Our books

Become a Fan

« Handling (sketchy) citation omissions? | Main | Best introductory textbooks in different areas? »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

don't do it

I think this looks tacky and a little desperate. The only reason to include anything on a c.v. or application letter is if you think it will increase your chances of a job. I have never seen a committee get down to the details of "what awards, honors, etc. have they turned down"? Obviously the thing one choose in order to turn down the other should be more impressive anyway.

SLAC chair

My thought is, if you're a good candidate, you'll have sufficient evidence of that with what you've done, or accepted, and indicating what you haven't done or accepted just seems silly to me.


In the UK and I think a number of other countries ability to acquire funding can be an important factor in hiring. If you can say "I applied for and landed X funding/fellowship, but turned it down for whatever reason" that demonstrates that you have experience and ability in acquiring funding. So it is absolutely worth including. Other things could be worth including on a case by case basis. E.g. if the "essential criteria" for a job asks for evidence of a growing international reputation then it might be worth including that you were "recently invited to give talks at NYU, Oxford, and ANU, but had to turn down these invitations due to maternity" or whatever. But it isn't something I'd include otherwise.

Don't do it

I'm at an R2. While I"m not suggesting my opinion is representative of all people in my department, I think it makes the applicant look like a pompous jerk.

Assistant Professor

I see a few reasons to put competitive awards for which you applied, won, but might have turned down, on a CV for a few reasons, at least if you are a job candidate. One is that it demonstrates you KNOW how to apply for funding. Increasingly university leadership (Dean/Provost level) want faculty to be seeking "extramural funding" even if philosophy departments don't care. So it shows that you know how to seek out, apply for, and secure external funding. All good things. If it is a national award it also demonstrates your competitiveness in a large pool. Finally, it shows that in the end, something even better came along leading you to not take the funding.

But invited talks, keynotes, etc. that you decline are different in kind. Maybe the invite was prestigious, but it doesn't do that other kind of demonstrative work that external grants/awards to in terms to saying more about you as a candidate and scholar. Also you probably turned it down for personal or scheduling reasons or lack of interest, not because of a better, competing, offer, so that is also further reason to not include. And getting another job offer is not something that belongs on a CV at all. I even find it odd when people clearly list job talks as "invited" talks on their CV (i.e. they have three talks with the same title at institutions with hiring lines that season all during the same fly-out months) because they aren't really invited in the true sense - they are part of the job candidacy process.

incoming grad student

I don't want to hijack this thread, but as an incoming graduate student, I was wondering about including declined fellowships on my CV. I have been accepted to both Oxford and Cambridge and have been awarded prestigious fellowships that would fully fund my studies, yet I will be taking up neither (I will be going to a different institution). While I have also received fellowships from other universities, they are not as prestigious as these two, so I was wondering whether it would make sense to include both as declined on my CV (omitting the other fellowships received)? I have heard some people be extremely critical of declined awards, while others readily do it, but I was wondering whether the prestige of the award makes a difference in this case?

Bill Vanderburgh

If you have just a few awards/grants, listing a large/prestigious grant you declined shows that you are (a) grant active and (b) competitive for those grants. But more than one "declined" would, I think, raise suspicions. And as soon as you have more than a handful of actual grants/awards, stop listing the declined ones.

Grants that come with admission to a particular grad school are contingent on going to that school. Just as you wouldn't list that you rejected an offer of a place from X school under "Education," you shouldn't list the corresponding scholarship under "Awards."

I have never, ever seen anyone list job offers they turned down in a CV or a cover letter. That would look very bad, I think. Likewise, if you were invited somewhere to give a talk or contribute a paper but declined the invitation, that means you did nothing, so don't list it.

anon tt

Bill Vanderburgh writes "I have never, ever seen anyone list job offers they turned down in a CV or a cover letter". Here is an example of this from a senior philosopher, listing six declined positions in all.


Mike Titelbaum

Just to concur with what’s above:
-Ability to land grants and prestigious fellowships is now important. I often see people list some of those that they’ve had to decline.
-That doesn’t include grad admissions fellowships. Don’t list those.
-Don’t list jobs you’ve declined.

A new one I haven’t seen mentioned above:
Some people—especially grad students—have listed things they were supposed to do in the past couple years that were cancelled due to COVID. Otherwise it can look like they were inactive for two years.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Job-market reporting thread

Current Job-Market Discussion Thread

Job ads crowdsourcing thread

Philosophers in Industry Directory