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How to Write a Winning CV for a Postdoctoral Fellowship/Position

Postdoctoral position is a research-oriented job. Writing curriculum vitae (CV) for a postdoctoral position/fellowship is quite different from writing to other jobs. A postdoctoral CV is a complete list of your educational background, teaching, technical and research experience, and other professional activities. Every year thousands of new graduates will be looking for a postdoctoral position in their respective discipline. Research fellows, who have already completed one or more years of postdoctoral positions, are also seeking the same. Any postdoctoral job advertisement receives thousands of applicants from all over the world. So, finding a right postdoc position of your choice is quite competitive. The first step in the hiring process for a postdoc position will be screening candidate’s CV. If your CV looks professional and eyecatching then you will be considered for the next step – interview.

Here’s the checklist and some tips to help you to write a striking CV for a postdoctoral position.

The main purpose of writing CV is to get you an interview. First, take a note pad and list out about your education, training, achievements, awards/scholarship received and your accomplishments in research field. Second step is to start arranging them in an order. Third step, start working on it by checking for grammar, errors and how you want to arrange and present them. Here’s the list of things that you can think about – (1) Basic information about yourself; (2) professional history; (3) research/work/teaching experiences; (3) technical skills; (4) publications and abstracts submissions; (6) presentation/invited talks, conference or meeting attendance; (7) reviewer; (8) honors/awards/fellowship; (9) other academic activities; (10) additional skills; (11) references.


Basic information

Basic information includes your name, current lab and residential address, contact information, and education. Make sure you provide your first and last names, include your e-mail address and phone numbers in contact information. Under education, incorporate all the degrees you have obtained. In what field/subject the degree was awarded to you. From where you obtained the degrees (university/institute name, city and country), and when the degree was awarded (month and year).

Professional/work history

In this section, you should provide your present and past jobs information. Details that to be included - date of joining and leaving the position; designation/title of the job held; name of the institute/department; supervisor/principal investigator’s name for whom you have worked.

Research/work experiences

You should briefly state your current and past research accomplishments. The title of the project, your role in the project and the techniques/approach you used to address the research questions. Finally, where the work got published.

Teaching experience

You should write about your teaching experience as a separate section in the CV. The courses you had taught and for how many hours. Job held as a teaching assistant. If you have trained someone in the laboratory techniques, include those details.

Techniques/Research skills

One of the important parts of your CV is writing about your technical expertise in the field. Employers spend more time in evaluating this section to decide whether you have expertise to work in their projects. List out all the techniques you have learned during you education. If you had attended any technical training program include that information also.


Your publication record informs your accomplishments and expertise in the field.Provide the list of publications starting from your most recent one. Follow any one specific order to list your publications. The common order: (1) author(s); (2) title of the article; (3) year of publication; (4) full name of journal; (5) volume number; and (6) page number. In reality, your selection for the next step of hiring process depends on your publications.

As a sub-section of publications, you can also incorporate manuscripts under preparation, abstracts submitted to scientific meetings, non-referred articles and proceedings. It is better to bold your name in the publication list, so that employers will easily identify your contribution to the paper.

Presentations/invited talks, conference or meeting attendance

If you had been invited to give a talk in any conferences or meetings, provide the facts such as on what topic you gave the talk, name of the conference, venue and date of the conference held. Poster presentations in the meeting can also be included.


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Being a reviewer, informs your ability to judge others work. Clearly state the name of journals and for how long you have been a reviewer. If your supervisor/PI had asked you to be the part of review process for any manuscripts or for students’ thesis, include that information.


In this section you should provide the details about the fellowships/awards you have received during your education. This can include travel awards to attend any conference/meetings.

Additional skills

It is important to mention your additional skills such as knowledge of foreign language or advancement of any software language/skills; even though it is not directly related to the position you are applying for.

Other academic/professional activities

Highlight about your professional activities that fall outside your regular research work. This can include organizing conferences/seminars and participation in community work.


All postdoctoral applicants need to provide at least two to three references. You should write your referee’s full name and contact information (email address and telephone numbers). The referee should be in a capacity to provide information about your skills, personality and scholarly activities.

These are some of the standard qualities a research scholar accomplishes over a period. You don’t have to meet all these criteria to apply for a postdoctoral position. Try to build these features to be successful in research field.

Good Luck!

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Bopi-Cheppu (author) from San Antonio, TX, U.S.A on April 22, 2012:

Charmike4, thanks for visiting this hub. Best wishes! For your doctoral work.

Bopi-Cheppu (author) from San Antonio, TX, U.S.A on April 22, 2012:

Thank you, Lawdoctorlee. I am happy to know that this hub will be helpful to you. Good Luck, with your career.

Michael Kromwyk from Adelaide, South Australia on April 22, 2012:

This is wonderful advice. I'm considering completing a doctorate and I'll save this hub because it will become very handy when I finish. Thanks for taking the time to share bopi-cheppu. Cheers Michael

Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD from New York, NY on April 22, 2012:

Excellent Hub! Just what I needed. Voted up & useful!

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