Publications show you have advanced knowledge and engagement in your field. But it can be hard to know how to organize these details on your resume or CV, especially if they include various co-authors, lengthy article titles, or endless URL addresses. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you set up this section.
Develop a Master Publications List
The first step is to draft a complete overview of publications you’ve written or co-written to date. By gathering this list (and updating it as needed), you’ll be able to more quickly produce an effective Publications section for any current or future job application.
You’ll have to follow a consistent citation style to keep a clear, organized master publications list. Here’s an overview of common citation styles and the academic/professional areas where they generally apply:
- American Psychological Association (APA): academic and scientific research
- Chicago Manual of Style: journalism and publishing
- Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE): science and technology
- Modern Language Association (MLA): humanities
Determine if your field requires you to use a particular style convention (more likely if you work in science or academia). When in doubt, go with MLA.
Use Word’s Bibliography Tool
If you’re one of the many who find citation guidelines tedious, here’s some good news: Microsoft Word has a built-in citation tool that lets you draft your publications quickly and consistently. You’ll find it on the “References” tab; look for the “Citations & Bibliography” section of ribbon commands, then follow these five steps:
1. Click the “Style” dropdown menu and choose the citation style you’d like to use (see above).
2. Click the “Manage Sources” command, and in the pop-up menu that appears, click “New…” to open the “Create Source” form.
3. Choose your publication category at the top (Book, Book Section, Journal Article) and enter details such as the Title, Year, and Publisher.
4. Click “OK” and then “New…” again as needed to enter your other publications.
5. When you’re finished entering details for each item, click the “Bibliography” ribbon command to generate your full publications list, auto formatted in your chosen style.
It may take you a few minutes to get the hang of this feature, but once you do, you’ll be able to more quickly and easily add to your publications list going forward. (See Word’s designated help page for more details.)
Choose Relevant Publications for Your Job Search
After setting up a master publications list, you can use it as the basis for your Publications section. Simply review the list and copy any relevant items into your latest resume or CV.
Leave out any publications that don’t pertain to your current job search unless they include dates that help account for a gap in your career history. Assuming you don’t use every item on your list, you should name the resulting resume or CV section “Select Publications” or “Publication Highlights” for accuracy.
The citation style you choose in Word may order your publications alphabetically. Consider re-ordering them by date on your resume or CV to better correspond with your Experience section. But if you only have a few publications to include, you can omit dates and put the items in order of relevance to your target job.
Finally, under each citation you choose to include, feel free to add more details or a brief description of the subject matter. (This can be especially useful if the title of the publication is somehow vague or misleading.)
Streamline Your Publications on a Resume
If you have many relevant publications and you’re drafting a CV, you can include them all since readers of a CV expect to see the full scope of your background. However, if you’re preparing a resume, take a more streamlined approach to make it easy for hiring managers to quickly scan your top publications and look up any they’d like to know more about. To that end, consider these three options:
1. Pare back to your top five items
This keeps your Publications section to a reasonable length that won’t overwhelm your work experience or education details.
2. Plug in the URL
If you have the URL to a publication’s full text or citation online, include the link at the end of its entry. Adding the URL lets you remove other citation details that hiring managers would need to find an article, such as volume, issue, or page numbers. For a long URL, you can enter the word Link as your hyperlink to the web page.
3. Categorize by role
For publications where you were one of multiple authors, you can omit the names of your colleagues without taking undue credit. Just divide your publications into “Author” and “Co-Author” categories, as in the following APA-style example:
Journal Article Title. (Year). Journal Name.
Journal Article Title. (Year). Journal Name.