I apply to both kinds of jobs
Yes, that’s right, and it’s a real headache. Every cover letter is a reinvention of myself, my goals, and my experience, re-worked in ways to fit that particular position, be it a teaching job, a research job, a non-profit or philanthropy job, or a (meta)data job. In this academic climate, it’s foolish to put all of your eggs in one academic basket - unless you can afford to live off an adjunct’s salary without benefits. That was out of the question for me, so I have applied to every imaginable job in the last three years, and I needed different formats of work experience documents (i.e, the CV and resume) for different kinds of jobs. Having a current CV and a current resume at the ready makes things easier.
The CV serves as a (mostly) complete record of my accomplishments
This also includes the acceptances I’ve had to decline. I’m sure some people would argue that you shouldn’t list things on your CV that you’ve declined, but I’m calling for an exception. You’ve worked hard for these things; why not display the credit?
In the past couple of years, I’ve had to decline some things in favor of other awards - for example, I ultimately declined a teaching fellowship that offered no pay, benefits, or security in the second semester (traditionally, this had been “gifted” as a research semester in exchange for teaching the prior semster). But even in my transition away from the traditional academic path, I’ve chosen to include two awards in 2017 on my CV because they would have been fundamental to building my scholarly output. One of them was a major fellowship to the American School. Financial restrictions prevented me from being able to accept these fellowships - should I really have to pretend the validity of my application didn’t exist as well?
(That’s not to say you should include all of your “declined” things on your CV, of course, and I haven’t. I’ve been selective, and as a living document, it changes over time. Recently I read somewhere the suggestion of putting rejections and declines into a spreadsheet, which is something I’m considering.)
But, the CV is unwieldy
The resume is much more succinct.
It’s true; the CV takes a lot longer to edit. But I try to edit both of them once every few months.
Ultimately it was the resume that got me my current job, however, and you can take a look at it to see how I’ve cut to the chase in terms of the *most immediately relevant* experiences pertinent to *that particular job.* It’s hard to admit that a non-academic employer doesn’t care about your conference paper titles, but...well...they don’t. And anyone in the “extended academic” world will know the kinds of hoops you went through to get the PhD, and that might make for a nice coffee meeting, but those things are not necessary to get the job. Experience is key.
The academic mantra of “one line each month” is erroneous
Each line on your CV holds different weights, so passing them off as having equal value makes little sense.
I also couldn’t possibly add a line for every act of service I do in this profession. For example, I spent a lot of time speaking to undergrads interested in going to graduate school, doling out information about travel in Greece, and fielding questions about images (sometimes providing those images myself, which requires hours of sifting through my personal photo archive). Should I list all of these things on my CV? I don’t, and wouldn’t know how.
The argument that “this is what it takes” for a permanent job is bull. Rule #1 of academia is that there are no rules: it is a matter of chance, luck, privilege, and being in the right place at the right time (those all sound like similar things, but they aren’t, really).
So, keep a master CV, or a spreadsheet, or whatever, for everything...but there’s no need to list everything for every job. Modify as needed. Cut, cut, cut (kind of like the dissertation; remember that?).
How many years?
We should begin thinking about graduate school as a career in and of itself, especially when systemic problems within the PhD structure can mean upwards of a decade (or more) spent in graduate school. We’re taught a lot of things one has to do in graduate school, all of which count towards building the CV. In my field, these include:
- Museum experience
- Fieldwork and study seasons
- Conference presentations
- Invited presentations/guest lectures
- Extra employment to broaden one’s horizons and/or pay the bills
- Skills (languages, programming, etc.)
I find that's a good way of thinking about it: the resume is about what I can do. The CV is about what I have done.
The division between “academia” and “alt-ac” is a fallacy
I despise the term “alt-ac.” I can’t think of a single more insulting designation to the future of what PhD research can and should mean. “Look, if academia doesn’t work out, you can always do x instead.” Please. In reality, academia itself is the alt-ac. I’ll write more about this at some point.
But: this goes back to my first point, that I apply to both academic and “extended academic” positions. Different jobs require different highlights, some more extensive than others. My current position was nailed down with a resume, but lately I’ve been applying for positions *outside the academy* where my CV is still more appropriate than a resume.
I’m hopeful that someday that clear-cut line between “academia” and “alt-ac” (or as a colleague suggested, “extended academic”) won’t be so distinct. Until that time, we have to look at the CV and the resume both as marketable assets that highlight one’s skills and experiences, and apply specific aspects of them to our modeling of these documents.
Is this helpful to you? Please consider buying me a ko-fi; every little bit helps.