Well, it’s about that time.
I’m slowly starting to head towards the light at the end of the tunnel. My advisor gently suggested it’s time to start applying for jobs.
But it’s alright. I prepared for this. I’ve slowly been updating the CV. Brainstorming locations I’d like to apply to. Making lists of job hunting tips.
Let’s take a look at the CV shall we?
Here’s the old copy (some information redacted) from 2013:
It’s kind of outdated. Chunky. Blocky. Boring. I realized during this process that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reconsider my formatting. Modernize a bit. I looked around at some templates and ended up stealing one from a friend. (Thanks Dr. A)
Here’s the new version:
I know this may seem like a silly little change, but it is important to have your CV be easy on the eyes, so to speak.
Also, the CV should be adjusted to each job you apply for.
Listen to me one more time.
Adjust. Your CV. For EACH job.
Ok not literally each job…but in general that’s a good rule. If I’m applying to basically the same job at two different places, then I won’t tweak it much. But I will at least look at it.
So what do you adjust? A lot. Organization, your bullet points, highlighted experience. Add, rearrange and delete the information that best showcases your skills for that particular job. For example, I have a varied skill set. I’m a classroom educator and I’m also an evaluator. If I’m applying for an assistant professor position in an education department, I move my teaching experience and publications forward, higher up in the CV. If it’s an evaluation related position, then my evaluation experience comes up in the ranks. Make sure the potential employer can quickly see the skills you have that relate to the job. Don’t make them dig!
The same goes for the cover letter. For academia it is critical that each cover letter be specifically written for each position you apply for. This is an absolute, non-breakable rule. Yes, I do copy a few paragraphs or lines if I’m applying for two assistant professor positions at two different colleges. But I change a lot. Each job description should have a set of required and/or preferred qualifications.
Reiterate them in your cover letter. However do NOT say “I see that you want someone that knows quantitative analysis”, rather state your experience with that particular skill. For example “During my graduate studies I have utilized both qualitative and quantitative data analysis in educational research projects”. Add context to their requested skills. If they are looking for “social science research” then phrase your cover letter using these terms. Reflect what they want in your cover letter. This is the place where you can elaborate on your CV. Talk about specific experiences. Explain why you’re the best candidate for this position. And always, always, thank them for their consideration.
Here’s a little infographic to help you remember:
Are you job hunting too? What are your post-PhD plans?