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PhD Resume Example for Industry & Non-Academic Jobs

When you have a PhD, it means you have a lot of experience and knowledge. How do you most effectively leverage that knowledge in your resume to get the right job?

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By Ho Lin 4 minute read

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PhD Resume Example

Once you’ve gone through doctoral schooling, your degree will look incredible on a professional resume, but how do you turn your PhD from an academic flex into a benefit to your resume? If you’re looking for a resume or CV template that takes your higher education into account, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to write a resume as a PhD student so that you’re highlighting all the right elements.

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What Should I Highlight in a PhD Resume?

A PhD resume is going to revolve largely around your PhD itself. It’s one of the highest certifications that you can get, so it’s very impressive to a hiring manager when you’re able to show it off. However, you also need to incorporate skills and experiences that you’ve gained during your academic years. Check the job description of the job you’re applying for and showcase matching skills.

The Structure of a PhD Resume

To show off your PhD resume to best advantage, you need to make sure your document is in the right resume format. Although the chronological format is the most popular, the functional format or combination format may work best for recent graduates because of their emphasis on skills and education. Regardless of your format choice, here are the sections you’ll see in a PhD resume.

Contact information

The header goes at the very top of the resume and includes your name and contact information. Your phone number and professional social media links, like your LinkedIn profile, as well as your address, should also be included.

Resume summary

Next is your resume summary or resume objective. This is a short 2-3 sentence paragraph. In the resume summary, you will highlight your most significant relevant skills and experience. In the case of a resume objective, you will state your top skills and overall career goals. The resume objective is best for those who have little to no work experience.


Your skills section is going to be different for every job. For example, if you’re trying to become a research assistant, you’ll list different skills than if you’re looking to move into something like project management. Your best option is to look at the requirements the recruiter put in the job description and build your skills list from there, including both hard skills (technical knowledge, such as knowledge of specific subjects or software) and soft skills (useful intangible traits, like attention to detail).

Work history

Recent graduates often have a difficult time with their experience section because they feel as though they don’t have a lot of experience. The truth is that -time jobs, academic jobs, and volunteer work can count as work history, as long as they involve skills that are pertinent to the job you want. These can all give you a starting point when it comes to relevant experience.


The last section is your education section. Of course, include your PhD here. However, you can also include your bachelor’s degree and associate degrees if you have them. Additionally, if you have any certifications or licenses, they can typically go in your education section.

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Do’s and Don’ts for a PhD Resume

  • Prominently display your PhD in the very first line of your header. You want it to be front and center (e.g., “Jane Smith, PhD”).
  • Show how your PhD will impact your work with a company. A descriptive section underneath your PhD listing in your education section should show a hiring manager relevant coursework and skills learned that can make a positive impact on the job.
  • Use action verbs (e.g., “implemented” or “managed”) when describing your accomplishments. This shows hiring managers that you’re in charge of your skills.
  • Leave your work experience section blank. You should list something in work experience, even if your academic CV seems light on experience in general.
  • Stuff your skill list with entry-level skills. You should only feature the absolute best skills that you have that also fit what the job wants.
  • Automatically go for a two-page resume because you have your PhD. If you’re a recent graduate, a one-page resume can still be a good option. Just include all the information you need to include that shows you’re the right candidate for the role.

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FAQ: PhD Resume Examples

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Yes. Especially if you’re a recent graduate, a cover letter can be even more important for a PhD graduate. It allows you to talk directly to the hiring manager to explain your academic background in a bit more detail and discuss exactly what you did in graduate school. Use the ResumeHelp cover letter builder if you’re unsure how to start your cover letter.

Graduate students often don’t have a very significant amount of experience to list on their curriculum vitae. This is where professional experience and research experience can come into play. Chances are, you do have experience, even if it’s not experience outside of school. Your academic activities and part-time jobs you may have held while you were a student can all go in your experience section.

Every job is going to be a little bit different because all jobs are looking for a slightly different unique person. Your best bet is to use resume keywords. If you’re able to pinpoint the resume keywords in a specific job description (for example, specific skills and qualifications the job requires), you’ll be able to write a resume that perfectly targets those keywords. It’s an effective way to always look like the perfect applicant. Additionally, adding keywords to your resume helps if it is scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS) that employers use to scan resumes for keywords. If you have the right keywords, your resume stands a better chance of landing on the recruiter’s desk!

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Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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