• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


Blowing Up My CV

It's summer, so I thought it would be a good idea not just to add to my CV, but completely reimagine it.

June 13, 2012

The summer seems like a good time to sit down and take a long, hard look at my academic CV. While I update it regularly, adding publications and conference presentations, I didn’t have anywhere to put my (not so) new forays into blogging and other digital realms. I was still segmenting myself and my professional identity according to old academic values. I’m changing and those values are changing, so it’s about time that my CV reflected that.

Also, my old CV was in a format that made it hard to edit or change. My husband, when he was doing his MA, was employed by the faculty of graduate studies at our institution to look at every single CV of graduate students (Masters and PhD) who had won awards (we were required to hand in a copy of our CV along with our dissertation in order to graduate). He saw hundreds of “award-winning” CVs, and it provided an excellent base for creating my first academic CV (his, too). But, as you can see here, it was filled with formatting quirks and difficulties that made it hard to do any major changes to. It looked great, but it was hard to modify it (and even really add things, while making sure everything still lined up).

If the wisdom of the crowd helped shape my CV 1.0, then I figured I should go to the crowd for version 2.0 as well, but instead of a database of CVs, I turned, as I often do, to Twitter. I’ve Storified the whole thing, to read at your leisure. There are so really interesting elements that were brought out that I will deal with a bit further on, but my first question was really concerned with where to put co-founding #FYCchat. The general agreement was, service to the profession, or something of that nature. It was pointed out that these types of activities, while not new, are not yet widespread, so exist in some grey area of scholarly value.

Another question that came up is why I would even want to put up my guest blog posts, my social media activity, and the like. What does it have to do with “my job” (or some hypothetical job I may someday apply for)? For one thing, writing a “master” CV serves the purpose of a template that I can pick and choose depending on the audience or purpose. But even if I were applying for jobs in literature (my field, broadly defined), rather than writing (where the bulk of my teaching experience and social media presence is focused on), I’d still want to include these activities to show that I am an engaged researcher (look at my “official” publications!) and an engaged educator (look at my attention to improvement!). It also, I think, shows my dedication to developing community, which is skill I would take with me wherever I ended up and apply it to whatever position I might one day have.

I broke down the process of redoing my CV into a few steps: write down everything that was missing, come up with headings, and then put my old CV into a new document. That way, I was sure not to fall into the categories of my old CV. I’m still not sure how far back I should go, but seeing as how I am not currently on the tenure-track, I need to show that I have been consistently productive throughout my career, starting in graduate school. I did selectively forget the advice I got in graduate school to list every single monetary grant or award I received, no matter how small, and just focused on the major ones. That shortened my CV quite a bit, streamlining it.

Once I was done, I handed it off to my best and most trusted editor, my husband. I also directed him to “make it look pretty.” My aesthetics, especially when it comes to electronic work, isn’t the strongest, and I have a hard time making Word do what I want it to do when it comes to formatting. I still haven’t created my digital skills category yet, as I’m not sure one week of TEI qualifies me as having it as a skill (I’m going to be practicing it all year, though), nor am I quite skilled enough in hosting my own wordpress or omeka site to list either of those. I’ve left space at the end for those new skills I am developing.

What I do have now, however, is an infinitely more flexible document that more accurately represents who I am now as an academic, versus even three years ago (actually, exactly three years ago when I was in as traditional a tenure-track position as you can get, won on the strength of the old CV). You can see my new CV here, and please feel free to leave feedback either in Google Docs or here in the comments. I’m doing this for myself, and I also hope that sharing my process helps academics (or graduate students) with their own process. CVs are another one of those things that everyone seems to know how to do in graduate school, and we typically receive little direction. I got lucky, but now I can also be smart about how I am doing my CV. Included in the archived chat are two examples of CVs online. There are more, you just have to look. I chose mine because they were by people in both English and DH, which isn’t relevant for everyone.

I’m really glad I sat down and completely re-did my CV; I had forgotten just how much stuff (both official and “unofficial”) I have accomplished over the years. Between moving four times, changing jobs three times, having two kids, and deciding to reinvent myself as an academic, I have forgotten that that isn’t all that I have done over the past five years since completing my dissertation (not to mention all the stuff I did while I was PhD student). Despite my heavy teaching load (and all that other stuff I just mentioned), I have been a very active and productive researcher in both traditional and non-traditional ways. If this comes off sounding like gloating, it is a little bit. Fear has been a major motivating factor for me; fear of not doing enough, fear of appearing lazy, fear of not being taken seriously because I’m a mother and a wife and I gave up a tenure-track position. So I take on projects, as many projects as I can handle, and sometimes more. Maybe now that I’ve seen just how well I’ve done, I can take a step back and maybe relax a little bit.

Not likely, unfortunately. As you can see from the CV, I have commitments that I have made, in the name of, well, being the best academic I can be. Being that I’m not on the tenure-track, I’ll never have a post-tenure let-down. I’ll just keep on as I have been going because, in part, I have no idea how to be anything else. 


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