The final section of my CV highlights my service activities. Service activities take place at various levels of organization, both within your institution and outside of it. If we start with external service, this might include serving as a reviewer for grant applications (e.g. NSERC, CIHR, grants from other countries), serving as an external examiner on M.Sc. or Ph.D. defenses, and reviewing manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. You may be chairing sessions at academic conferences, serving as an executive member of a professional society, judging student awards at conferences, and organizing scientific conferences. All of these roles are contributions to your profession. You may also be involved in community or campus events such as judging school science fairs or serving as a guest speaker and performing outreach by representing your science to a broader audience. Within your institution you may be taking part in many service activities. For example, I sit on several university-level committees such as the Biohazard Safety Committee and the Women in Science Committee. In the past I’ve served as the president of a post-doctoral association and the graduate student association. You may be performing service within your Faculty by attending convocations, meet and greets, and student recruitment events. When you are starting your academic career you will likely perform most of your service within your department. This might include organizing the departmental seminar series, sitting on hiring committees, and serving as a departmental representative at various events on campus. It is often through service activities that we gain important “soft skills” that are applicable to a wide variety of careers.
The next section of my CV describes my teaching experience. When I was in graduate school my teaching experience consisted of teaching assistant and course marker assignments and several workshops that I had presented. My current CV lists the undergraduate and graduate courses I’ve taught at my current institution (e.g. academic year, course code and title, and the enrollment). I also list my contributions to other courses; as an example I’ve served as a guest lecturer in colleagues’ courses several times. If you are a graduate student an excellent way to get teaching experience is to ask a professor in your department whether they would be open to you delivering a lecture in one of the classes that they teach. I also list any independent study courses and undergraduate thesis students that I’ve supervised and mentored in this section as well as research assistants and volunteers that I’ve taught in my lab. I have a sub-section called “Other Teaching Experience” where I list workshops that I’ve prepared and delivered on a variety of academic topics.
In my next blog post I’ll discuss the section of my CV that deals with professional activities, membership, and service.
The Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV): Scholarship and research section: Training of Highly Qualified Personnel
The next section of my CV details the trainees that I have advised during my research career. If you are a graduate student or post-doc you may have served as a mentor or research supervisor to other students in the lab. It’s best to discuss your responsibilities and impressions of these duties with your principal investigator before listing anything on your CV. As a new faculty member I’ve supervised several undergraduate students, either as 4th year thesis students or volunteers, and several graduate students in my lab. I devote one table to talking about these trainees and use the following columns: Name of the Student, Type of HQP Training and Status (e.g. M.Sc.), Dates Supervised (e.g. Sept. 2011-April 2012), Title of Project or Thesis, and Present Position (e.g. student graduated and went on to do a Ph.D. at UBC).
In addition to training my own students, I contribute to the training of other students in my department by reading theses and sitting on thesis advisory committees. I capture this information in two tables; one for committee work that I have completed, and one for committee work that is currently in progress. I do this under two separate headers; one for graduate student committees and one for undergraduate committees. The columns in these tables are: Term (May 2010-May 2013), Student, Supervisor, My Role.
In my next post I’ll talk about how I list my teaching experience on my CV.
The next 2 sections of my CV serve to highlight the scientific presentations that I’ve given during my career. The first section is entitled “Invited Seminars”. This section includes research talks that I have given as an invited seminar speaker at other institutions and invited plenary talks at conferences. The second section is entitled “Conference Presentations” and is broken down into 2 subsections: oral and poster presentations. Under the oral presentation header I list all of the talks that I have given at scientific conferences during my career. Now that I run my own research group I also list presentations that my trainees have delivered. In this section I use an asterisk (*) behind the name of the person who delivered the presentation and underline the names of my trainees. Under the poster presentation header I list the poster presentations that I have delivered as well as those given by my students. During my career I have also led workshops or participated in panel discussions that are unrelated to the scientific research that I do. I list these presentations later on in my CV when I talk about my teaching experiences.
My CV contains a section for awards that is separate from my funding section. If I’ve held a scholarship, grant, or fellowship I put it in my funding section. My awards section contains achievements that have been recognized by my former departments and by professional societies. For example, I have previously won several conference presentation awards for talks or posters delivered at annual society meetings. I also won some graduate level awards that were offered by my department and graduate faculty. Once you’ve started graduate school I recommend removing high school awards, but it’s great to list any awards that you received as an undergraduate student. Some examples would include awards for best undergraduate thesis, recognition of extracurricular activities, etc. If you are early in your scientific career it may make more sense to have a single “Grants and Awards” section in your CV and list all scholarships, fellowships, grants, and awards together. Remember that a CV is a personalized document and that you should feel free to organize it in a way that puts your best foot forward.
The next section that appears on my CV is funding. If you are a faculty member you may have one or more grants that can be entered into this section. If you are a graduate student this is the place to put scholarships or fellowships. On my CV I present this information in tables because I think it is a clean and efficient way to convey this information. In my tables I have columns labelled: award and source, term, title, total value, and notes. In the award and source column I state the name of the grant and the agency providing the funding (e.g. NSERC Research Tools and Instruments). The term of the award either describes when it was awarded (e.g. December 2012) or the duration of the award (e.g. April 2010-March 2015). In the title column I list the name of the project funded (e.g. Laminar flow hood for laboratory). The total value is given in the next column (e.g. $50,000). I use the notes column for additional information that I think is important to include. As an example I hold several grants as part of a group or on which I was a co-applicant; I include this information in the notes column.
Within the funding section of my CV I have various subheadings. I have one entitled “Grants in Support of Research at Wilfrid Laurier University” where I list my current and past grants that support my scientific research. I have a category called “Grants in support of research at Wilfrid Laurier University currently applied for” where I list all of the grant applications that I have out for review. My “Grants in support of research personnel” subsection describes awards that have supported my undergraduate and graduate students. I have a table called “Grants in support of travel to scientific meetings” where I describe my travel awards. My final table covers scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries that I held before starting my job as a faculty member. When you are first starting out in science you will not have a lot of grants and it will make more sense to pool these together in one table. As you progress in your career you will likely have more funding sources and can expand to the use of categories that make sense to you.
If you are applying for a position that is research focused this section will be the most important one on your CV and should therefore follow immediately after the personal information, employment history, and education and training sections. If you are applying to a position where teaching will be the focus, move the research section further down in your CV.
The first thing to list in your scholarship and research section is peer-reviewed (refereed) journal articles. These publications are how research productivity and impact are measured. You might have several categories for these articles including published papers (e.g. articles that have been published online or in print by the journal), papers accepted and in press (e.g. articles accepted by the journal that are in production for publication), and papers under review (e.g. articles that you have submitted to a journal that are under consideration for publication). I sometimes see a category called “manuscripts in preparation” on CVs and I personally don’t like this category. When I see this on a CV I have no way of knowing what stage the publication is at and therefore cannot fully evaluate it. You may be submitting it next week or it might be an idea for a project that you haven’t even started yet: I have no way of knowing that. I often think that this is a way for people to pad their CV and it’s a warning sign for me. If you are going to include items in this category then list the authors, the title, the journal you intend to submit to, and the date of anticipated submission. Those details will make me more likely to believe that you have an actual manuscript in preparation. Pick a citation format for listing your publications that is commonly used in your field of research and use it consistently throughout your CV.
When you are starting out in your research career you may have contributed to a book. For example, I have been invited several times to author book chapters on various topics. I list these in a category called “Invited Book Chapters” and provide the details. It is important to note whether the book has been published, is in press, or to provide a date that the chapter was accepted for publication. In book citations you must remember that the format is different than journal articles and that the names of editors are included.
If your research has practical applications you may have contributed to other forms of publications such as policy development, handbooks, guides, etc. Make sure that you capture these publications in an “Other publications” section. You may also want to include an “Intellectual Property” section in order to include any patents that you may hold.
In my next post I’ll address how to list research funding.
After listing your personal information, the next sections of a CV are the employment history and education and training sections. When I was a student and a post-doc I didn’t have professional employment other than being a teaching assistant so I only had an education and training section on my CV at that time. Since being hired as a tenure-track faculty member I now include an employment history section on my CV. The order and content of these sections will depend on your professional experience.
On my CV I’ve listed my employment history first. This will include any academic appointments that you have held (e.g. Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Course Instructor, etc.) and should include any adjunct appointments that you hold (e.g. I’m an adjunct member of the graduate faculty at a nearby institution). In addition to the position title you will also want to list the date that you started each position and when the employment ended. If you still hold the position just list the date that you started with a dash (e.g. 2010-) or list the start date and indicate that you still hold the position (e.g. 2010-present).
In the education and training section you want to list your academic pedigree. List your most recent training first. On my CV I first list my two post-doc appointments, then my Ph.D., then my M.Sc., and finally my B.Sc. degree. Once you have entered graduate school I would suggest dropping your high school achievements off of your CV. For each training or educational opportunity that you put on your CV you should list the dates of the training (e.g. 2008-2010), the title of the training period or degree (e.g. Ph.D. in Molecular Biology), the department (e.g. Biology), the institution (e.g. University of Toronto), the city (e.g. Toronto), the province (e.g. Ontario), and the country (e.g. Canada). Listing the country where the degree or training took place is especially important if you are submitting your CV for an international position. Next you should list the name of your research supervisor and the title of your research project or thesis.
Including this information up front on your CV allows the job search committee to get a quick idea of your career stage and academic and employment history.
In my next post I’ll talk about the scholarship and research section.
The first section that will appear in your academic CV will be the Personal Information section. The goal of this section is to make it easy for the interviewers to contact you. My CV only lists 2 pieces of information in this section: address and citizenship.
The address that you list here will be your professional address assuming that you have an affiliation with an institution of some kind (e.g. university, hospital, or research institute). You should list the department, the institution, building, room, city, postal code, and country. If a colleague was going to mail or ship you some samples, where would you have them sent? This is the address to use. If you are between jobs then list your permanent address here.
Below your address you need to indicate how employers can contact you by phone or email. Think carefully about what phone number(s) to include. Many scientists have a cell phone and use that as their contact number. If you are going to list your cell phone number as a contact number be sure that: a) your voice mail message is professional and b) that you answer your cell phone in a professional manner. Other options for phone numbers include a home land line (if you still have one) or a laboratory phone number (if your lab mates can be counted on to be professional when answering the phone and reliably pass along messages).
In terms of your email address, use an institutional email address or one from a free provider such as Google (e.g. gmail). Be sure that your email address is professional; email@example.com will probably not send the message that you want to convey.
I now include my citizenship on my CV as many academic job ads and grant applications in Canada state that being a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident is preferred. Including this information on my CV directly addresses this question.
I have sat on a few academic hiring committees and have seen some mistakes made by candidates in this section. When applying for academic jobs in Canada DO NOT include the following information:
1) Marital status and/or number of children. This information has no business being on a professional academic CV.
2) Age. This is no one’s business and is not relevant for the position that you are applying for.
3) A photo of yourself.
Academic CVs for Canadian jobs that contain the above pieces of information act as a red flag. It tells me that the candidate is not familiar with the professional norms in Canada and has not taken the trouble to adjust their job application accordingly.
In my next blog post I’ll talk about the employment history and education and training sections of an academic CV.
A major difference in the applications for jobs in academia and those outside of it is the document that you use to describe your experiences, training, and skills. When applying for academic jobs you use a curriculum vitae or CV to tell the story of your professional life. When I was putting together the first draft of my CV in grad school I asked several of my mentors if they would be willing to share their CV with me so that I could see what one looked like. This is a really great way to see examples of professional CVs of scientists and it will also help you to craft an effective document for your own job search. Academic CVs contain many sections and the number and type of sections can vary depending on your scientific discipline. The order in which you present these sections will also vary depending on the type of position that you are applying to.
Some general tips about CVs:
1) Start putting this document together in graduate school. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to put together.
2) Get as many examples of CVs in your field as you can. This will give you an idea of what is typical in your scientific discipline. It will also give you a sense of what works in terms of content and format and what does not.
3) Create a master copy CV. A master copy CV is where you put absolutely every relevant piece of information with regards to your professional life. When you apply to a particular job you will create a tailored CV that contains a subset of information in the master CV that is relevant to the position.
4) Keep the master copy CV updated regularly. I have a standing appointment in my calendar once a month in order to input new information into my master CV so that it remains current. When a job or opportunity presents itself, you don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute to update this document.
In the next post I’ll talk about some typical sections that you’ll find in a CV in the biological sciences.