Press "Enter" to skip to content

Crafting a CV: Decisions, decisions...

My curriculum vitae - the Latin origin of "CV", a term so ubiquitous in academia and so rare outside (in the US) that it may serve as a shibboleth - slowly evolved out of a résumé that I began as an undergraduate. Trying to break out of the résumé mindset and accept that brevity required of a CV was a challenge. My one-page résumé - chock full of details and action verbs - was reduced to a paltry, unimpressive CV upon entering grad school. A lack of presentations and publications as an undergrad - items inappropriate for a résumé - were the cause. When I was reviewing my professors' CVs in a search for the optimal format for mine, I caught a case of CV-envy. While my CV isn't the dozens of pages of a mid-career academic, presenting and publishing grows a CV quickly. The question then becomes, "What is the best way to organize all that I am involved with?" The way that I organize my CV is as follows:

  • Background Information
    • Education: This includes my previous and in-progress degrees.
    • Research Interests: (some key terms to help orient the reader - I don't feel strongly about this and will hopefully remove the section in the next few years)
    • Professional Experience (the positions that I've held germane to my work in Statistics Education - right now there are some positions that will be dropped in the coming years as I (knock on wood) attain new positions)
  • Publications
    • Refereed Publications: This is arguably the most important section on one's CV, at least as a junior scholar. Arguments could be made for Education and Professional Experience being as important, but refereed publications are the currency of academia. This section should demonstrate that one can do academic research. Many CVs call the section Refereed Journal Articles, and I will likely change mine to that in due time. I make the distinction between a journal and other types of refereed publications particularly because of an article I wrote for the Statistics Teacher Network, an official newsletter of the ASA and NCTM. While it is a newsletter, it is refereed and its official status lends it credibility. It would be disingenuous to say that it is a 'journal,' though. Eventually, when I have more journal articles, I'll move the STN article to another section (maybe Other Refereed Publications). Update (2014-08-13): I thought I had carefully researched whether STN was peer-reviewed, but I can't find a source claiming that now. Therefore, I've moved the article to an "Other Publications" section on my CV. The sentiment about naming the section "Refereed Publications" still holds, just not in this case. (I think I may have made this judgement because the STN website says "Contact [the editor] ... to write or review articles.")
    • Conference Proceeding: This section contains all of the conference proceedings I have, whether or not they were peer-reviewed. I've been dissatisfied with the quality of peer-review at some conferences, and I don't wish to make the distinction between refereed and non-refereed proceedings. Some people choose to make the distinction, and that's fine. I've also read some articles that suggest that listing both conference proceedings and presentations is 'double-dipping,' but I suspect that is more true in fields where all conferences have proceedings. In Education, proceedings for a conference are not de rigueur and, even if a presentation does have an associated proceeding, because of the submission and presentation timeline, the proceeding can differ from the presentation in terms of content. The work represented by proceedings and presentations can be very similar, but they are distinct items each requiring their own effort. I don't consider this to be double-dipping, at least not in Education.
    • Manuscripts Under Review: This category is for manuscripts that are currently in the peer-review process. I do not list the journal that manuscripts have been submitted to because literally anybody can submit anything to any journal. However, I have been told that, particularly for job searchers, some people like to see the journals that one is targeting. Listing the journals that one is submitting to can be one way of indicating the type of work that the manuscript represents and can also demonstrate a junior scholar's understanding of the field. (That is, the journals one submits to suggest something about one's research and therefore one's field. The same work could be submitted to radically differing journals depending on how one identifies oneself and prioritizes journals.) This category serves as an indicator of one's future research potential, but is an imperfect indicator at best. I've had manuscripts never leave the peer-review process, and I'm sure that is similar for other researchers.
    • Manuscripts in Preparation: Like the above category, this section is to demonstrate one's potential for future research. This also gives an indication as to what types of work one is presently engaged in. Again, I've had manuscripts that never make it out of "in preparation" and this should not be used as a reliable indicator. There is also differing opinion as to when a manuscript should be included or whether to use such a section at all. I tend to include manuscripts that are far enough along in the process that I would feel comfortable sending them to a colleague with the disclaimer that it represents a rough draft and a work in progress.
  • Presentations: Throughout the presentation section, I believe that one should make the distinction between papers and posters when the conference makes the distinction (and omit when neither is appropriate).
    • National and International Presentations: Presentations are are an important medium for disseminating one's research, but less so than publications, hence they appear further down the CV. Likewise, international presentations are generally viewed as a better medium for dissemination than local presentations, and so local presentations are further down the CV. It is common for this CV section to be split into International Presentations and National Presentations, but I chose to combine them because, frankly, some presentations are hard to categorize. For example, the Joint Statistics Meetings is the annual conference held by the American Statistics Association and the Statistics Society of Canada (among others) and is typically held in the United States. However, when I went (for the first and so far only time) in 2013, JSM was held in Canada and I therefore had to travel internationally. That seems like an international conference to me. However, JSM is being held in the the US for 2014-2017, inclusive, and the website is hosted by ASA. That seems pretty national to me. Either way, this section is generally for the most visible, prestigious conferences. Some people have a section called Invited Presentations for presentations - at any level - that one was invited to present at (rather than contributing a presentation via the usual submission process). I may do this in the future.
    • State and Regional Presentations: Like the national/international distinction above, sometimes the state/regional distinction is difficult to make. I also chose to combine the two because they are more prestigious than local presentations, and I don't have pages of each of them. The way one chooses to organize presentations is rather flexible, and nearly any categorization scheme that seems reasonable is. Just keep in mind the goal of the CV: highlight your work and demonstrate your research trajectory. Conferences that are more highly regarded by members of your field should be closer to the top of your CV.
    • Local Presentations: This is a place for presentations that are at the local/institutional level. My college, for example, hosts an annual research symposium for graduate students. It's a reasonably popular event, and we can receive feedback from both students and faculty. While these are not particularly prestigious, they are still a demonstration of one's work.
    • Digital Presentations: This isn't a section that I've seen on other CVs, but it seemed like the most appropriate place for a poster that a colleague and I presented at eCOTS (the electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics). It's a well-organized, good conference, but it doesn't neatly fit into any of the above categories, so... it got its own. CVs are very flexible.
  • Teaching and Other Accomplishments
    • Software: This section currently lists the one R package I've written and is a statement about my familiarity with the language. This is not a section that I have seen on many CVs in Education, but is more common in other fields. I intend on retaining this section indefinitely while (hopefully) expanding it.
    • Courses Taught: It's a shame that teaching is valued so little relative to research that it appears several pages down in the CV, but that's the current state of academia (at least at R1 schools). I list the course names (but not course numbers because those are meaningless outside of one's institutional context) of each course I've taught, the level of the course (undergraduate/graduate), and the academic term(s) that the course was taught. Listing the terms has a dual purpose: it shows the trajectory of what I've taught and also indicates how many times a course was taught. I don't list an approximate number of students in each course, but this would not be an unreasonable addition if I were aiming for a teaching position.
    • Awards: This is a place for awards and fellowships. I've seen this labeled Awards and Fellowships, and I've also seen different tiers of awards for more senior academics.
    • Grants: This section houses successful, pending, and unsuccessful grants. A grant submission is a time-consuming endeavor and success is based in part on chance; therefore, even an unsuccessful grant is an indication of the type of work one does. Right now, I only have travel grants in this section. As I apply for more grants, that will be spun off into a Travel Grants section. Scholarships are not appropriate here. (Travel Grants differ from scholarships because they are typically associated with as specific aspect of a specific project, e.g. disseminating the findings of project X at conference Y and are related to one's work.) Some people may include a Scholarships section, but this would only be appropriate for extremely junior academics because they are generally not related to specific work nor are they as prestigious as fellowships and awards. (If they are prestigious, then including them in the awards section seems reasonable.)
  • Service, etc.
    • Service: This is a catch-all section for other activities and experiences which are related to one's professional life but don't fit neatly into Publications, Presentations, Teaching, etc. Examples of service include acting as a referee for journals, chairing sessions at conferences, organizing events, and generally doing more than just "showing up" to an event. As this list grows, it is often divided into sections like Refereeing ServiceNational Service, etc. The key thing is that the activities are germane to one's professional life; this is not a section for service such as charitable volunteering.
    • Professional Memberships: I think that this section is the least indicative of one's work, but it does help to position an academic within a field. The professional organizations one belongs to suggests who one's colleagues are, the journals one reads, the conferences one attends, etc. These are all important aspects of one's professional life. However, I can also understand omitting this section entirely.

This post was substantially longer than I had anticipated it being, but it is also far from exhaustive. There is not a single, best way to format or organize one's CV, but the choices one makes are not unimportant. Rather, our decisions reveal our priorities and values, at least to a small degree. In the spirit of transparency and also so that others may make better-informed decisions for their own CVs, I'll be posting the rationale behind decisions I make on my CV under the tag CV decisions. If you agree - or better yet, disagree - with my decisions, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! For what it's worth, the web version (slightly redacted contact information and no information on upcoming projects) is available here.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *