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Academic CV: Template, Format, and Examples for 2024

A complete guide to writing an academic CV for graduate schools, fellowships, research programs, or grants. Use our academic CV templates and awe the committee.

Academic CV: Template, Format, and Examples for 2024

Let’s face it, today’s academic realities are pretty harsh. So many talented scholars fighting for so few truly worthwhile fellowships, research programs, or grants. And with the constant cuts in federal spending on higher education, things are only going to get worse.

You can’t change the economy. But you can dramatically boost your chances of standing out from all other applicants. Just follow the advice from this guide to writing an American academic CV.

In this guide you'll find: 

  • How to write an academic CV to stand out from the crowd. 
  • Academic CV template that will highlight your best achievements.
  • Sample academic CV that turns heads.
  • What format you should use for your academic CV. 

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Need help with a different kind of academic application? Explore our other guides:

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Sample Academic CV Template You Can Copy, Adjust, and Use

Meredith Gershowitz
CURRICULUM VITAE
2023/01/25

Meredith Gershowitz
Senior Lecturer on English
Director of Creative Writing
The State University of New York, Albany, NY
295 Johnson Rd., Corona, NY 11368
551-251-4884
m_gershowitz@suny.edu
linkedin.com/in/meredithgershowitz

EDUCATION

2011 Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Department of Creative Writing
Thesis Title: “The Hybrid Hero of Early Modern English Literature: A Synthesis of Classical and Contemplative Heroism”
Thesis Supervisor: Martina Knox

2004 M.A. in English, Graduated Summa Magna Cum Laude 
The City University of New York, NYC, NY
The Department of Modern Languages
Thesis Title: “Philip Larkin’s Distinct Post-War Aesthetic: An Analysis of Compositions and Narratives in ‘Jill’ and ‘A Girl in Winter’”
Thesis Supervisor: James Nutini

2003 M.Litt. in English, First Honors
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK

PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENTS

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Senior Lecturer on English
Director of Creative Writing
The State University of New York, Albany, NY
Department of Creative Writing
2016–
Teaching a total of 12 undergraduate and 11 graduate courses. Supervised 7 MA theses. Director of the Creative Writing Board since 2018.

Visiting Lecturer on English and Drama
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Department of Modern Languages
2012–2016
Taught a total of 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate courses.

PUBLICATIONS

Books

The Rustle of Language. New York: Hill and Wang, 2018.

Sexual Politics in Post-2000 American Drama. Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2014.

Book Chapters

"Difficulties with Girls." In Philip Larkin, edited by Stephen Regan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2015.

"Southern Gentle Lady Do Not Swoon." In Langston Hughes: The Man and His Work, edited by Michael Tomaszewski. London and New York: Faber & Faber, 2012

Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Livy and the Pax Deum,” Modern Philology 111, no. 2 (April 2016): 170–193.

“Conundrum: A Story about Reading,” New England Review 38, no. 1 (2015): 212–230, Project MUSE.

“I Have Screwed the Pig That Was in the Icebox,” Verso Magazine 8, no. 4 (2013): 91–109.

“Don't Go Back to Dalston,” Poor Indie Music Review 69, no. 5 (June 2012): 420–434.

"The Crash Was an Accident. You Have to Let me Go," University of Stockholm Press 18 (March 2011): 37–53.

Other Publications

“The Prophet of Dystopia.” New Yorker, April 17, 2017.

“Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera.” New York Times, March 8, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/this-is-a-fake-url/technology/snap-makes-a-bet-on-the-cultural-supremacy-of-the-camera.html.

“The Squishy, Sugary History of Peeps.” Vox, April 11, 2012. http://www.vox.com/culture/fake-url-everybody/3012/4/11/15209084/peeps-easter.

AWARDS AND HONORS

2018, National Humanities Medal
2018, Ruskin Society Book Prize, Winner
2017 PROSE Award for Textbook/Best in Social Sciences, Honourable Mention 
2015, Choice Outstanding Academic Title, Winner
2011, PROSE Award for Single Volume Reference in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Honourable Mention
2003, Fulbright / The City University of New York Award in Humanities

CONFERENCES

2018, The Limits of an Institution, International Conference, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain; Paper title: "New York City's Art Museums and Activism: The Evolving Relationship."
2017, Prophecy or Randomness, The City University of New York, New York, NY; Paper title: “Carrie Ligon and the Questions of Identity.”
2016, Conflicting Futures, Lee Hansley Institute, Raleigh, NC; Paper title: “A Story About Space: Questioning Terry Eagleton’s Critique Methods.”

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Teaching Assistant
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2005–2011

Teaching Assistant
The City University of New York, NYC, NY

LANGUAGES

Hebrew: Bilingual
French: Advanced
German: Intermediate
Arabic: Can Read With a Dictionary

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a document that provides a detailed overview of your academic and professional background. It's a comprehensive record of one's educational achievements, research experience, teaching engagements, publications, honors, professional memberships, and other academic qualifications. 

If you’re applying for a scholarship and have been asked specifically to send a scholarship academic resume instead of a CV, see: Scholarship Resume Examples and Writing Tips

Still a student? Writing an academic resume for school admissions or internships? Switch over to: Student Resume Examples and Writing Tips

Read on for an overview of an American CV for academic purposes. But before we jump into that, a quick note—

Academic CVs vary in content, chief focus, and length.

Obviously, a CV for graduate school won’t have all the sections a professor's CV has. A research CV for scientists will highlight other sorts of professional achievements than an academic teacher CV.

There’s no one-size-fits-all template.

This guide’s purpose is to provide you with basic concepts and rules every academic curriculum vitae has to follow.

1. Use the Right Academic CV Template and Format

Before you even start writing a CV, take your time to properly format your academic CV. Admission committees and other academic decision makers can be truly nit-picky when it comes to details. So—

Make sure your CV is scholarly and elegant. Avoid amateurish gaffes that would make you look like a rookie.

Academic CV Formatting Blueprint

  1. Set one-inch CV margins on all four sides.
  2. Writing “Curriculum Vitae” at the top is optional (if you’re in sciences, feel free to drop it).
  3. Pick one CV font and stick to it. Standard CV fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, and Georgia are best.
  4. Use 11–12pt font size for all contents and 13–16pt for section headings and your name.
  5. Set single line spacing.
  6. Left-align all contents. Do not justify right: avoid awkward, wide spaces.
  7. Write section headings in bold using ALL CAPS, and subheadings in bold only.
  8. Put an extra space before and after every heading.
  9. No verbiage, no bullet points, no storytelling. A CV is not a resume.
  10. Include all relevant academic details. Make your academic CV as long as it needs to be (even if that means double-digits page count).

Expert Hint: The final formatting question. Should you save your application in PDF or DOC? After you finish writing, save your Academic CV in PDF to keep formatting intact. The only exception is when the institution to which you’re applying only accepts academic CVs in Word. Unsure about that? Shoot a quick email or make a phone call and ask to stay on the safe side.

Now—

What goes where on a professional academic curriculum vitae?

Academic CV Template: What to Include?

  1. Header with Contact Information
  2. (Optional) Research Objective / Personal Profile
  3. Education (read more about how to list education)
  4. Professional Appointments
  5. Publications
    1. Books
    2. Book Chapters
    3. Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
    4. Other Publications
  6. Awards and Honors
  7. Grants and Fellowships
  8. Conferences
    1. Invited Talks
    2. Panels Organized
    3. Papers Presented
    4. Campus Talks
  9. Teaching Experience
  10. Research Experience
  11. Languages
  12. (Optional) Skills (find the best skills to put in your resume here)
  13. References

Don’t have all of the above? If you’re, say, writing a graduate student CV or even an undergraduate student CV, applying for a PhD, or seeking to get a part-time research assistant gig your at your campus, don’t worry.

Just skip those sections where you haven’t earned any experience yet. You’ll get there in a few years!

When it comes to outlining your academic CV, there’s one rule that never changes:

Education is always at the top, just below the header with your contact information.

Below that, you organize sections by competitiveness. The more prestigious the accolade, credential, or achievement, the higher you place it. But remember that academic CVs might vary depending on the type of position or program you’re targeting.

What exactly are you applying for?

An academic research CV for scientific grants should highlight research over teaching. A PhD candidate academic CV will have a more elaborate education section, while a postdoc academic CV will emphasize publications.

In other words: the template above works as a universal reference point, but feel free to adjust it so that it fits your specific needs.

Time to break down how to create each section of your academic curriculum vitae for greatest impact.

2. Create a Standard Academic CV Header

The academic CV header is a very straightforward section. All you need is to include your full contact information.

How to Format the Header of an Academic CV?

  • At the top, in the center, write your full name. Optionally, follow it with the words “Curriculum Vitae” (this is more common in the humanities and arts).
  • Adding a center-aligned date is optional. Generally speaking, only senior scholars do it.
  • Put contact details on the left: your full name again, the name and address of your institution, your home address, telephone number, and email.

Expert Hint: Adding a LinkedIn profile address is also optional. Do so if you’re active on LinkedIn and your profile is up-to-date. Business and science scholars tend to add a LinkedIn handle more often.

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3. Optionally, Write a Research Objective or a Personal Profile on Your Academic CV

For experienced researchers and lecturers, this part is redundant. But, undergrad CVs for grad school applications might benefit from this section.

Also, you should add a personal profile on your CV only if asked for in the guidelines of the institution you’re applying to.

The research objective highlights the specific research interests and goals of the candidate. It is a brief paragraph that outlines the area of research the candidate is passionate about and intends to pursue. This section is especially relevant for individuals applying for academic or research-oriented positions.

The academic CV personal profile shows the candidate's attributes, skills, and qualities relevant to the academic context. It offers a glimpse of the candidate's personality and work style beyond academic achievements and research interests. It's usually more specific, providing quantified achievements, similar to those seen in a resume profile.

Here’s how to write them:

Sample Academic CV: Research Objective

BA graduate in Psychology at Anytown University with a one-year study abroad experience at the Padua University and three semesters of experience assisting on-campus research projects. Made the Dean’s List for three years. Seeking to undertake doctoral research on Educational Psychology and Applied Developmental Science.

Sample Academic CV: Personal Profile

Dedicated academic with over 15 years of experience instructing and mentoring students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Successfully guided 30 BA theses, 15 MA theses, and 5 PhD dissertations, fostering students' research acumen. Authored and co-edited 5 influential monographs on cutting-edge developments in cognitive neuroscience. Published 40+ articles in renowned scientific journals, advancing the field of brain research.

4. Describe Your Education on the Academic CV

The education section of an academic CV plays a pivotal role in presenting your academic background, research potential, and commitment to your chosen field. The most important aspects an education section on an academic CV shows are:

  • Credential Verification: It validates your academic credentials, ensuring that you possess the required qualifications for the academic position.
  • Expertise Demonstration: The education section highlights your specialized knowledge, emphasizing your expertise in a specific subject area or field.
  • Academic Progression: It demonstrates your academic progression, showcasing the degrees and certifications obtained over the years.
  • Relevance to Position: Employers or academic institutions often require specific educational qualifications for certain positions. The education section helps the recruiter quickly assess your eligibility for the role.
  • Credibility and Trustworthiness: A strong education section enhances your credibility and establishes you as a trusted expert in the field.

As to how to write it. You should list your educational path in a reverse-chronological format.

Include, in the following order:

  • Your degree and year of completion,
  • (Optionally) your honors,
  • Institution,
  • Department.

No further details required.

You might include your thesis title and supervisor, but that’s about as elaborate as you might get here.

Academic Curriculum Vitae Example: Education

2004 M.A. in English, Graduated Summa Magna Cum Laude 

The City University of New York, NYC, NY

The Department of Modern Languages

Thesis Title: “Philip Larkin’s Disting Post-War Aesthetic: An Analysis of Compositions and Narratives in ‘Jill’ and ‘A Girl in Winter’”

Thesis Supervisor: James Nutini

Expert Hint: Spelling out “Doctor of Philosophy,” or “Master of Science” will make you come across pretentious. As if you had that printed on your doorplate (you don’t, do you?).

5. List Your Professional Appointments

Remember: on an adjunct professor resume or CV, there’s usually no place for this section.

Only contracted tenure goes here. And, only stints of 1+ year employment. List other types of teaching experience in the, well, “Teaching Experience” section below.

If you have had professional appointments (congratulations on your big break!), limit yourself to the following necessary details only:

  • Your position name,
  • Institution,
  • Department,
  • An outline of courses taught and/or theses supervised.

Although bullet points seem perfect here, you should write paragraphs outlining each appointment. An academic CV, being an essential tool for academic positions, will emphasize your writing skills and ability to present information in a scholarly manner, which, in this case, is shown through each paragraph.

Like in every other academic curriculum vitae section, use the reverse-chronological order.

Academic CV Template: Professional Appointments

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Senior Lecturer on English

Director of Creative Writing

The State University of New York, Albany, NY

Department of Creative Writing

2016–

Teaching a total of 12 undergraduate and 11 graduate courses. Supervised 7 MA theses. Director of the Creative Writing Board since 2018.

Expert Hint: I want to stress it so hard it causes mental fatigue: don’t use bullet points here. Or anywhere else. This. Is. Not. A. Resume.

6. Divide Your Publications into Proper Categories

The publications section presents your original research, academic articles, book chapters, conference papers, and any other scholarly publications. It demonstrates your commitment to advancing knowledge and contributing to your field of study.

How to List Publications on a CV?

Stick to one standard citation style (APA, MLA, or Chicago).

Organize publications on your academic CV by volume, peer-review and prestige:

  • Books,
  • Book Chapters,
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications,
  • Contributions to Edited Volumes Equivalent to Peer-Reviewed Journals,
  • Other Publications.

Academic CV Example: Publications

Books

The Rustle of Language. New York: Hill and Wang, 2018.

Sexual Politics in Post-2000 American Drama. Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2014.

Book Chapters

"Difficulties with Girls." In Philip Larkin, edited by Stephen Regan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2015.

"Southern Gentle Lady Do Not Swoon." In Langston Hughes: The Man and His Work, edited by Michael Tomaszewski. London and New York: Faber & Faber, 2012

7. Showcase Your Awards, Honors, Grants, and Fellowships

This part has gotten all the more important recently.

Considering the planned heavy cuts on federal spendings on higher ed, your academic CV needs to prove that your research so far has been valuable enough to attract funding.

How to List Grants on a CV?

  • Enter only the year and the name of the award.
  • No backstories such as “chosen out of 800+ applicants.”
  • You can disclose how much you got exactly.

If you have received both academic honors and external scholarships or research funding, consider creating separate subsections to distinguish between them. 

Expert Hint: Add the grants or scholarships you have rejected as well. You’re still a legitimate recipient. This is particularly important in artist CVs or CVs for fellowship applications.

8. Put Conferences Above Research and Teaching Experience

And especially invited talks outside of your campus.

Why?

In a word: competitiveness.

To get an invite to do a talk on another campus is insanely prestigious. Not saying there’s anything wrong with TAing or RAing but, let’s face it, all PhD students, let alone postdoc scholars, have done it at some point in their careers.

But—

If you’re writing a junior academic CV for research projects or a part-time academic teacher CV, you might want to consider pulling your research/teaching experience above conference talks.

Always think about your target audience and what they expect from you.

9. Present Your Teaching an Research Experience

Don't mistake your teaching experience with your professional appointments. Here are some tips on how to effectively present these teaching experiences on an academic CV:

  • Include Relevant Information: For each teaching position, include the name of the institution, the department, the course title or code, and the duration of the appointment (dates).
  • Provide a Description: Briefly describe your teaching responsibilities and contributions. Mention the level of courses you taught (e.g., undergraduate, graduate), the class size, and any unique teaching methodologies or technologies used.
  • Highlight Achievements: If you received any teaching awards, commendations, or positive student evaluations, include them to emphasize your teaching excellence.
  • Mention Course Development: If you were involved in developing new courses or revising existing ones, mention this under each relevant teaching position.

As for your research experience. This is where you'll present your academic research posts in—You guessed it—reverse chronological order. Remember to briefly describe the research projects you were involved in, including the project's title, the research team or principal investigator, and the duration of your involvement.

10. Finish With Listing Languages, Skills, and References

Languages on an academic CV are a must. Describe all languages you know well enough to read basic academic texts in them. You can use the IRL scale (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), CEFR (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) or go for descriptive evaluation (basic, intermediate, advanced, native).

Listing skills on an academic CV is customary for technical fields such as computer science or engineering.

References are included on an academic CV only if explicitly asked for. You enter them at the very bottom. No need to explain your relationship with a reference unless you’re writing a CV for an undergraduate and only have one reference.

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Key Points

Here’s a recap of what’s most important in producing an Academic CV, regardless of your field and seniority level:

  • A well-written academic CV should provide a full overview of the candidate’s scholarly experience.
  • Education always goes first. Below it, organize items by competitiveness.
  • Begin with professional appointments, follow them with books and publications, list awards, grants, fellowships, conferences, research and teaching experience, and skills. At the bottom, list references.
  • Academic CVs’ guidelines vary across educational institutions. When in doubt, consult with a trusted advisor or contact the institution you’re applying to.

Frequently Asked Questions About Academic CVs

What is an academic CV?

An academic CV is a comprehensive document that highlights an individual's educational background, research, publications, teaching experience, and academic achievements. It is typically used by academics and researchers for job applications, grants, or job positions in academia.

How to write an academic CV?

Writing an academic CV requires careful attention to detail and a clear presentation of your academic achievements. Follow these steps to create an effective academic CV:

  1. Choose the right format: Academic CVs typically follow a chronological format, starting with your most recent education and moving backward.
  2. Include your contact information: Add your full name, professional title (e.g., Ph.D. candidate, Assistant Professor), address, phone number, and professional email address.
  3. Add an academic summary or objective: Write a brief statement summarizing your academic background, research interests, and career goals.
  4. Present your education: List your academic degrees in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Include the degree title, institution, location, and graduation date.
  5. Showcase research experience: Detail your research work, including project titles, names of research groups or supervisors, and a brief description of your contributions and findings.
  6. Incorporate impressive skills: Mention relevant computer skills, software proficiency, language proficiency, or specialized techniques related to your academic field.
  7. Insert known languages: Present a list of your known languages. Only add these you’re an intermediate user of, or better.
  8. Affix additional information: Publications, Teaching Experience, Grants and Fellowships, Academic Awards and Honors, Professional Memberships, and Academic Service.
  9. Add references: Indicate that references are available upon request. If the application requires references upfront, provide academic or professional references' names and contact information.

Remember to tailor your academic CV. Customize it for each application. Highlight experiences and achievements that are most relevant to the academic position you are applying for.

What is an academic CV format?

An academic CV (Curriculum Vitae) typically has a specific format highlighting academic achievements, research contributions, teaching experience, and other relevant information for academic positions. Here is a general outline of what an academic CV looks like:

  • Header with Contact Information
  • (Optional) Research Objective / Personal Profile
  • Education
  • Research Experience
  • Professional Appointments
  • Publications
  • Books
  • Book Chapters
  • Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
  • Other Publications
  • Awards and Honors
  • Grants and Fellowships
  • Conferences
  • Invited Talks
  • Panels Organized
  • Papers Presented
  • Campus Talks
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Languages
  • Skills (find the best skills to put in your resume here)
  • References

Is an academic CV different from a resume?

The primary distinction between an academic CV and a resume is their length. An academic CV has no specified page limit, while the length of a resume is typically 1–2 pages. Other differentiators include:

  • Purpose: An academic CV is typically used in the academic and research fields and is intended for academic institutions, funding agencies, and academic conferences. On the other hand, you use a tailored resume to apply to non-academic jobs.
  • Content: In an academic CV, the emphasis is on academic achievements, such as research projects, publications, conference presentations, grants, and honors. A resume primarily focuses on relevant work experience in the work history section.
  • Format: The format of an academic CV may vary, but it often includes categories such as Education, Research Experience, Publications, Teaching Experience, Grants/Fellowships, and Academic Awards. Resumes follow the classic resume format.
  • Language: Academic CVs may include more technical language and specific academic terminology to highlight research expertise. Resumes use clear, concise language understood by non-academic employers.

How to convert an academic CV for industry positions?

Converting an academic CV for industry positions involves adapting the content and format to make it more appealing and relevant to non-academic employers. Here are some steps to help you in the process:

  • Reformat the CV: Start by reformatting your CV to follow a standard resume layout. Use a clean and professional design, and limit the length to 1–2 pages. Use bullet points and concise statements to highlight your work experience.
  • Focus on transferable skills: Identify the transferable skills from your academic experience that are relevant to the industry position you are applying for. Add them in a separate resume skills section.
  • Tailor the content: Customize your CV to create a targeted application.
  • Modify the language: Avoid academic jargon and technical terms that may not be familiar to non-academic employers.
  • Include a professional summary: Include a professional summary or career objective at the beginning of your application instead of an academic objective. This brief statement will highlight your key qualifications and career goals.
  • Omit irrelevant information: Remove any academic details that are not directly relevant to the industry position you are applying for. For example, extensive lists of academic presentations and conferences may not be essential for a non-academic role.
  • Showcase results and accomplishments: Use quantifiable professional achievements to demonstrate your impact and contributions in previous roles.
  • Proofread thoroughly: Review your converted CV carefully for any errors or inconsistencies. Ensure that it presents a polished and professional image.

How long should an academic CV be?

An academic CV has no length limit. Unlike the length of a resume, which should be 1–2 pages, an academic CV can often reach double-digit number of pages.

Do you put skills on an academic CV?

Typically, a skills section is reserved for resumes. Academic CVs usually don’t have a separate skills section. However, including a skills section on an academic CV is not prohibited, so if you have a couple of relevant skills you want to showcase, you can add a skill section.

Should you include your GPA on an academic CV?

You should include your GPA on an academic CV if it’s 3.5 or higher. You should avoid adding it if it’s lower. Furthermore, you also don’t need to add a GPA on an academic CV if your academic experience is at least 5 years.

Should an academic CV have bullet points or paragraphs?

An academic CV should use paragraphs, not bullet points. CVs often follow a more formal and traditional format, including well-structured paragraphs in academia. This format is commonly accepted in academic circles and can be viewed as more appropriate for conveying scholarly information.

Should an academic CV have a photo?

In most academic settings, including a photo on an academic CV is unnecessary. In fact, we recommend excluding photos from academic CVs altogether.

How far back should an academic CV go?

It is common for early-career academics to include all academic and research experience. For more experienced academics, it is essential to focus on the most relevant and recent experiences. It's recommended that your academic CV goes back up to 15 years.

Should I put page numbers on my academic CV?

You do not need to add page numbers if you have a one or two-page academic CV. But if your document is longer, include them. In case it got mixed up, an academic CV with page numbers can be easily assembled again.

Questions? Concerns? I’m here to listen and assist. Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll make sure to get back to you straight away!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW

With vast expertise in interview strategies and career development, Michael is a job expert with a focus on writing perfect resumes, acing interviews, and improving employability skills. His mission is to help you tell the story behind your career and reinforce your professional brand by coaching you to create outstanding job application documents. More than one million readers read his career advice every month. For ResumeLab, Michael uses his connections to help you thrive in your career. From fellow career experts and insiders from all industries—LinkedIn strategists, communications consultants, scientists, entrepreneurs, digital nomads, or even FBI agents—to share their unique insights and help you make the most of your career. Michael has a degree in Liberal Arts and specializes in personal and professional storytelling.

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