Context: I'm a final-year PhD student overhauling my CV for academic postdoc and grant applications (in Europe and the US). During my MSc and PhD, I was very active in Outreach, Teaching/TAing, held several student leadership positions, served on a bunch of academic committees, worked part time in grant administration, helped coordinate student conferences and initiated multiple EDI projects.

My question is similar in spirit to Should academic CVs include reviewing, non-academic service, hobbies and languages?, but with a slightly different issue: where's the line between non-academic/academic for the examples I described above?

To me, a lot of these activities have been hobbies (e.g. the student leadership positions, which are argued against here When to remove college leadership positions from CV/resume?), but I've also received conflicting advice that should be included to demonstrate leadership/social ability/community involvement and initiative (similar to the first comment in How to demonstrate leadership quality). Then again, Is listing non-academic interests on academic CVs important? seems to imply that including these activities is only for early stage researchers whose academic work is still lacking.

tl;dr I don't want to come across as a dilettante by overloading my CV with "lower quality" items or implying that I wasted potential research time not researching. I also don't want to remove things that could give me an edge. Advice on where to draw the line would be much appreciated!

1 Answer 1


There are no hard and fast rules for CV formatting. The culture is such that nobody cares about the total length one way or the other except that I've noticed some tenured profs who have short versions instead of 20 pagers.

I'm just at the end of a postdoc for context.

I'd keep anything from your PhD onward in this genre on your CV as long as it's somehow related to academia and not e.g. recreation. Committees, grant work, academic conference organizing, outreach related to your discipline? All should definitely be included.

I still have MSc and PhD service on mine while I'm applying for Asst Prof, nobody has batted an eye. But keep in mind that the purpose of the document is to make the information a reader cares about as easy to find as possible for overloaded search committees. So:

  • Label the sections of your CV very clearly.
  • Service and outreach is probably best put at the bottom of the CV. I don't personally know of any disciplines where it's the highest priority.
  • If you feel like there are several similar service items (say 4+ somewhat arbitrarily) that can be grouped together with one descriptive entry, I don't think that will hurt you. For instance, Reviewer: <list of 4+ journals>

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