In Part 2 of the Cocoon's Job-Market Boot Camp, I wrote about how to put together a strong, competitive CV. What I'd like to do today is talk about the CV itself: how it should be formatted, organized, what should be included, what shouldn't be, etc.
When it comes to most of these issues, it is very hard to get clear evidence of "what works" and "what doesn't." Accordingly, I will base the suggestions I provide below the best evidence I have:
- Seemingly "consensus" views I've come across when talking about CVs with other people (other job candidates, placement directors, etc.), and
- My job-market experiences with my own CV.
If you think the suggestions I provide are incorrect, or that I've left important stuff out, please do feel free to say so!
Here, then, is what I think I've learned about writing/organizing a CV:
Formatting: Everyone I've ever talked to has advised against unnecessarily "flashy" CV formatting. The aim, I've been told, is not to have your CV's formatting stand out, but to the CV's content do the talking.
AOS: My understanding on what you should list as an AOS has always been a bit fuzzy, but I think the safest way to understand it is in terms of your area(s) of demonstrated research expertise. So, if you're a new PhD with no publications, the only area in which you have demonstrated research expertise is the area of your dissertation. Aside from that, my understanding is that you should only list other area(s) as an AOS if you have both (A) an actual publication record in the area, and (B) a reasonable claim to make that you will continue publishing in that area. In other words, you shouldn't list as an AOS things you merely "consider yourself an expert in." Aside from your dissertation area, you should only list as an AOS areas that someone looking at your CV would be likely to think to themselves, "Yes, this person has demonstrated the ability to publish in this area, and do it more than just a few times." (Am I off here?) In any case, I have heard many people say to beware of listing too many AOS, or AOS that are a "reach" (it may make you look self-deceived).
AOC: My understanding on AOC is even fuzzier, but the rule of thumb I've always been told is to list something as an AOC only if you plausibly have enough background in the area to teach an upper-level undergraduate seminar. For example, suppose you're a new graduate and do not have a research program in philosophy of science, but you took quite a few advanced philosophy of science courses in grad school (e.g. general philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of physics, etc.). Okay then, in that case one can make a plausible case for listing that as an AOC. You can probably also list something as an AOC if you've published a few articles in the area, but don't have a long-term research program (Note: it's not exactly clear to me how long one can lean on graduate coursework, though. If you graduated a half-dozen years ago and you've never done research in phil science since grad school, can/should you still list it as an AOC? I'm inclined to think not). Finally, I have also come across a great many people who have cautioned against listing too many AOC--the claim being that it can make a candidate look either self-deceived or desperate, or both.
Employment: Skip this is you're a new graduate (or ABD). However, if you have been academically employed, list all of your positions, and list whether they are tenure-track or non-tenure-track. Don't skip this, or try to obscure the real nature of your position by omitting potentially relevant details. I learned this the hard way. Although the position that I'd been in (until accepting a TT position this year) was non-tenure-track, I initially did not put this in my CV, as my official title was simply "Assistant Professor" (not Visiting Assistant Professor, or some such). I later learned that although I was just trying to be honest and list my official title, it confused some people. You don't want to confuse search-committee members or cause them to think you're trying to hide something!
Education: You should list your PhD year (or expected graduation date), as well as your dissertation title and dissertation committee members. I have also been advised that if you are a new graduate with few/no publications, it can be a very good idea to include a brief (several sentence at most) dissertation summary just below your dissertation title--the purpose being to "put your best foot forward", drawing the search committee members' to your awesome dissertation before they get to the fact that you don't have (any/many) publications yet.
General organization of the CV: I've heard from some people that after listing your AOS/AOC, education, you may want to organize your CV according to the job-type you're applying for--for instance, research first then teaching for research jobs, but the other way around for teaching jobs. I don't know anyone who has tried this, but I will say this: I always put my research first, have been a productive researcher, and it did not seem to harm my chances at all with teaching schools (the vast majority of my interviews over the past few years were at teaching schools, including a few community colleges).
Publications: My understanding is that it is best to clearly distinguish each type of publication in its own section. Peer-reviewed publications should be in their own section of your CV, non-peer-reviewed publications in their own section, book reviews in their own section (or at least clearly marked as book reviews), etc. You may of course list as "forthcoming" any articles that have been officially accepted, and you may list "conditional acceptances" as a publication (though this is kind of a grey area). Do not list articles in "revise-and-resubmit" under your publications (they're not published or forthcoming), and definitely do not list articles merely under review under your publications. Instead, see below...
Manuscripts under review: After your publications, it is generally a good idea to list articles presently under review at peer-reviewed journals. Do not bother listing where they are under review, unless they are in "revise-and-resubmit." Anyone can submit an article to the Journal of Philosophy or Philosophical Review. Since submitting an article to a great journal is not an accomplishment, listing that you've done so, as I understand it, looks awkward and a bit desperate. You may list list where you have a revise-and-resubmit, though, because that is an accomplishment (shoot, if I had an R-n-R at Phil Review, I'd list it in a heartbeat!).
Manuscripts in preparation: It may be a good idea to list substantially completed manuscripts, as this can be an indication of how productive you are. The important thing is not to exaggerate. You should only list papers for which, at minimum, you have a complete, decent draft. A general rule of thumb is: if a search committee asked for a copy of the paper, would you (A) have it on hand to send them immediately, and (B) not be embarrassed by its condition.
Conference and Invited Presentations: After your publications and manuscripts in preparation, it is standard practice to list your conference presentations. Because APA presentations are generally considered more prestigious (or so I hear) than other conferences, I suggest assigning them their own section of your CV (viz. "APA presentations"). Also, if you have had any invited presentations (e.g. job talks, etc.), those should be up front too.
Awards, Professional Service, Etc.: Generally speaking, it seems to be common practice to leave teaching stuff after any and all other categories. So, what other categories might come after listing presentations? Well, things like awards, professional service, etc. are good to list. If you've been a journal referee, list the journal(s) you refereed for as well as the year you were asked to do so.
Teaching: List all of the classes you have taught, including the institution and year you taught them. (Is there anything else people put here?)
Graduate Coursework: As I understand it, if you are a new grad/ABD student--especially one without much teaching experience--it may be helpful to list all of your graduate courses, their instructor(s), and the grades (?) you received. This will give the search committee a better idea of what you might be well-prepared to teach, and indeed, how broad your grad school preparation was.
Professional References: It is my understanding that if you are coming straight out of grad school, it is okay for your only letter-writers to be your grad school professors. However, the grad students I knew who did the best on the market almost always had outside letters (they were people very good at networking). This can be very helpful, I've heard, because search committees expect glowing letters from one's grad school professors (your professors, after all, generally have a vested interest in you getting a job). Thus, if you want to distinguish yourself, getting a reference-letter from a well-known person in the profession outside of your department can look really good. It's also good--or so I've heard--to have more than one teaching letter for teaching jobs (though I myself never had more than one). Finally, everyone I have ever spoken to with any experience in these matters has told me that the longer you've on the market, the more important it is to get outside letters by well-known people. My final year on the market (this year), I had eight letters total: three grad school professors, one by my current department chair, and four by well-known people in the profession. Although it is hard to tease out causal influences, I did see a clear trend: the more outside letters I got, the more interviews I got. I'll dedicate a future post to this very topic--how to get outside letter-writers--but for now let me say this. You want to make sure that all of your letters are good and up-to-date. Ask your letter writers if they could write a positive letter supporting your candidacy, and see what they have to say. I have never once had someone be dishonest with me--and yes, I have had someone tell me that they could only write a lukewarm letter.
Am I off on anything? Did I leave anything out? I'd love to hear from job candidates and search committee members what their experiences have been. Fire away!