards and published work. It makes you appear more relatable, a characteristic most recruiters find endearing.

How to write a CV for research professionals

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to write a CV for research professionals:

1. Review your job description

Before you write your CV, review your job description for words and phrases that the recruiter repeats and emphasises. These keywords reveal the characteristics of their ideal candidate. Another method to familiarise yourself with their values and objectives is through research. Browse the company website, social media platforms and latest news articles to learn about their future vision. Determine how you can contribute to these goals and structure your research CV to explain how you could add value to them.

2. Structure your CV like a story

In Latin, curriculum vitae means "course of life". In other words, a research CV should tell the story of your career to date. Begin with your personal summary. Use the short section to entice the recruiter with your most notable interests, achievements and ambitions. Next, use your academic history section to highlight your research interests and the path you took into this profession. Finally, share your growth through your work history section.

Like any intriguing story, structure the most relevant and exciting details about you at the top, such as your qualifications and work experience, and leave any additional details for the end, such as your hobbies and interests.

3. Tailor your CV to your audience

Think about the professionals that might read your CV. Usually, this is a recruiter and your potential supervisor. For a research CV, your audience is likely to have a sound background in academics. Thus, you might feel more comfortable incorporating industry-specific lingo. If any noteworthy institutions have published or honoured your work, these are great accolades to include in your CV to boost your credibility.

Remember that some human resource professionals might not have a background in academia to understand certain research terminology. Thus, do some research on the recipient of your CV to get a better mental picture of your audience.

4. Follow the correct format

Use a consistent format with the same text size, font and colour for your headers and main body paragraphs. This enhances the readability of your CV. Here's a checklist of formatting tips you can use when editing your research CV:

  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides

  • Use a readable font, such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Cambria

  • Make sure your text is clear with a size 11-point for content and 13-point for headings

  • Bold section headers for easy identification

  • Use explanatory paragraphs instead of bullet points whenever possible

5. Use examples and statistics

When elaborating on your work experience and qualifications, use examples to describe the extent of your success in the role. Quantifying these examples with statistics also makes your professional background appear more impressive. It acts as evidence of your performance that recruiters can then compare to other job candidates.

6. Implement powerful language

A research CV is also a marketing document that aims to sell your skills and experience to a recruiter. Thus, you can use linguistic strategies, such as action verbs, to secure a great first impression. Action verbs, such as "mobilised" and "pioneered" make you sound more authoritative, and therefore, credible to your reader.

Research CV template

Here's a research CV template that you can use as a guide when writing your own CV:

[Your name] [Residential address]
[Phone number]
[Email address]
[Personal website]

Personal Summary [Try to keep the summary short. Three or four sentences should be enough to express your interest, share your goals, and highlight your most relevant experience, research and skills.]

Academic background [List your undergraduate and graduate education background. For each degree include:

Qualification name
Name of institution | Start date - End date
Final grade
Any notable achievements

If you're currently pursuing a degree, you can list the projected completion date.]

Published work [List any publications, articles, books or dissertations. Be sure to include the:

Research title
Name of publishing body | Date of publication]

Conferences and presentations [List any presentations or talks you've given and any conferences you've organised or attended.]

Fellowships and grants

[This section can include:

  • Internships

  • Residency programs

  • Fellowships

  • Awarded grants

Be sure to include the organisational, dates, your title and the amount of grant money awarded.]

Awards and recognitions
[List any honours or awards you've received related to your work and research.]

Employment history [Include your employment history in reverse chronological order. You can either list your responsibilities in bullet points or use a more formal and detailed paragraph. Be sure to include the:

Job title
Company name | Start date - End date
Description of job responsibilities and achievements]

[Include any services you've completed for your department, including:

  • Chair of the department

  • Academic advisor to students

  • Administrative assistance]

Professional affiliations [Highlight professional organisations you belong to or if you're on the board of any organisation.]

Skills and interests

  • [Foreign languages spoken]

  • [Technological skills]

References [Depending on the application requirements, you can also include a list of references and their contact details at the end of your academic CV. ]

Research CV example

Here's a research CV example using the format introduced in the template earlier:

Vivan Chan Mid-Levels, Hong Kong

Personal Summary
A dedicated and data-driven university professor and researcher with over two years of experience supporting students to conduct award-winning research in the sociology field. Looking for a position that allows me to grow research in family and life sociology.

Academic background

Master's of Social Science in Sociology
The Chinese University of Hong Kong | Sept 2018 - May 2019
Final GPA: 3.4

Bachelor's of Social Science in Sociology
The University of Hong Kong | Sept 2014 - May 2018
Final GPA: 3.2

Published work

Money, Markets and the Human Condition
Sociology Journal | June 2020

Awards and recognitions

  • HKU Dean's List, 2017

  • Hong Kong Government Research Grant, 2018

Employment history

Sociology Professor
The Chinese University of Hong Kong| Oct 2019 - Current

  • Preparing lesson plans to grow the skills and knowledge of sociology students

  • Mentoring students as they analyse data for their own research projects

  • Advancing research in the sociology field by investigating new phenomena

Professional affiliations

  • Co-chair of Chinese University of Hong Kong's Sociology Council

  • Member of the Hong Kong Sociology Society

Skills and interests

  • Fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English

  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel


Anna Zhang
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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