What should a physics CV look like?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • May 10 2023

A CV is a document that outlines your education and work experience. You’ll often be asked for it when you’re applying for job opportunities, or for postgraduate study applications.


What is a CV?

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin phrase meaning ‘course of life’. A CV provides a full history of your education, qualifications, skills and work experience. It’s often advised to tailor your CV to the specific role you’re applying for, by showing examples of how you’ve demonstrated the skills the job description requires. 

You’ll need a CV to apply to internships, postgraduate programmes, grants, job opportunities and many more scenarios. Even if a company doesn’t ask you for your CV, having one can help you answer questions about your education and skills.

What should my physics CV look like?

At the top of your CV, you should write your full name, your email address and phone number. This allows recruiters to easily contact you. Then, include a list of your educational experience in reverse chronological order (most recent experience first). Be sure to include your exam results, and don’t forget to include your current education. 

Next, you’ll need to include your work experience. Include your position, the company you worked for, and the start and end dates. It’s still important to include things that are unrelated to the job description, as these experiences will provide you with transferable skills. 

It’s important to tailor your experiences to the job description. For example, if the job description states they’re looking for someone with problem solving skills, provide an example of a time you helped resolve an issue, even if it’s unrelated to physics.

What else should I include in my physics CV?

The rest of your CV should include other experiences you think are relevant to the job description. If you’ve taken a training course or short course, provide the name of the course and when you did it. Volunteering opportunities should also be included, although lengthy experiences should be included under work experience. 

If you completed an open day or insight day with the company or a similar one, be sure to include that. Finally, if you have examples of work you’ve done (i.e an experiment or an article you wrote), include a link!

What shouldn’t I include in my physics CV?

Firstly, don’t lie about any of your experience or grades, as employers can check whether you’re telling the truth. 

Try to avoid making general claims: i.e don’t say you have good communication skills without providing an example of these skills at work. 

Finally, certain things should not be included on your CV, such as a photograph, your salary expectations or any personal attributes (e.g. ethnic origin).