How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles

When applying for mid-level academic roles you must make sure that your CV really stands outs in terms of demonstrating both your teaching skills and your research expertise. In order to do that you can use a few techniques which will prove to your prospective employer that you are a well-rounded candidate who will fit well within the department. If you want to find out how to do it, check out this example of an excellent mid-level CV of John Smith who successfully applied for a Senior Lecturer position. John’s CV along with the advice below will help you understand how you can prepare an outstanding mid-level CV that really makes your experience stand out.

Use the “Personal profile” section to emphasise your goals

The “Personal profile” section sets the tone of your CV and helps your prospective employer understand your previous academic experience and your future career goals. Outstanding mid-level academic CVs typically include in this section a very succinct summary of the most relevant experience of the candidate, followed by a clear and unambiguous statement of what the candidate is currently looking for. For example, John included in this section of his CV a single sentence which fulfils two crucial goals. Firstly, it highlights the 4+ years of experience which he has in university teaching and administration – skills that are very relevant to the position he applied for. Secondly, John emphasised that the role which he is looking for now is that of a Senior Lecturer, which will reassure his prospective employer of his specific interest in taking on this level of responsibility:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

For extra points you could also state why you are looking to work in that specific position, just like John explained that the Senior Lecturer role will help him “expand his existing academic expertise and take on new teaching responsibilities”.

Make your “Relevant work experience” standout

If you are applying for a mid-level position, you might be competing against a significant number of candidates, many of whom might be more experienced than you. In order to make your CV standout you have to spruce up your “Relevant work experience” section by showing the extent of your academic expertise. Apart from mentioning in this section the titles of your previous academic roles and the responsibilities which you had in each role, you could list the modules which you developed and/or taught. For example, this is what John included in this section of his CV under the “Modules developed & taught” heading in relation to his role of Lecturer in Business:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

By listing in his CV the modules which he taught in his previous role John achieved two things. Firstly, he made his prospective employer gain interest in his CV by providing plenty of details about his experience. Secondly, he helped his prospective employer understand what types of modules John could potentially take on and/or develop at the new university.

Share your funding success in the “Recent research grants” section

Bringing funding from grants and external sources is a significant part of working as an academic. Even at this level of your career it would be very beneficial for you to mention in your CV any research grants which you managed to secure whether independently or as part of your previous position. For example, this is what John included in this section of his CV:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

Notice that John included the amounts of each research grant in the brackets. This is a very good strategy which will give your prospective employer an idea of the amounts which you have brought into your institution in the past, and help them estimate what you could potentially bring to your new university in the future.

Sell your external links in the “Appointments and affiliations” section

Holding positions of authority in renowned associations, institutes, academies and journals outside of your university is considered a crucial part of the academic life. Listing your external appointments and affiliations will enable your prospective employer to understand the value of your expertise as well as appreciate the connections which you have built so far in your career. The “Appointments and affiliations” section is the perfect section in which to showcase those external connections. For example, John included in this section of his CV his position as Editor of the UK Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship as well as his Secretarial positions at the Academy of Management and at the Institute of Business Management and Research:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

By listing his position at the Journal John showed his prospective employer that he has significant expertise in research within his field as well as a range of connections with other academics who are either the editors at the Journal or the authors of publications published in it.

Evidence your expertise in the “Academic memberships” section

The “Academic memberships” section of your CV shows a prospective employer that you are willing to expand your knowledge and learn best practices in university teaching and research from your peers as well as to contribute to their development. In this section you should include any memberships in research institutes, academic discussion groups and associations which are related to the types of skills you are required to demonstrate in the position for which you are applying. For example, John included in this section his memberships in the European Association of Higher Education Teachers, the UK Association of Business Lecturers and the AdvanceHE – all of which are related to the role of Senior Lecturer:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

John’s membership in the European Association of Higher Education Teachers proves that he has been taking seriously the development of his skills as a university teacher. His membership in the UK Association of Business Lecturers shows that he will be interested in learning and sharing with other teaching staff within the department best teaching practices in the field of business. Finally, his fellowship at the AdvanceHE shows that he has been keeping his teaching skills up to date.

Show off your publications and work in progress

A winning mid-level academic CV would not be complete without a section showing your publishing potential. This section will help your prospective employer quickly understand any academic recognition which you have built so far and assess your potential to deliver more publications in the near future. The best way to showcase your existing publications is by including in your CV a section entitled “Recent journal publications” and listing the author(s) of the publication, the year, the journal and the title – just like John did in his CV:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

In order to demonstrate to your employer your potential to produce more publications in the near future, you can also include in your CV a section entitled “Work in progress” in which you will list the author(s) and titles of any journal submissions you are currently working on. This is what John included in his CV under this section:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

Show your proactivity in the “Recent conference presentations” section

As an academic you are expected to regularly present your research at conferences. You will give your prospective employer a lot of food for thought if you list the titles of the last 3 to 5 presentations you delivered at local and/or national conferences in the “Recent conference presentations” section. For example, here are the conference presentations which John included in this section of his CV:

How to Prepare a Winning CV for Mid-level Academic Roles Careers in HE

As you can see above, John included in this section not only the names of the conferences, but also the places where those conferences were held, the month and year in which they took place as well as the topics of the presentations which he delivered.

Further resources:

Lucinda Becker, Write a Brilliant CV (SAGE, 2020)

James Reed, The 7 Second CV: How to Land the Interview (Virgin Books, 2019)

James Innes, The CV Book: How to avoid the most common mistakes and write a winning CV (Pearson, 2016)

Kevin Peachey, How to write a successful CV (BBC News, 12 January 2015): https://www.bbc.com/news/business-15573447

Stephen Chambers, Top 10 CV buzzwords – and how to avoid them (The Guardian, 9 February 2017): https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/feb/09/top-10-cv-buzzwords-how-to-avoid-them

John Lees, How to write an outstanding CV profile (The Careers Blog – Guardian Careers, 20 January 2014): https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/how-to-write-outstanding-cv-profile

Sarah Shearman, Five ways to get your CV and cover letter noticed (The Guardian, 1 June 2017): https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/jun/01/five-ways-to-get-your-cv-and-cover-letter-noticed

Clare Whitmell, Spring cleaning your CV: an essential guide (The Careers Blog – Guardian Careers, 21 March 2013): https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/springclean-your-cv-guide

Jack Grove, Career advice: how to write a CV for a university job (Times Higher Education, 5 January 2017): https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/career-advice-how-write-cv-university-job

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