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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?

1 Answer 1

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.