Take your CV up a level with a stand-out publications section

Getting your CV shipshape is hard enough, but when you have the question of how to list publications on your CV to consider it can feel like an uphill struggle.

You want to show off your publications, peer-reviewed papers, and book chapters to the best of your ability, but how to do it without it all looking like a long, boring chunk of text?

There are certainly ways in which you can showcase publications on your CV that look neat, readable, and digestible for the reader, without sending them off to sleep! Simply follow the guidelines below on how to list publications on your CV.

Why it's important to list publications on a CV

First things first, let's talk about why you should be listing publications on your CV. When you share this document with a hiring manager, you're making your case as to why you're the best person for the job. So, you need to use everything in your arsenal. 

It is not just academic, scientific, and medical CVs that warrant publications. Whatever industry you're in, if your publications are relevant to the role you're applying for, include them. Here are three reasons you should learn how to list publications on your CV:

To showcase your knowledge 

Publications prove your expertise and knowledge in that particular field to a prospective employer. Your CV is the one place where you can really blow your own trumpet, so go for it — as long as the content is relevant and precise.

To highlight your skills 

It's not easy to get published. You need to have a diverse range of talents to get the job done, and it doesn't end there. You also need to go through a rigorous editorial process, collaborating well with other professionals. Listing publications demonstrates that you have analytical, research, and writing skills.

To get the competitive edge 

Each time you apply for a job, you go up against a whole horde of other candidates. Chances are, many of these will have the same level of education and experience as you do. Including publications in your CV is a smart way to set yourself apart from the crowd. It shows that you're willing to go the extra mile. 

What is an academic CV?

 Academic CVs, along with medical and scientific CVs, need a special approach as they often require extra information such as extended training, qualifications, research details, many years of experience, and, of course, publications. A perfect example of an academic CV is Stephen Hawking's, as created by TopCV.

Which types of publications should I include on my CV?

The short answer here is: anything that's relevant to the role you're applying for! If you have publications on your CV that go back to the 1990s or before, then think really carefully before including them. Are they appropriate? Do they still demonstrate your expertise in the field?

What counts as a publication is anything that has actually been published. Need more information here? Let's take a look at some of the publications that you might include:

  • Books or novels. Should you have published a book that aligns with your career or job title, now is the time to include it. However, you should always be mindful of the content of the publication. If you've written a fiction book that has nothing to do with your professional life, it may not be worth dedicating space to it on your CV. 

  • Trade journals. Trade journals often publish academic articles from experts in the field. If you've contributed work to one of the publications in your industry, that is certainly worth including in your CV. This accolade shows that you're trusted and highly respected in your field. Don't miss the opportunity to shout about that. 

  • Peer-reviewed papers. Research papers show that you have excellent analytical skills and the ability to showcase your findings in the form of a report. These are talents that are certain to impress any hiring manager out there. 

  • Academic books. Whether you've written an entire book or simply contributed to its content, you may want to list it on your CV. Make sure that the publication's subject matter aligns with your professional goals and prospects first. 

  • Blogs. Don't forget to include online blogs as well, if they're applicable. They are just as valid as traditional publications and, if you include the hyperlink or URL, the person reading your CV can easily click on the link to see your post.

  • Articles. Whether you've written an article or been quoted as an expert in one, it may be worth highlighting. The fact that you've been published by a media outlet shows that you have a certain level of expertise. Once again, you need to make sure that this pertains directly to your professional life or it won't be relevant to the application.

In each case, consider what the publication tells the reader about you. Your CV is a marketing resource and should show you in the best possible light. With that in mind, you should only include publications that further your application and accentuate your value. 

How to list publications on a CV

Now that you're well-versed on the type of publications you can include in an application, we'll delve into how to list publications on your CV. Check out our advice below: 

Use the same style throughout

When it comes to how to list publications on a CV, the key is consistency. Using a mish-mash of approaches shows the hiring manager that you lack a certain attention to detail. 

Instead, make sure that each publication on your CV is written in the same style, in the same order, and with the same type of information. It's also worth bullet pointing each one, so that they don't run into one another.

Choose the right format for your CV

Next up, you need to choose a format that works. While there are a few to choose from, we recommend following the MLA style, the Modern Language Association guidelines on citing research and how to reference a publication on a CV. While it may sound intimidating, it's quite easy to get your head around. Here's the best way to set it out: 

  • The author's name, using their initials and surname. If your article or book was a collaboration, include all the names of the authors but put your name in bold to emphasise it

  • The title of the book / article / chapter in italics

  • The name of the journal in which it was published

  • Year of publication in brackets

  • Volume and page numbers

Using the above structure, you should have no problem listing a selection of publications on your CV. If there is any information that you don't have - such as the volume number - you can omit that part of the citation. However, the more thorough you are, the better.

Use reverse chronological order 

Avoid simply including your publications as a randomised list. Instead, make it simple for the hiring manager to see your most recent achievements. You can do this by using reverse-chronological order when including publications on your CV. That means starting with the most recent publications and working your way back in time as you move down the page.

Include publications that are still “in press”

Eager to shout about an upcoming publication? If you have any publications that have been accepted but not yet published, you can state that they are "in press" and take off the issue number. For those articles that you've submitted, but which have not yet been accepted, write "submitted for publication" and remove the name of the journal.

Avoid including too many publications 

If your list runs into many dozens or even hundreds of publications, it's best to select the most pertinent and recent ones for each position you apply to. You don't want to overwhelm the reader with too much information. 

Alternatively, you can opt for an appendix which lists all of your publications. At the top of the Publication section on your CV, add: “For a full list of more than 200 publications, books, and chapters, please see appendix.” 

With the optimum length of a CV standing at two pages, this means your CV is contained within that length and you can then forward the appendix if required.

Always review your publications list 

As we've already mentioned, you shouldn't include publications that date back to the 1990s (or before) on your CV. However, it's also smart to continually check your publication list and see whether it suits the job for which you are applying. 

Whenever you decide to apply for a new job, you should tailor your CV to meet its requirements. Include analysing your list of publications as a step in this all-important editorial process. 

Check that each of the publications works for the role at hand, that it's still in date, and that it's available somewhere, should the hiring manager want to check it out. If you've included links to articles or blog posts, make a habit of ensuring that they are still live, too. 

Where to put publications on a CV

Let's talk about where you should list publications on your CV. You should create a separate Publications section and share your publications as a bullet-pointed list. The standard format is to place this below the Education section.  

However, with publications being written in reverse chronological order, if your lists are much more recent than your educational achievements, then they can go higher up the CV. That's a decision that you'll have to make when creating the basic structure of your CV.

Let's say that you have an array of different publications to shout about. You may want to break things down even more. If you have the space on your CV, and different types of publications, you can put each of them under separate headings such as Books, Book Chapters, Peer-Reviewed Articles, and Abstracts. Keep in mind that this approach will take up a lot of room and you might want to include it as an appendix. 

Just a note on PhD theses – if your thesis wasn't published, it should be included in the Education section under your PhD title, not in the Publication section.

Example of how to include publications on a CV

We've talked about how to list publications on your CV, but what does this format look like in real-terms? If you're new to the realms of showing off your publications, it's smart to take a look at a few examples. Using the structure that we've described above, here are some of the ways that you may choose to include publications in your next application.


  • A August, DDR Manda & DM Sam, The Fundamentals to Diagnosing Stigmata, Journal of Medical Care Research and Review, peer reviewed (2020), 3(3), 349-351
  • A August, FD Khan, CF Rosa & M Ghan, Images of the Nervous System, Open Journal of Clinical and Medical Case Reports, peer reviewed (2019), Vol 5: Issue 17
  • Poster on The Correlation between Heart Disease and Smoking, University of East London, UK (2016) 

The takeaway

In this guide, we've covered how to list publications on your CV. Follow the advice we've shared to ensure that you showcase these achievements like a real pro. As with everything on your CV, check and double check the information - especially the details regarding your publications. You wouldn't want a potential employer to be led on a wild goose chase while trying to find one of your publications that has been incorrectly input! 

If you want an impactful CV that works, where all the publications are in the right place and correctly listed, why not take advantage of our free CV review?

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