What can you learn from others’ academic CVs?

A recent Inside Higher Ed blog post explores what early career researchers can learn from looking at other academics’ CVs.

Eszter Hargittai suggets that there are several reasons why a researcher might want to spend some time reviewing CVs including:

  • To get a better understanding of how and why a particular person managed to secure a prestigious Fellowship or dream job. Looking at the CVs of several people who have won Fellowships or academic posts can give you some idea of what the particular appointment committee is looking for. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the CV is only part of an applications package, and that successful candidates are also likely to have written good proposals and/or performed well at interview, so these are other areas to explore and skills to develop too.
  • To understand who is on a particular appointment committee and what their attitude to you and your research might be. If most of the appointment committee is from a different discipline to you, you’re clearly going to have to ensure that they understand your research, why it’s important and what it will bring to your disicpline (and maybe to theirs too). They also might need to be told that the particular journal that you’ve published in is the top-ranked journal in your discipline, or that a conference that you have presented at is the most prestigious in your area.
  • To familiarize yourself with a speaker before you attend a conference or research seminar. If you’re hosting the speaker, it’s even more important that you know their biography – but even if you’re just attending a talk, having a sense of which positions a speaker has held, which Universitites s/he has worked in and his/her research interests makes it less likely that you will miss an opportunity to network or to gain valuable information about future potential career moves.

While actual CVs are not always freely available on-line, most academics do include a biography on their University web-page so you can use your research skills to gather a certain amount of information about a person’s career path. However, as Hargittai points out, it’s worth remembering that people don’t tend to include their failures on their CV or biography so you certainly shouldn’t assume that they have had an easy ride into their preferred Fellowship or job.

You can read the full article at: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2012/12/14/essay-how-learn-other-academics-cvs

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