Academic CV Workshop with Kaysi Holman

Typewriter - Academic CV Workshop

Kaysi Holman (Program Coordinator for HASTAC@Duke and the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge in the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University) led the Futures Initiative Fellows in a CV Crit Session, which may be useful to the larger HASTAC community, especially graduate students that will be looking for faculty jobs in the coming years. 

To set up your own CV Crit Session, exchange CVs across a group (can be a group of fellows, a group within a department, an advisor’s multiple advisees, or friends) and go through each CV with the following questions. 

  • Quick comments before launching into a crit session
    • The purpose of a CV is to get you a job.
    • For each item on your CV, think about who you’re telling it to, and why you’re telling them.
  • Questions for thought:  
    • What makes you unique, as a candidate?
      • How are you representing that in your CV?
    • Did you include all of the sections that other people did? If not, why not?
    • Why did you order the sections of your resume the way that you did?
    • In each section, have you highlighted (by bolding or emphasizing in some other way) the most important part of the information provided?
    • Have you defined (even in a small way) what each accolade means? If you were on the review committee, how could you differentiate various positions and fellowships? What is your role in those positions?
    • What are you forgetting? For real, what did you not put in the CV?
  • Reviewing individual CVs:
    • Barely glancing at the CV (like you have 100 on your desk and have to find the best 10 in 30 minutes). What are the words and phrases that pop out at you?
    • Based on the CV, what kind of jobs does it seem like this person would be applying for?
    • Reading the CV more thoroughly, what do you think is the most impressive credential on the CV?
    • Are there pieces of information or areas on the CV that are unclear or need more information?
    • What makes this person unique as a candidate?

Although this was a critique, it was friendly with kind and generous advice, which I think makes a big difference, with participants considering themselves to be collaborators rather than competitors. 

Here are some additional notes from myself and Kaysi to keep in mind when constructing CVs in particular and some links for alt-ac resumes:

  • CV is like an extension of yourself
    • Make a conscious effort of adding several lines to a CV each academic year
    • When on the tenure-track, one line per academic month (9)
  • Order by weight of peer review
    • Fellowships/grants/accolades or peer-reviewed publications should come first, invited lectures, conferences, teaching, service (but may vary by position applying for)
    • Put more effort into the heavy-hitters — peer-reviewed publications and grants
    • For conferences, though grad student conferences and regional conferences are nice, with limited funding it is best to put resources to national disciplinary conferences
    • Don’t get bogged down in service commitments
  • Will vary by field
    • Try to find CVs online of junior faculty in your field, in a role/institution you would like to be in
      • Personal websites
      • Departmental websites
        • Note that this is a for-profit site, but can still be useful for searching CVs
  • Different positions will require different ordering
    • Teaching-focused institution, put teaching experience closer to the top but don’t delete research
    • Research-focused institution, teaching experience should be closer to the bottom
    • Rather than “Teaching Experience” you may want to consider a “Courses Taught” heading
      • Highlight courses over institution
    • For a Digital Humanities role, include digital projects, technical skills
  • If applicable for the job and your experience, have headings to include
    • Projects, including digital projects
    • Presentation and leadership roles outside of conferences
      • Leading workshops
      • Leading online forums
      • If you have a lot of instances you can pull them into a subheading
        • Organizer or Moderator (assumed that someone invited you to moderate)
    • Blog posts
      • Keep all posts in “Master CV” — when applying, put things in that are relevant to the position
      • Make a subheading under a master “Publications” heading such as “Digital Publications”
      • If you blog regularly, keep a line where you say “Blog regularly at…”
      • Can pull out specific relevant and scholarly blog posts
    • Technical Skills
      • Skills can be considered to be bonuses, even if they aren’t known as part of a faculty position
      • Many of us on HASTAC have a lot of technical proficiencies
        • Microsoft Office, Creative Suite, HTML & CSS, Online Project Management, Social Media
  • Style
    • When to use serif v. sans-serif fonts
      • Some institutions prefer serif fonts without realizing it — may be a good idea to look at departmental style on websites and printed materials
      • Good idea to have CVs in two styles: More Conservative (serif) and More Modern (sans-serif)
    • Are you highlighting (by bolding, etc.) the most important parts of your qualifications?
    • Every line and page is precious
    • Keep concise, so that there is not a 1-2 word overhang
    • Importance of headers
    • Earlier in the career, year can be right-justified instead of on the left, with emphasis on the position on the left
    • CV should be written in third person
  • Think about audience
    • Who are you communicating to?
  • Remember that you will need other application materials:
    • Teaching philosophy
    • Research interests
      • ~2 pages
    • Example of digital projects
      • 1 page outline with links
    • Course descriptions
      • Courses you taught or want to teach
      • Paragraph for each course
    • References / Reference letters
  • Additional resources

In general, it is a good idea to keep updating your CV as you are in your current role, otherwise you may forget everything you have done. 

Also include links to everything that is relevant, such as online components of courses (maybe you blogged on HASTAC?), a video of your teaching philosophy, or a recording of you teaching a class. 

Header image by Dustin Lee.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309