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I am preparing my CV for applications to post-doc positions in the field of social sciences. I will apply to positions in the EU, mainly in German language countries.

I have updated my CV with my current position and experiences and I am wondering myself how long it should be at the max. Currently, with all details (Experiences in academia and in teaching; my course of education, language skills, a brief summary of my diploma thesis and my dissertation -- about 5 sentences each -- social commitments, IT skills and interests) I reach about 4 pages.

A CV for a job in a company is said to have at a maximum 2 pages. I could not find any hints how long a CV should be for a academic position. Does anyone of you have ideas or experiences how long it should be?

  • Look up some people who have the type of position you're applying for, and look at their CVs to see what's standard, in terms of level of detail. What you've described sounds like far too much detail to me--I've never seen someone give more than the title of their dissertation, or multi-sentence descriptions of anything. But maybe European CVs are different? (I'm in the US.) – user37208 Jul 3 '16 at 15:39
  • @user37208: Thank you for your remark. However, I think CVs published online differ from CVs used when applying for a position. I will ask them though if they let me see their CVs for applying to positions. I know that a CV is growing in length, however I believe there is a maximum length. When applying for professorial position, I don't think more than 4 or 5 pages are suitable? I may be mistaken though. – HATEthePLOT Jul 4 '16 at 7:36
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The notion of a curriculum vitae is confused by the fact that it gets used in two very different ways:

  1. A comprehensive list of all of one's academic accomplishments
  2. A short summary of one's background and skills (like an American resume)

For a postdoc position, you will generally want to be using the first---at least, that has been the way it has been for all countries that I am familiar with.

That, then, may be as long as it takes to list everything out; when applying for a postdoc position, your record will likely still be fairly short. Well established researchers, on the other hand, can easily end up with 20+ pages and may consider switching to a "best of" format in which only the most significant highlights are shown.

  • Thank you for your remark. Can you elaborate a bit more on the difference between the two types? As I understand it, the first one is a complete and detailed overview of my carreer where the second only lists skills and expieriences at the current moment (without any details on past occupations?) – HATEthePLOT Jul 4 '16 at 7:39

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