I am trying to apply for a Lecturer job in another country; I noticed that they're asking for an academic resume and they provided a template as well. Here is what they said:

You should provide attachments, including your academic CV and details of research, publications and grants if not already covered (an Academic CV template is available here).

Here is the issue: the template has sections of stuff I didn't do or don't have. Since I completed my PhD in another country, we have different "evaluation metrics". For instance, in my country (3rd world country), it's pretty hard to find funding for your research, and most students do a PhD with no funding (my case). I do however have experience in preparing project proposals to get funding, but I never got funding. So, I don't know what to write in the "Research grants and contracts" section.

So my question is: is it a good idea to use my own template? The template they're providing is pretty detailed and they're asking for specific sections, such as contribution to the department, contribution to the faculty, contribution to the university and to enterprise. A resume is not an official document, meaning that the candidate makes his own resume and not some institution, am I right?


I want to thank all those who took the time to comment and answer my question.

I emailed the university and they said I can use my own template.

I want to clarify that the resume I have now (and I am using to apply for other opportunities) is not a representation of my lack of interest! I did re-format my resume a lot of times, in fact I used to prepare tailored resumes each time I apply (my field is cyber security and IA, so I did target vacancies that want a profile that unites the two fields, but I also applied for jobs that seeks individual skills). Before I apply, I always ask for external input from a professor in our lab about the resume I used. But I truly believe that it won't change a lot if another candidate has +5 years experience more than me and uses a generic format.

Even my supervisor noticed that and asked me to only use one, because according to her is "what's more important is the content of the resume and not how it looks". So, I prepared one standard resume that took me +3 hours!

  • I emailed the university and they said I can use my own template. Good, but the template will still indicate the information they want, even if you make yours look prettier.
    – Owain
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 20:24

5 Answers 5


There is nothing in the statement ``(an Academic CV template is available here)'' indicating this is a required format. I would assume that most applicants would not use the template.

I suspect the template is there to help applicants. Does it have a place for hobbies? If not, probably you want to not list hobbies. It does have a place for ``contributions to the university'' so be sure it is clear on your CV if you ever sat on a campus-wide committee or some such thing. Different cultures put in different things in a CV, but in this case you have a guide.

The fact that the template has separate sections for different types of service makes me suspect this is a generic format used for scholars at many ranks and many departments. There may be many sections any specific person would have blank.

  • ThankYou.I do think it's a generic template,it was also posted in 2017 so it was there for sometime.But I am genuinely hesitant about the "contributions to the university" section.My university has a Computer Science department which handles EVERYTHING that falls even remotely to computer science.This makes it harder to have connection between researcher who works on specific field and the administration. Even in the same country,u might find a lot of differences between universities.So, in my opinion if their goal is to provide a generic format, then they should also provide generic sections.
    – U. User
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 18:54

I suspect that most of the applicants will use the template. I also suspect that the search committee will expect all applicants' CVs to be in the same order.

If it were I, I'd use the template, omit entirely the things that aren't applicable in your case, and very briefly address those in a cover letter.

  • 2
    @U.User Your application is much more likely to be "systematically dropped" if you don't follow the process of the institution to which you are applying. If the job is not worth reformatting your CV, well, you aren't very interested in it, eh?
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 16:57
  • 2
    I am HIGHLY interested. I've completed my PhD in mid-July, and since then I've applied to various research and teaching positions but I was never shortlisted for an interview. I stopped counting the times I've reformatted my resume. I know It's not supposed to be easy, but it's also a bit harder than the usual. Because of these special times, I started forming this idea of "being systematically dropped" or internal candidates are favored. But I do agree with you, I will never know If I don't try.
    – U. User
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 17:12
  • 6
    @BobBrown It is not very nice to assume that a candidate interested in a job should also be prepared to jump through all kind of administrative hoops, such as re-formatting the application pack and filling in forms which most of the selection panel members won't even bother reading. Academia needs great and creative people to do research and education, not office clerks to comply with exorbitant bureaucratic requirements. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 20:09
  • 2
    @BobBrown I tend to agree with Dmitry to be honest. I think the OP sounds slightly nervous, not disinterested (indeed, see the "I am HIGHLY interested" assertion above). Nervous people tend to need a morale boost more than anything. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 22:02
  • 2
    @Stuart haha "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work", I remember that I had a reputation of having "high number of paper rejections" in my lab, but I was also the first to defend his thesis from the team that joined the same year and even the team 1-2 years before me. So, I did develop the skill to deal with rejections, but you also know that in academia not all rejections are reasonable.
    – U. User
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 22:38

Re-formatting the application pack for each vacancy is a huge waste of time. Some parts of it, such as the cover letter, may need to be adjusted to match the requirements of the vacancy. Other parts, such as CV, Publication List, Research statement, Teaching statement, etc, reflect your current profile. A University which asks these documents to be re-formatted for them is putting a huge additional burden on applicants. This is largely a test in compliance with bureaucratic requirements, than a test of your academic skills and abilities. It's up to you to decide whether the job is worth participating in such a test.

Outside academia, e.g. in IT sector, companies are searching for the candidates based on their online profiles, e.g. LinkedIn. All necessary details are clarified via interviews over the phone, skype/zoom or in person. Companies which expect developers to re-format CVs for them will likely go bust very quickly.

  • If I had typed my CV on the L.C. Smith typewriter I used as an undergraduate, I certainly wouldn't re-do it. I could paste the various parts of my own CV into someone's template in ten minutes or so with Word or Libre Office. The amount of effort one should/must put into applying for a job depends upon how much one wants the job, but also on how much competition there is for that job. In the United States, and in many or perhaps most disciplines, there's more competition for academic jobs than for IT jobs.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 22:36
  • 1
    Preparing tailored resumes for each job is not fun when you know you will receive an automated email with no feedback. I've seen positive and negative emails and they're basically the same. What I'm trying to say is if a candidate is expected to put extra-work to prepare a fancy and tailored resume for a company, then the company should put an extra-effort for a personalized response (positive or negative). Right now, HR department will go extra with you if they're only interested regardless of the effort you showed. I'm not saying don't try at all, and that's really flawed in my opinion.
    – U. User
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 23:10

specific sections, such as contribution to the department, contribution to the faculty, contribution to the university and to enterprise

They're all standard for academic CVs and if the institution has included them on its template they reflect the criteria against which your application will be assessed.

  • 2
    The standard is 1) Contact Information 2)Research Objective or Personal Profile 3) Education 4) Professional Appointments 5) Publications 6) Awards and Honors 7) Grants and Fellowships 8) Conferences 9) Teaching Experience 10) Research Experience 11) Additional Activities 12) Languages and Skills 13) References. I agree that since it is mentioned it will be used as a criterion to assess my application. I think it's a good idea to follow the template!
    – U. User
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 17:31
  • In some countries, academic institutions are not organised exactly in the same way as in the U.S. For example, there may be no faculties or departments. This makes it much harder for applicants from these countries to complete an over-structured template. Effectively this "template" disadvantages applicants from these less represented backgrounds. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 20:33

I've always found that typesetting a CV well (getting page beaks in sensible places, preventing different bits of text from being printed one on top of the other, preventing lines from sticking off the edge of the page...) is difficult and stressful. You could take it that, by providing a template file (as long as that template file is a good one), the university is offering to do a lot of that hard work for you, and protect you from that stress. I wouldn't be inclined to turn that offer down.

  • 5
    OP already has their CV prepared from their other applications. Re-formatting it to match the University's own template will cost extra time and likely cause extra errors. This "offer" is not helpful for most applicants. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 20:14
  • @DmitrySavostyanov Yeah, on reflection I think my experience might be unique and not generalizable to other users. (My experience being that, every time I edit a few words in my CV, e.g. to account for some new skill I've developed, I have to spend three-quarters of an hour fiddling with the formatting within my existing template to get rid of all the daft pagination, bits of text printed superimposed on each other, and lines of text that don't fit within the horizontal width of the page.) Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 20:40

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