Academic CV vs. conventional CV – what’s the difference?

Confused about which CV template you should use? Fret not! Your E&CC is here to help.

Essentially, the type of CV you use will depend on the type of job that you’re applying for.

Remember, your CV is your marketing tool. It’s what represents you and your unique selling points (USP’s) to a prospective employer. The most successful CVs are ones that have been tailored to match the specific requirements of an employer as outlined in their job description and/ or person specification.


Key differences

Academic CVs should only be used to apply for academic posts (lecturing or research-based roles) in higher education institutions and have a unique format based on the traditional Chronological CV (presented in reverse chronological order).

Academic CVs are usually longer than other types of CVs due to the inclusion of additional information about your publications, research activities and funding awarded. Although there’s no page limit, four to five pages is usually the recommended average length. This will vary depending on how much work experience you have gained.

The Academic CV format will also vary in different countries. If you’re planning to apply for an academic post overseas, drop into the E&CC and we’ll help you to find out what is expected in your country of interest.

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Academic CVs – what to include

The academic world is just as competitive as industry and business with the number of jobseekers outweighing the number of positions available. So, whilst having a great CV is crucial to securing an interview, it’s important to remember that gaining relevant work experience is critical to interview success. Read our blog to find out why you should be taking your employability seriously.

Keep your CV concise and targeted to meet the requirements of each opportunity. As well as meeting the requirements of the Chronological CV, you will also need to include your academic achievements, research interests and experience, grants or funding awarded, teaching experience, professional memberships/ qualifications, professional development and training, conferences and presentations, published research and articles, industry links and academic

Ensure that your writing is scholarly but keep jargon to a minimum to ensure that it can be understood by those outside your area of interest. Get your CV reviewed at the E&CC and ask mentors or other academics with expertise in your field of research for their feedback.

For different examples of academic CV templates, take a look at the following resources to get you started: Essex CV pack,,, and Prospects. If you’re also considering alternative career routes you may need two different types of CV. Check out The Essex CV pack for examples of other CV templates.

Academic CVs – what to leave out

Academic CVs are strictly professional and do not usually include extracurricular activities or interests.

Support for postgraduate research studentsproficio_cogs

Postgraduate research students have automatic access to Proficio, the University’s unique professional development scheme. You can also access coaching to help you focus on the successful completion of your doctorate and help you to prepare for what comes next. Email the Learning and Development team for more information.

E&CC support

The Employability and Careers Centre offers a vast range of support for Essex postgraduates. We can support you in your career choices and help you with your job search in academia or other job sectors. We can help you to identify your key transferable skills if you are looking for a job outside academia and help you to distinguish between presenting your professional and academic self. For information about how to start exploring your career options check out our resources for postgraduate researchers job hunting.

Our experienced Faculty Career Advisers can offer you career advice and support for alternative careers, as well as supporting your academic ambitions. They can help you take a fresh look at your experience and help you retarget your CV for jobs outside academia.

If you’re studying at Essex part-time and don’t get onto campus very often we can offer you Skype and telephone appointments.

Don’t forget, you can also attend our workshops and events, covering everything from the essentials of CV writing, to creating and building your LinkedIn profile. Find out what’s on and book your place through Essex CareerHub.

Contact us for further help and information.

Employability and Careers Centre at Essex, Square 2

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