Careers and Employability Service
Services for PhD students

Developing your CV

Man in glasses looking at a computer screen

Applying for jobs in career sectors other than academia will entail developing a different CV style to that of an academic CV.

This section includes a series of videos focusing on what recruiters are looking for, the evidence you will need to provide and assessing your skills and abilities. 

Watch these videos and then have a look at the example CVs to help you begin to develop your own documents.

Your next step

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From a recruiter's perspective

In this first video, Clare Jones, Senior Careers Adviser, gives an insight into the information needs of the recruiter during the selection process.

  • What do recruiters look for?
  • How much detail do they require?

Using a card-sorting exercise, Clare shows the differences between:

  • what researchers think employers want to see, and
  • what employers think researchers can offer them

Evidence required by recruiters

In this second video, Clare explores how to generate the detailed evidence employers expect to see in an application.

She talks about transferable skills and experience and gives an example of how you might identify those behaviours from activities you undertake as a PhD student.


Assessing your skills and behaviours

In this final video in the series, Clare focuses on assessing your skills, behaviours and experiences realistically.

There are challenges involved in doing this as not all the evidence you include in your applications will have a certificate or qualification to back it up.

Most will require you to make a self-assessment of your own level of skill, ability and confidence.


CV examples

The jobs PhDs will apply for are very varied and it is not possible to offer a CV template. The four example CVs show different approaches to presenting targeted evidence and the succinct writing styles often used.

These are not standard templates.

CV1 – Timeline and experience style

This style can be used to highlight specific evidence, in this case administrative, events management and communication experience.

Including timeline sections for education and employment at the beginning allows evidence to be consolidated under specific sections.


CV2 – Reverse chronology jobs style

This example has the same evidence as CV1 but shown in reverse chronology style.


CV3 – PhD evidence

This style assumes that the majority of the writer’s evidence has been generated from their PhD. In this case a science PhD but this approach can be adopted for other academic disciplines.


CV4 – Combination style

This example has the same evidence as CV3 but the combination style allows the writer to emphasise evidence from a Year In Industry and their PhD. Other examples could be combining PhD evidence with previous career, internship, placement or voluntary experience.  


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