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What’s in your CV?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about work (of course) and how I got to where I am, and how happy I feel at this time compared to last year. Last year I was feeling so miserable and sorry for myself. I had a job interview back home, and that had me a little excited, but eventually it didn’t pan out. That did give me hope that there were some interested souls out there willing to pay attention to my training and find it somewhat valuable.

At this time last year, and for the next 4-5 months (yes, 4 to 5 months, almost non-stop), I’d be sending CVs and resumes to whoever gave me the light of day. I had been to a couple of turning-your-resume-into-a-CV and vice versa workshops in grad school and then the postdoc and I was lucky to have a couple of super awesome tweeps look over mine and say “bleh, this is crap! Fix it!!!”

I had things written in paragraphs, I was rarely using (short and sweet) bullet points to showcase my mad science skillz and I needed to make it punchier (to quote my grad school PI who adores using that word).

As soon as I started at my new job, I immediately got out my CV and started adding skills as I mastered them. I’m somewhat lazy, especially when it comes to updating certain things, like my Twitter Bio, this blog, or hell, even my CV. So today, I started looking through the CVs and resumes I’d tweaked (or started from scratch) in the last year, and finally found one of my most recent versions of the CV, dated June 25th, 2011, very soon after starting at my current position.

For whatever reason I started updating the thing (possibly a pre-New Year’s resolution), and all of a sudden I found myself updating every little section, as if I was ready to apply to a new position (no, I’m happy at work, though occasionally I would like to punch my boss, but that’s part of our relationship). This got me thinking that I love to swift through resumes and CVs and learn about other people’s talents and experiences, what was their first job? When did they start in science? What awards and grants they’ve had and for how long? Reading some of these things sometimes triggers old memories, which help me tweak my CV and add old, yet important career points.

I won’t post my CV for obvious reasons, but I wanted to mention the areas included in mine, and see if you have the same, or if you have more or less.

The categories in my CV are:

  1. Work Experience (which is newly added, for obvious reasons, though I feel like changing the name to something less lame. Ideas?)
  2. Education
  3. Languages
  4. Skills (which I divided in categories: computer and lab)
  5. Publications (I’m tempted to move it all the way to the back, like TT-hopefuls do)
  6. Research experience
  7. Seminars
  8. Posters
  9. Teaching experience
  10. Volunteering
  11. Book Chapters
  12. Continuing education
  13. Awards and Memberships

I think there’s a better way of shaping my CV. It contains a lot of areas that are important to me (like skills, research experience, teaching, etc), but I believe that there’s a more coherent way of arranging everything. As it stands right now, I feel like my stuff is all over the place. I used to have a shorter version of my CV (I know, a lot of people don’t like this as a CV is supposed to chronicle your every step in the education/training/work ladder). But for some jobs I trimmed it down to the bare academic bones, to avoid having someone look at over 7 pages of me, me and more me. It felt …. wrong, I don’t know. I love to talk about myself all the time, yet, 7 or 8 pages of me made me feel … awkward.

So dear reader, I ask you now, how do you arrange your CV? Where do you start it? High school, college, graduate/professional school? How do you organize your CV? If you’re a recruiter, what do you look at first? What do you simply overlook,or ignore? Any areas that I’m missing? Any clever name for the “work experience” category? I’d love to read your ideas?

And, since I had a lot of help trimming mine and making it easier on the eyes, feel free to send your resume or CV my way. I’d be more than happy to take a look and help in any way I can.

PS. If you’ve taken a course, or audited one after grad school, do you bother to include it? Only if it’s specifically related to your discipline or future job? If you do include it, did you create a separate section in your CV for it? If not, where do you include it/them?