Should I put PhD after my name on my resume? And other academic resume tips!

Navigating the perplexities of resume building can be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to academic credentials and titles. 

Whether you’re proudly flaunting your PhD or still in the trenches of your master’s, this blog takes a deep dive into the art of effectively presenting your academic qualifications on your resume or CV.

The blog also offers insights on how to make your academic CV truly shine by leveraging professional platforms like LinkedIn, using the right keywords, and showcasing your achievements in a quantifiable way.

Ready to make your academic qualifications the star of your resume? Join us as we unravel these nuances of academic resume writing and more.

Should you put PhD credentials on my resume?

If you have earned a PhD, it is generally a good idea to include it on your resume.

I include my PhD after my name proudly in every resume that I have – academic and non-academic.

It has never hurt my application as far as I know and may actually help in more ways than one.

This credential can often set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate your expertise in a particular field.

Some people think that you should only include your PhD if it is relevant to the job you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a research position, it is definitely worth highlighting your PhD as it shows you have the requisite research skills and expertise.

If, on the other hand, you are applying for a job in a completely separate field, your PhD may not be as relevant. However, this is something that I do not listen to.

I believe that including your PhD on your resume can help you to stand out, but you should also be prepared to discuss how your academic training has prepared you for the specific job you are applying for if it is not specifically related to the job you are applying for.

If you want to know more about using your PhD titles you can check out my other article:

How to list your degree on a resume? Masters, PhDs etc

Answering the age-old question of how to list your degree on a resume – be it a master’s, PhD, or other professional credentials – is no mean feat.

Start by putting your name at the top of your resume, and next to it, add relevant degrees or certifications. Think ‘John Doe, MBA’ or ‘Jane Doe, PhD.’

This was the CV that I used for many years:

This format not only highlights your achievements but also gives recruiters a snapshot of your academic credentials.

The education section of your resume is your platform to shine.

Here, list your degrees in reverse chronological order, including the name of the institution and graduation date.

If you’re an MBA holder, a CPA, or flaunting other professional credentials, this is where you make it known. Similarly, if you’re in academia, your CV, should include exhaustive details of your research, teaching experience, and any committee participation.

But what if you’re in transition and haven’t finished your degree? Well, you can still list it with the anticipated graduation date. For example, ‘John Doe, MFA Candidate (expected completion: Jan 2025).’

Remember, your resume is a marketing document.

It should suit the position you apply for and attract potential employers. So, personalize it. Highlight skills and experience relevant to the open position. If you have a doctorate degree or years of experience, ensure these accomplishments take center stage.

There’s no one-size-fits-all template. You’ll have to tweak it depending on the job and the industry.

So, it can take a fair bit of time to complete, but remember, it’ll be worth it in the end!

What Is an Academic CV? Format, style etc?

An academic CV, unlike a typical resume, is a comprehensive record of an individual’s academic journey and scholarly achievements, encompassing several pages due to its depth of detail.

This document becomes a testament to your educational background, research work, teaching experience, and scholarly contributions.

When you’ve earned a degree, such as a PhD, your academic CV doesn’t merely list this achievement.

Instead, it dives deeper, providing insights into:

  • your dissertation or thesis,
  • detailing your advisors and
  • illuminating any honors or awards you received during your studies.

The academic CV also has a dedicated space for highlighting your research experience. It provides a detailed account of your research activities, including the methodologies you’ve used, and your research findings.

Here’s mine:

Your publications in scholarly journals and presentations at academic conferences are compiled, along with the respective dates. Additionally, the document showcases your research skills and other relevant capabilities that you’ve amassed over time.

Teaching experience, another crucial component of an academic CV, is presented in detail. From listing the classes you’ve taught to delineating your key teaching responsibilities or accomplishments, your role as an educator is thoroughly recorded.

If you’ve had the opportunity to serve on any academic committees or participate in professional organizations, these details are given their deserved space in your academic CV. They help to showcase your active engagement in the academic community.

Despite the formal and structured style that an academic CV typically follows, there’s room for personalization. You can adapt your CV’s style to emphasize your strengths, match your professional persona, and resonate with your academic ethos. A well-curated academic CV is therefore not just a list but a carefully crafted presentation of your academic career.

Academic CV cheat sheet:

  1. Start with a strong opening statement: Begin with a concise paragraph that summarizes your academic and professional profile. This section should clearly articulate who you are, what you’re currently doing, and what you aim to do in the future.
  2. Detail your academic qualifications: Always place your academic credentials at the top of your CV. Include your degrees, the institutions you attended, and the dates of your attendance.
  3. Showcase your research experience: Provide detailed information about your research activities. This could include your thesis or dissertation topic, the methodologies you used, and your research findings.
  4. Highlight your publications: If you have published any research papers or articles, include them in a separate section. Start with the most recent publications and work your way back.
  5. Include teaching experience: If you have any teaching experience, make sure to include it. Detail the courses you’ve taught and the level of students you’ve worked with.
  6. Mention your presentations and conference attendances: Academic conferences are a significant part of academic life, so ensure to include any you’ve attended or presented at.
  7. Include your grants and awards: If you’ve received any grants, scholarships, or awards, they should be included in your CV.
  8. Include professional affiliations: List any professional organizations you are part of and any roles you have held within these organizations.
  9. Add references: It’s important to include references, preferably from professors or professionals who can speak to your qualifications and skills.

Making your CV shine

Here are some other top tips for making the best academic CV that can really polish a great CV:

Point No.Key TakeawayAction Point
1Include a LinkedIn profileAdd a comprehensive LinkedIn profile link to your CV, complete with professional headshot, detailed work experience, and a strong network.
2Use the right keywords and skillsUse a word cloud tool to identify important keywords from the job description and include them naturally in your CV. Don’t forget to add relevant soft skills.
3Include measurable metricsAlways quantify your accomplishments. Use the XYZ formula (accomplished X as measured by Y by doing Z) to showcase your achievements.
4Keep the CV length optimalAim for a CV length of 475 to 600 words. Don’t stuff unnecessary keywords or include redundant information. Use a word count tool to ensure optimal length.
5Avoid buzzwords and clichésMake your CV authentic and original. Avoid generic phrases and overused buzzwords. Instead, focus on selling your experience.

Wrapping up

As we conclude our journey through the maze of academic resumes and CVs, remember that these documents are more than just pieces of paper – they can be powerful tools that can open doors to incredible opportunities.

Whether you are a PhD holder, a master’s candidate, or a professional with a string of credentials, showcasing your academic journey effectively can make a significant difference in your career path.

From grappling with the question of whether or not to include your PhD after your name on your resume, to elaborating on the intricate details of an academic CV, we hope this blog has shed light on ways to make your qualifications shine.

The key takeaway is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Your resume or CV should be as unique as you are, presenting not just a list of qualifications and experiences, but telling a story of your academic journey, achievements, and aspirations.

It’s all about highlighting your strengths, and aligning them with the job or industry you’re targeting. And while the process might be time-consuming and even daunting at times, remember that it’s an investment in your future.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.