Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I *Heart* My CV

There is no better way to remind yourself how much ass you kick than to look at your consistently-updated curriculum vitae. I figure it's in my best interest to bring it with me for the interviews this weekend, so I pulled it up on my nifty little Macbook. 

It's so pretty. And not in a fluffy, over-done way. It's pretty in that it's extremely well-organized, easy to read, with nice, neat, bulleted black text and burgundy headings. I love it. I'm damn stinkin' proud of it. 

I hate resumes. I hate making them and I hate updating them. I hate that you have to try to keep all of your relevant work experience to a single page, and to somehow very briefly describe all of your work responsibilities for a position. Then you have to go back and edit it depending on the job you're applying for. It sucks. I hate it. 

But the CV is beautiful. You make one, and then you just have to go back and add stuff to it. I like the categories, the simple format, the LOGIC of a CV. And an academic/research job is an academic/research job. Period. You don't really have to change anything before submitting in order to "tailor" it to that specific position. 

I love that it includes an awards/honors section. I love that it separates things into type of experience so you don't necessarily have to try to sum up every important thing you did during that time. For example, "Research Experience" is exactly what it says. For a potential grad student, you just need to briefly list your duties. Eg., complex coding, method design, data analysis and graphing, etc. And if you did something really cool during that research that was presented or published - guess what! It goes under a separate category - "Publications/Presentations." And for that category, all you need is the title (appropriately formatted), and the journal or conference it was submitted to. 

And as I move on in my academic career, the CV will change in logical ways. "Research Experience" will be replaced by "Publications." "Teaching Experience" will be replaced by "Positions Held." My high school education will be deleted, as will my associate's degree. My gpas will also eventually be deleted, but I get to keep Summa Cum Laude on there for-EVER. 

A resume always feels like it's bullshit fluff. But a CV is a record of your accomplishments and recognition. It's straightforward. It's logical. It's confidence-boosting. 

As a potential grad student, the more relevant categories + lines you have, the better you feel. Mine is 3 full pages, withOUT fluff. As a full-on academic, the fewer categories + more lines you have, the better you feel. 

I just love it because it makes sense. :)


Comrade Physioprof said...

It's pretty in that it's extremely well-organized, easy to read, with nice, neat, bulleted black text and burgundy headings.

I hate to be a pain in the ass, but an academic CV should not have bulleted lists or burgundy headings.

Eugenie said...

I love sending out my CV with applications partially because it helps me remember that I'm not a total sh*thead.... (or convince myself that I am indeed an impostor... depends on the day)

However, I've got to mix up my presentation titles... it's getting a little redundant..

JLK said...

"I hate to be a pain in the ass, but..."

Too late, CPP. If I showed it to you, you would understand. Every Prof I showed it to loved it. So :P

@Eugenie - I hear ya. But I feel like more often I get the "not a total shithead" effect. It's a good mood-booster.

scatterplot said...

JLK, I don't know what your profs have been telling you, any aesthetic benefit gained from using bullets and burgundy headings is surely outweighed by the viscerally negative reaction the vast majority of academics have to non-black lettering and bullet points. And, with all due respect, I can't imagine a truly fluff-free CV that is 3 pages long but includes no publications. The time to expunge any information about high school is the moment you earn your bachelor's.

JLK said...

First of all, Scatterplot, why do you assume I have no publications? In fact I have several.

The ONLY thing on my entire CV that is related to high school is the name of the high school I went to.

I'm 26 years old - why would I put anything on my CV with respect to things I did a decade ago? That has absolutely nothing to do with who I am now.

Eugenie said...

@ Scatterplot

As a current undergrad, my CV is 2 pages without any fluff (it includes a publication and presentations). The only mention to high school related items is the name of my high school and when I graduated. (I actually think my CV is a litte too bare-bones)

I don't doubt JLK in saying she's got 3 fluff-free CV, espcically since she's got years worth of experience over me.

JLK said...

Thanks for backing me up, Eugenie.

I don't understand why people have a tendency to assume that undergrads haven't accomplished anything. Higher-level academics also seem to forget that when you're a potential grad student, you are told to include any and all relevant experience on your CV that occured during your undergrad years.

For example, my current job that I've had for over 3 years requires me to design and give presentations to medium-large size groups on average about 12 times a year in an academic setting. You're damn right that's included on my CV, because it's highly relevant to my goals.

No, our CVs won't look the same once we're upper-level grad students and professionals in our field. But right now our CVs need to show potential advisors the things we've done so far as adults that demonstrate the skills we're coming in with.

Does my CV say that I've been certified in all Microsoft Office programs because of my job? No. But it does list all publications I co-authored, the psych labs I RA'd in, the merit scholarships and awards I received, and the psych-related professional societies of which I am a member.

And just for the record, burgundy is almost black. Notice I didn't say "red." When printed in greyscale it provides a beautiful but subtle contrast. When printed in color it highlights and unifies the organization of the document.

And dammit, any person who would reject my application because I used color on my CV is no one I want to work with anyway. It's not like the damn thing was done in a script font.

JaneB said...

C.V.s are great, I like working in a system where we don't deal with resumes at all!

But I have to back up PP on this - bulleted lists and subtle colour contrasts don't go down great with academics. The content matters MOST, of course, and the pretties don't matter much, but when there's 100 great candidates for an academic post or programme and somehow the list has to be screened to 5, pretties don't help. It's a kind of inverted snobbery, I think - we AREN'T artists so THERE! - but it's real and persistent. Fancy front pages for essays, using subtle colour contrasts or beautiful desk top publishing tricks, are actually seen as unnecessary and possibly concealing weakness in content (at least among the scientists I know). Your field and school may be different, and I'm sure you have a kick-ass c.v. - mine was also about 4 pages long by 26, without fluff, that's the POINT of a C.V. as you write in this post. But... it is so competitive at times in science, any little trivial thing might matter enough...

Comrade Physioprof said...

And just for the record, burgundy is almost black. Notice I didn't say "red." When printed in greyscale it provides a beautiful but subtle contrast. When printed in color it highlights and unifies the organization of the document.

Do this with typefaces: a nice humanist sans for the headings--I really like Myriad or Syntax--and a bog-standard serif for the entries--Times New Roman or Georgia are unobjectionable. (Yes, I know those are overused and uninspiring serifs, but you do *not* want your choice of typeface to stand out. You just want the fucking thing to be easy to read.)

JLK said...

Where is Psych Post Doc? She can answer about the psych field.

I remember reading in either my "Getting In" book or "The Complete Guide to Graduate Admissions in Psychology" (both are field-specific) that as a potential grad student in psych it's okay to make your CV a little unique as long as you don't go overboard. Supposedly it shows attention to detail.

They tell you specifically NOT to use a generic template that you either found on the internet or got from a professor - a professor's CV looks a LOT different from a grad student's or an undergrad's. The book acknowledged that the CV will need to be changed as you move on in your career, but that right now standing out is a good thing.

Who knows? Maybe you guys are right, I should not have followed the advice in the books, and SFRSHS program rejected me because of burgundy fonts and bullets.

But because I'm enjoying arguing about this and it's an important topic (one I scoured the internet for months trying to find answers about), I'm going to keep arguing for my side:


No, the above link does not say anything about using color, but if you'll notice it says multiple times "A bulleted (or numbered) list works best."

JLK said...

My font is Bell MT. I don't know if it's specifically a Mac font, but it comes up through my MS Word program. I *heart* the font too, but if you can see what it looks like and think it's stupid, let me know.

Grrrr.....I'm really resisting any change right now....

Shouldn't the CV I bring this weekend be the same (with updates) CV I sent with my application packet?

Anonymous said...

I am really curious to see your CV template now! Good luck with your CV (whatever your goal is).

Anonymous said...

JLK "Shouldn't the CV I bring this weekend be the same (with updates) CV I sent with my application packet?"
Yes, don't confuse them. Take the updated version you sent them.

You need to hang up your CV so you can stare at it and have a HAPPEE

Good luck on your visit!!

Psych Post Doc said...

Aw..calling me out are you??

I have never seen a CV with color so I can't picture it. I can't imagine anyone would really care and also... I can almost guarantee that none of the reviewers saw it in color because the grad admin makes copies for everyone and keeps the originals (sorry to break it to you JLK).

I think bulletted lists are fine in their place. I had one with my research interests for a while. I've seen it for grad school applicants who listed relevant course work.

I like updating my CV and I too had about a 3 page CV when I started grad school without fluff. It's totally possible, especially if you work as an RA for a few years.

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