Summer is a good time for graduate and postdoctoral students to review their résumés and resumes, update them with what you’ve accomplished in the academic year that just ended, and reflect on what you hope to do over the next few semesters. The summers of 2020 and 2021 have been strange – 2020 because of COVID-19 disruptions and 2021 because of continued uncertainty. The uncertainty is still there, and the job market is still disrupted, but it is surprisingly in favor of job seekers rather than those hoping to find the right people. This year, taking a fresh look at how you tell the story of your workplace can help you renew your taste for research, affirm your value to those who want to do great things, and orient you in the direction your heart wants you to go.

If you’re considering becoming an academic, it’s helpful to download a curated resume template for tenure and promotion at the type of institution where you hope to work one day. These templates are easy to find: limit your favorite search engine to documents hosted in the .edu domain and search for terms like “tenure resume template.”

I first saw a tenure-oriented CV when I was a postdoc. A third-grade assistant teacher I was friends with inadvertently left it on my bench while we were talking. He listed everything.

The resume I had started as a grad student listed items, a few of which I shyly described as “in progress.” The Terms of Reference template left by my friend was telling: it broke publications down into several types: peer-reviewed articles, non-reviewed articles, scientific journals, books, book chapters, book reviews, editorial comments, unpublished reports , monographs, etc. The list of document types was followed by a space for registering patents and software.

Compared to my friend’s, my own model was almost empty and obviously devoid of whole categories of contribution that I had never considered: commissioned work, advice, ghostwriting. Its model also divided funding into categories such as federal, private, local, and institutional, and it listed funded and unfunded proposals. It also lists published abstracts and, separately, resulting posters and lectures. Invited presentations at other institutions and other types of conferences, for example, at community groups, each got their own list. Service roles, including university, college, department, professional societies and the community, also had their place.

Once I figured out what it was for, I got a copy of the template from college and stored it in a file still named “CV bones”. Again, I recommend you do the same. That said, however, when it comes to measuring your suitability for a job, are the things a university wants to know the ones that quantify the whole story? Or do they have many more?

The course of his life

“Curriculum vitae” refers to the course of a person’s life. When collecting details for future narratives of your workplace history, you need to think about your all the life, not just the part you devoted to your studies. Lots of things outside of your college life matter. Side jobs can teach you how to serve customers well, meet tight deadlines, and improvise when things go wrong. Volunteering regularly for a non-profit organization or a small number of them throughout your higher education can give you valuable experience in organizing an event, working in a team or leading an organization. an important project. Serious hobbies can provide you with opportunities to perform, publish, or speak in places unrelated to your academic work. They may not belong on your college resume, but writing down your life milestones and accomplishments outside of college work will make them easy to remember when pitching to potential non-college employers.

Once you’ve built your own collection of resume bones, ask your line managers if you can see the resumes they’ve used for potential jobs and in grant applications to various agencies. If you have colleagues who have obtained dissertation grants or independent funding for a postdoc, ask if you can see their application documents for an example. The grant story will come in handy when you decide to seek funding, but in the meantime, their resume may give you an idea of ​​whether you are ready to write a successful proposal, or it may show you some gaps in your preparation. You can focus on filling them in the next academic year.

Are you ready now?

Since 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns disrupted many aspects of our lives, the labor market has behaved differently than before. Job applicants are often scarce these days and employers are eager to hire people who can help them achieve their goals. It’s a rewarding time to rethink why you sought higher education and what you hope to accomplish by earning a higher degree.

If you’ve come to believe that your education isn’t bringing you closer to accomplishing the things that matter to you, spend some time reviewing job search ads to identify a few positions that seem to describe the job of your dreams. Apply if you want, but if you don’t feel ready, use the elements of your CV to create a picture of yourself – a new CV – in which your experiences match the job description. Are there any gaps?

If you feel unable to spot potential gaps, informational interviews will help and should be your next step. If you see gaps but aren’t sure how to fill them, consider working with a guidance counselor and conducting informational interviews. And if you know how to fill in the gaps, go for it. Write down what you can do over the next few months to prepare, make contacts around the type of job you want, introduce yourself to potential employers, gain experience if possible, and wrap up your degree.

Sometimes this process is helpful to show you that while you have options, advanced training in your field is the road to what you really want. If graduate training gets you where you want to go, what a fantastic opportunity the present times offer you! Talk to your advisor and others in your field about your goals. If you’re in the right place at the right time to accomplish something important, let people know and ask them to help you move forward.