How to write a Physics, Astrophysics or Space Science CV

This is an example of a high quality science CV for graduates. All the course modules are included, also laboratory experience gained on your degree course and course projects. If you were applying for jobs outside science (e.g. banking) you would probably omit most of your modules (except those including mathematical or computing skills) and laboratory experience. Also see our Physics Careers page, Science Placement Covering Letter and Science Vacation Placement Covering Letter

 

Marie Curie     


22 Temple Road, Folkestone, Kent CT17 3YU

Email: mc888@kent.ac.uk Mobile: 0339005678 Tel: 0167534768

CAREER OBJECTIVE:

To enter a graduate training programme in science or engineering, preferably in the defence sector where my creative initiative, ideas and a genuine enthusiasm would allow me to progress.

I am a recent graduate who combined studies with working and other commitments. In achieving this, I have shown myself to be self-motivated, committed and determined in achieving my goals, come what may. I have also demonstrated negotiating and organising skills, a firm sense of responsibility and my capacity to work hard under pressure. I possess excellent verbal and written communication skills and am able to relate to a wide range of people, as proven by my varied work experiences: in retail, catering, hospitality work and teaching

 

A large font size for the name makes it stand out and easier to find in a pile of CVs

 

Use a sensible email address. Something like RavingLoony@hotmilk.com may not make the best impression!

A profile or career objective isn't essential as much of this information would be included in a covering letter. It can be a useful summary particularly if you are sending your CV to recruitment agencies where a letter may become detached. You can also call this a career aim, profile or personal statement.

EDUCATION:

2010-2013 THE UNIVERSITY OF KENT

BSc. (Hons.) Physics with Space Science and Systems

   
1st Year subjects
  • Astrophysics & space science 71%
  • Atomic & nuclear physics 63%
  • Physics problem solving 80%
  • Mathematical techniques & differential equations 66%  
  • Medical physics  61% 
  • Optics & maxwell equations 63% 
2nd Year
  • Quantum mechanics 71%
  • Electro-magnetism & lasers 67%
  • The multi-wavelength universe & exoplanets 53%
  • Spacecraft design & operations 75%
  • Multimedia for astronomy 58%
  • Solid state physics 59%
  • Relativity 72% 
3rd Year
  • Thermal & statistical physics
  • Image processing (using MATLAB)        
  • Stars, galaxies & the Universe
  • Space astronomy & solar system science
  • Atomic & nuclear physics
  • Elementary particles, wave mechanics & quantum physics

Practical skills gained during my degree

Lab work was part of each year’s modules and gave me the experience of work with others in my degree group, learning hands on in many cases, the properties of metal, magnetic fields, electric fields and the electromagnetic spectrum, most notably light. I learned how to carry out experiments with accuracy, analyse the results and draw conclusions.

I learnt new mathematical techniques in order to solve real-world physical problems, e.g. calculus in order to solve quantum mechanical, thermal and statistical problems.

 

The use of tables to list modules looks smart, suggests an organised person, and makes the CV easier to read. You can add your module marks here if they are good!

 

Modules and practical skills are listed as every science course is slightly different.

 

If you were going for a non-science job (e.g. banking, you could leave these out.

Final year individual project

Hypervelocity meteor impacts and their effects on Earth. This utilised independent research skills, reading demanding texts, computer programming, problem solving and math skills. Setting objectives and deadlines was necessary due to time constraints. My project findings were defended during a presentation in a research conference style talk. Some of our findings were deemed appropriate for publication in an academic paper.

Final year group project

I was the team leader with four colleagues. We hosted a discussion at the University of Kent for A-level students and teachers to give their views on ideas for refreshing physics. This required a 30 minute presentation of complex information in a clear and concise manner. This gave me valuable experience in group presentation techniques, and to manage my time effectively. I learnt to work as part of a team, communicate ideas and difficult concepts effectively, write a report and to work to deadlines.  
I achieved over 70% in both of these projects.

2003-2010 Folkestone High School

A-levels: Physics A, Chemistry C, Mathematics C

GCSEs: 8 including Maths and English at grades A to C

 

Projects are very important if you are going for research work as they are the nearest thing you will have done to real science work. You could sell the skills you had gained here:

     

Page 2

   
     

WORK EXPERIENCE:

July 2012 - Dining Hall Assistant in Darwin College,  University of Kent

Duties involved meeting and greeting of guests, plus dealing with any of their enquiries.

Summer 2011 Next Retail (Sales Assistant)

The job entailed working in the busy sale, taking deliveries, stock control and dealing with customers with high quality customer care.

July 2010-September 2010 Tesco (Shop Assistant)

Duties involved taking orders and providing courteous and prompt customer service. I built a strong positive relationship with customers and staff. This has been excellent in helping me to work as part of a team, as well as dealing with pressure during busy periods.

September 2008-February 2010 Sales Adviser in the Cookware Department, BHS.

Duties involved stock taking, ordering of relevant stock from warehouse, arranging stock, displaying sales items, customer assistance and advice, arranging special orders and deliveries, as well as answering telephone enquiries. I was also responsible for my own particular sections of the department and had to ensure they met with the approval of my department store managers.

Other jobs have also included: waiter and assisting in teaching infants at a Primary School.

 

Fonts are largely down to personal preference, but choose something clear and easy to read. My own preference is for the "Sans" fonts. Lucida Sans or Verdana in 10 points for the body text is a good choice (don't use Comic Sans!). This CV is set in Verdana. Subheadings such as Education and Work Experience can be slightly larger: say 12 or 14 points.

Although these are not science jobs, transferable skills are mentioned here. For example, people skills, teamworking skills, communication skills - all valuable evidence that you could employ these in a science setting. This is a good place to use Action Verbs

If you have done a lot of jobs, you can summarise the more routine jobs, rather than filling your CV with lots of irrelevant information.

All of my work experiences have involved working within a team-based culture. This involved planning, organisation, co-ordination and commitment e.g., in retail, this ensured daily sales targets were met, a fair distribution of tasks and effective communication amongst all staff members.

  A nice summary of skills obtained via work experience,

SKILLS:

   
Teamwork I have successfully undertaken various team projects within both academic and non-academic environments.
Communication I was a member of the editorial team for a school science newspaper. As a sales adviser at BHS, I had to demonstrate knowledge of the different types of items sold and their uses, to be able to respond effectively to customer queries. My degree course greatly enhanced my written and verbal communication skills due to the many presentations, essays and projects required.
Problem solving

I scored 94% in the final examination for the Problem Solving Module. This involved the solving of complex problems and required mathematical analysis and evaluation plus the application of knowledge.

Computer skills

Computing Skills I have a high degree of computer literacy with excellent skills using Microsoft Office, particularly Excel and Access. I have done a basic Fortran 90 programming course in my first year and also learned to use AIP4WIN, and MATLAB during my course. I also build and upgrade my own computers.

 

Again more evidence of relevant skills, focusing on some of the core competencies needed in science jobs

 

 

IT skills are important to mention: be specific about which programs you have used.

INTERESTS:

  • I took part in a scheme to build and fly an amateur rocket in the National Amateur Rocket Association's competition. I was head of the aerodynamics section of this project.
  • Army Cadet Force. I particularly enjoyed this role and learnt a lot about myself and the important things in life.  I used my analytical problem solving skills in practical situations under extreme pressure.  I learnt about self discipline, integrity, drive and determination, and the ability to persevere under pressure. 
  • I play the guitar in a band currently performing in the local area. This hobby requires a great amount of planning, teamwork and determination. This culminated in our winning Battle of the Bands.
  • I enjoy playing paint ball which requires coordination, planning and communication skills.

REFEREES:

 

Try to show a broad variety of interests and focus more on social and active rather than solitary and passive interests. Serious commitment to at least one activity can be viewed favourably, as will evidence of getting on well with other people e.g. in team sports. Independent or challenging holidays or foreign travel can also look good.

Again, sell your transferable skills here: evidence of leadership, responsibility, and communicating.

Dr. William Bragg
School of Physical Sciences
University of Kent   
Kent CT2 7NJ
wb999@kent.ac.uk

Debbie Hackett, Manager
BHS
High Street
Folkestone CT17 5RU
dh@hotmilk.com
  Normally you would give one academic referee (tutor or project supervisor) and one employment referee. See our references page

Further Help

 

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