At the start of your career you can sometimes feel that your CV is too short and that you need to add more information to make it look impressive. Here are some tips on how to improve your CV by bulking out particular areas.
- More is not always better. If your CV is concise and clearly laid out but still covers all aspects of your career history then perhaps it doesn’t need more material. Ask a colleague or mentor for his or her advice
- Don’t add useless information that will limit the impact of the important data that a potential employer will need to see
- Make sure you include the basics: your contact details, qualifications, research, teaching and admin experience and finally referees’ details
- Relate everything to the specific job you are applying for
- Don’t be tempted to lie; you will be caught out!
Enhancing your qualifications:
Make sure you include the name of your university, full title of the degree that you took, the grade awarded and the date of completion. But apart from these obvious aspects perhaps there is something else relevant that you could mention. Did you take a course that is particularly relevant to this job? Did you undertake an exchange programme while you were at university? What about your dissertation? When describing your dissertation (undergraduate or postgraduate) include the title of your work and the name of your supervisor.
Enhancing your job history:
This is often where academic CVs are weakest because many junior academics have been in full time education since they left school and haven’t had time to build up an extensive job history. However, list every teaching/research role you have held including while doing your degrees and summer work if relevant.
Also think of your employment history as a series of skills: is there a particular project or experience at work that demonstrates that you hold a skill that potential employers are looking for? If so, give details of this on your CV.
Include any volunteer work that is relevant to the job. Some hobbies and activities might be significant too. These need not be in the same field. For example, experience in running events at a local youth club can demonstrate that you have similar sorts of skills to those that you need for teaching in academia.
Enhancing your publications list:
You need to list all your publications, including full titles, where they were published and when. However, for junior scholars this might be a short list, so bulk it out by including a few sentences’ worth of text summarising each piece.
Your publication list can also be enhanced by including the titles of all pieces that are about to be published (call these ‘in press’ and give the date when you hope the piece will be published) or being considered by publishers/journals (‘under consideration’) or that you are currently working on (‘in progress’). Don’t include any fabricated pieces of work here: if you get the job your employers might hold you to any commitments you make on your CV!