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During the process of applying for a PhD, there are many documents that are required, and an academic CV for your PhD application is one of them.
It’s important to write an impressive academic CV during a PhD application, so that you can present an overview of your educational background and display your ability to pursue a PhD.
In this article, CakeResume will guide you through a step-by-step process on how to create an academic CV for your PhD application, along with a sample academic CV for a PhD application at the end of this article.
First of all, you should begin by narrowing down your choices. What is your desired school? What program do you want to attend?
It’s important to keep your mind set on a certain goal before starting on the process of writing your CV to apply for a PhD, so that you can create a customized academic CV that best fits the PhD program you are applying for.
Make sure to do a thorough background research on the school and program you want to attend.
Most applicants prefer using the reverse chronological CV format for their PhD CVs.
It’s a suitable CV format for prospective PhD students, because you can list your qualifications and publications from the most recent to the oldest, which helps the admission board understand your current educational background, while providing information on your research interest and past achievements.
After picking a suitable resume format for your PhD application, the next step is to find some inspiration.
If it’s your first time writing a CV for a PhD application, it’s completely okay to rely on online resources, as long as you do not plagiarize any content.
If you want to find the best CV template for your PhD application, consider searching the keywords “PhD student CV template” or “academic CV for PhD application template” online to find a suitable CV template for your PhD application.
After you’ve chosen a resume template for your PhD application, it’s time to look for some actual resume examples.
Typing the keywords “CV for PhD application sample” or “PhD candidate CV example” into the search engine may help you find some good CV examples for a PhD application.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, the next step is to tailor your PhD CV to your desired school and program.
It’s important to create an academic CV that fits your research topic, so the school will know that you are goal-driven and clear on what you want to study during your PhD.
There’s one last important step to writing a CV for a PhD application. Make sure to double check and proofread your CV before submitting your PhD application.
An academic CV for a PhD admission should be free of mistakes, so the school will see how dedicated and detail-oriented you are.
A CV header should include personal details and is crucial in a CV for a PhD admission. This section is usually located at the top of your academic CV and includes basic information, such as your full name and contact details, location, along with a brief phrase that states your educational background and interest in specific research topics.
Since you are writing an academic CV, describing your research interests in a clear and concise way is important so that you can demonstrate your dedication and passion for your chosen field of study and the PhD program.
This is similar to a career objective for your PhD application. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to write, consider searching the keywords “sample career objective for PhD application” online for references.
Your academic history should be listed in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest. If you’re still pursuing a degree, state it clearly in your PhD CV.
This part of your PhD candidate CV is important, because it helps the institute see that you are qualified to study for a PhD with the hard skills you currently possess.
If there are a few courses where you performed exceptionally well academically, consider including them in your PhD application resume.
Next is the “work experience” segment of your CV for a PhD admission. In this part, list your relevant work, research or teaching experience.
Since most candidates applying for the same PhD as you may have a similar level of education, including the details on your past work experience may help you stand out from other applicants.
Keep in mind that you should try to include research experience that is relevant to the PhD program you are applying for in your CV. This shows your dedication and in-depth knowledge in this particular field of study.
Now, let’s start working on the “skills” section of your PhD application resume. In this section, you should include any hard or soft skills that could help prove that you are capable of becoming a successful researcher.
You can consider including:
Most undergraduate or postgraduate students do not have publications under their names, but if you do, remember to include them on your PhD student CV.
If you have publications to list, for example any journal articles, books or chapters, published reports and patents, list them in this section of your PhD CV in reverse chronological order. Pay close attention to details, such as the format style (choose either MLA or APA style) when you are referencing your works.
Further reading: How to List Publications on Resume (+ Format & Examples)
We’re almost finished with creating your CV to apply for a PhD! In this part of your PhD CV, you can include any relevant awards, grants, scholarships and funding you’ve received in the past.
Including your awards and funding can show your competency as a researcher and add some bonus points to your PhD application resume.
Last but not least, here’s a list of additional information you can consider including in your CV for a PhD application.
As we mentioned previously, it’s important to have knowledge on the institute and research program you are applying for. It’s even better to do research on your instructors and have a clear understanding of their research topics. It’s important to customize your PhD CV, so they can see that you are goal-oriented and clear on what type of research you want to focus on.
Since most applicants probably have outstanding educational qualifications, it’s crucial to highlight what makes you unique. This is why you should list your relevant research experience, skills, publications and honors in your CV for PhD applications.
Just like any other CV you would create to apply for a job, you should quantify results on an academic CV for a PhD. Having quantifiable results can prove your competency in a research field.
CV action words are verbs that you can use to provide a clearer overview of your ability when you're listing your qualifications in a CV for a PhD application.
Instead of stating that you “did” some research as a student, using action verbs like “identified” or “investigated” specifies your role and makes you look much more professional. If you’re having trouble figuring out what action words to use to describe your experience, consider looking online for PhD application CV examples.
The process of applying for a PhD differs depending on your field of study. If you’re aiming for a PhD in Language Studies, your publications could be the key information that can help you stand out from other candidates.
However, if you are writing a CV for the following fields of study, it’s important to include your experience in laboratory research, such as:
Keep your academic CV for a PhD application short and simple. It should only be around 2-4 pages, depending on the amount of relevant experience you have.
If you are planning to write a PhD CV that is 4 pages long, be sure to include the most vital information in the first two pages.
It’s important to choose fonts that are both formal and easy to read. Consider going along with a font that you use most often when you’re writing research papers: Times New Roman.
List of fonts for your CV/resume:
Adjust your font size and margins according to the layout of your PhD CV, ideally 14-16pt for the headers and 10-12 for the body text.
You should definitely send your PhD CV in PDF format, so formatting of your CV does not change when it is viewed on different devices. You should only submit your academic CV in Word format if the institute specifically requests you to do so.
Outstanding Alumni of Stanford University
Los Angeles, California (USA)
Social psychology (social cognition, stereotypes and prejudice)
M.A. in Psychology
2014 - 2016
B.A. in Psychology
Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Sept 2016 - May 2017
Introduction to Social Psychology, 2015
Sept 2015 - May 2016
With CakeResume, you can easily create your CV for PhD application online and download your CV in PDF format for free. Try now!
--- Originally written by Celine Chien ---