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! Just follow the guidelines below on how to list publications on your CV.

Why it's important to list publications on a CV

It is not just academic, scientific, and medical CVs that warrant having publications. Whatever industry you're in, if your publications are relevant to the role you're applying for, then include them. They prove your expertise and knowledge in that particular field to a prospective employer, as well as demonstrating your analytical, research, and writing skills. 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.

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 publication 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, whether that's in a book, a trade journal, peer-reviewed papers, or online. You can also include accepted papers, which are articles that have been peer-reviewed but have not yet been put into print.

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

How to list publications on a CV

The key to this is consistency. 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.

The usual format for academic CVs is MLA Style, the Modern Language Association guidelines on citing research and how to reference a publication on a CV.

The best way to set this out is:

  • 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

If you have any publications that have been accepted but not yet published, put "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.

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 for. 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.

Where to put publications on a CV

Usually, the standard format for publications on a CV is to put them 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.

If you have room, and different types of publications, you can put each of them under separate headings such as Books, Book Chapters, Peer-Reviewed Articles, and Abstracts.

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.

One last look

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!

Example of how to include publications on a CV


* 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) 

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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