Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Curled up with a good Curriculum Vitae (Thing 21)

Here we are, getting to the end of our 23 Things CPD journey.  This week, we're thinking about our CVs.

I feel slightly smug, because my CV is pretty up-to-date.  Publication achievements and speaking engagements get added almost immediately.  I regard my saved CV as a resource to draw upon, because I would never just send it out without tailoring it to purpose.  I've taken several opportunities to run it past careers guidance and job agency people at various stages, which has taught me not only that there's always room for improvement and second opinions, but that opinions vary widely as to the best way to format a CV!

The problem is that as you get further on in your career, you have to decide what threads to emphasise, and what to slim down.  TWO PAGES, did you say?  That is so, so difficult!

I'm now a career librarian with a CV which boasts as much speaking and writing as you'd expect from a keen and fairly recent postdoc - which I am - but not nearly as much speaking and writing as you'd expect from an academic of my own age who had dedicated a quarter of a century to teaching and researching.  So I'm atypical however you look at it.  And it's about to get even crazier-looking, because next month I commence a three-year part-time secondment to be a postdoctoral research assistant for 40% of my time.  Unless I'm applying for something very scholarly, I now have to summarise my published output, because it looks top-heavy for a college librarian.

I suppose it all goes to shore up the impression that I'm a somewhat scholarly type who is not too shy to talk about it!  On the other hand, I lack 'managerial' experience, which goes against me in job applications.  I'm doing my best to get experience of other kinds, like serving on or convening committees, and working with volunteers.  Not management, as in running a department with staff supervision, but certainly engaging with people, to counterbalance all the engaging with musical scores and those ghostly Scottish song-collectors who drift through my thoughts given half a chance!

And I've certainly got decades of experience working with students, their queries and foibles - not to mention now having three teens of my own to shore up that experience!  (There's still a postgraduate in our college who likes to remind people that I'm the one who told him to tie up that shoelace before he tripped over it ... !)  However, there's no mention of my personal life in my CV.  I expect to be judged on what I bring to the job, not on our ongoing struggle to bring up three moderately respectable young people!

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