Interviews and applications

Academic jobs are highly competitive so careful preparation for each application is key. has an ebook How to apply for an academic job (PDF, 573kB) that covers interpreting job adverts, tailoring applications and interview top tips. The book provides step-by-step advice and also provides exercises that will get you thinking about your career development. Become as informed as possible about the department and the research area before you apply. Do you know anyone in the institution you are applying to? Institutions often invite candidates to make contact informally about advertised posts before making applications. Take up this opportunity, it will help you tailor your research statement. Also consider talking to other academics, especially those with recent successful experience of selection and ask colleagues to review your application.

What you need to have the competitive edge

Vitae have come up with the following list of the things you should be highlighting in your applications that will make you stand out and be competitive:

Creating an effective academic CV

Most academic vacancies are advertised with a detailed job description, person specification and list of required competencies - make sure you tailor your application/CV to match these requirements. Analyse the job description and specification in detail as your CV needs to present strong evidence that you fulfill the job requirements.

Here is some general guidance from Vitae on creating your academic CV:

Make sure other people read your CV. They will pick up on whether it is clear, any spelling mistakes etc. Consider asking your peers, a mentor or other academics in your school.

Academic CVs should only be used for academic applications and have a unique format, they are generally longer than other types of CVs, however no more than four pages is often recommended. The key extra features compared to general CVs are more focus on:

Do not use the academic CV format to apply for other types of job: use a chronological CV or competency-based CV.

Useful tools for Interviews 

1. academic job interview toolkit (PDF, 560kB)

It includes two useful sections:

2. Vitae has a list of commonly asked questions in academic interviews. It is a good idea to prepare and even rehearse your answers

3. Guidance from Vitae on what preparation you should do in advance of your interview

4.'s 10 top tips for Interview Presentations

Where to find academic jobs Search international jobs in academic employment. Subscribe by email or upload your CV. The first port of call for many in the UK.
Nature Jobs: The world’s largest dedicated science jobs board. Advertising international science jobs.
New ScientistNew Scientist Jobs brings you all the latest science, technology and engineering jobs from across the UK and Europe.
Find a postdoc: FindAPostDoc is Europe's only website dedicated solely to postdoctoral job opportunities.