I am filing an academic CV forms and there's a question asking "Employment History – principal positions since the Bachelor’s degree"?

What does "Principal Position" means here? Does it need to be a full-time job? For example, does a teaching assistant position during PhD count? Thanks!

I've google "principal position+resume" and cannot find answer. The only thing I can get is Principal of a School, Elementary Principal etc which is not close to my questions here.

  • What is the ‘ta’ tag supposed to mean? Teacher Assistant?
    – BSMP
    Aug 21, 2021 at 6:34
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is mostly an English language question, not a Workplace one (particularly given the principal/principle confusion). Aug 21, 2021 at 7:25
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    @ Philip Kendall Please do not close this question. I have tried to google and cannot find any answer so I'd like to get some help here. I even google "Principle position+meaning" but in vain. The only thing I can find is the Principle of the school etc. If you happen to know what's principle position, maybe you can provide your thoughts?
    – Ying
    Aug 21, 2021 at 7:33
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    @Ying that's because you are confusing "principal" and "principle", which is why this is a question for one of the English Language SEs. Aug 21, 2021 at 8:02
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    I'm guessing "principal" just means "main" or "significant", and they want a brief, high-level employment history without every little detail.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 24, 2021 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


"Principal positions" are those that you were full time or employed as the main teacher, not as a TA for example. This means you were responsible for the material, delivery and structure of assessments.

You may have been better posting this on the Academic Stack however.

  • Thanks for your answer and suggestion on better place to raise this question
    – Ying
    Aug 21, 2021 at 8:02
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    Worth noting that it's probably 'Principal' not 'Principle'.
    – jcm
    Aug 21, 2021 at 22:13
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    I am not sure this answer is correct. “Principal position” has no standard meaning in academia, so it would depend on the context. To my ears it sounds like the form was written by a non-native English speaker, and I would not assume what they could have meant without asking them or additional contextual hints.
    – Dan Romik
    Aug 21, 2021 at 22:59
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    @SolarMike correctness is not a subjective matter. The answer may be correct or it may be incorrect, but there is no such thing as “correct for me”. And OP accepted your answer, which means it “worked for them personally”, not that it is “correct for them”. Anyway, my earlier comment was meant to caution OP and other readers that your answer may not actually be correct in the sense of explaining what the form they need to fill is actually asking about.
    – Dan Romik
    Aug 22, 2021 at 6:16
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    @SolarMike I don’t really get what you’re saying here, sorry. To be clear, I think your answer is incorrect. It’s only the answer that needs correcting, not the question, which strikes me as a perfectly valid and reasonable question.
    – Dan Romik
    Aug 22, 2021 at 6:28

The simple answer is for you to share positions in which you were the primary or the authority or the one making the decisions or managing the project or team. Principal as in first, on top, in charge, accountable to all, the boss, the task master, the creator.

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