View of the Ground from the Ivory Tower: CV Spring Cleaning

I still have at least 6 more months of my master’s left to go, but I’m starting to think (obsess really) about what my next steps will be. I know lots of people who write up and defend while employed in full or in part off campus. Since I’ve never done a co-op or internship outside academia, this seems like an intriguing possibility to me. I love (love love love) TA-ing and teaching, so if that is how the wind blows for September 2013, that is okay too.

Even if I completely finish with school (i.e. defend) before venturing into the job market, I figure it will take some serious time and investment to find employment. If possible, I’d like to avoid unemployment while finding employment.

As a bright-eyed undergrad I spent lots of time finding opportunities and gaining experience toward a career in academia. I was grooming myself for this detailed plan I had composed based on all the organized talks and personal advice I got from everyone and anyone I met. Now that I’ve decide to explore more options, I feel like I have catching up to do.

Catching up is tricky though. In a university it’s easy to find people with lots of experience being in universities, but learning how to be employable outside of the ivory tower while still in the ivory tower is.. well, tricky. I suffer from opportunistic and thus serious sampling bias. Lots of other people have discussed this many-faceted problem too.

Today was a holiday (Family Day in B.C.), so I took the opportunity to (try to) update my CV. The last time I had touched it was back in July, so there was lots to add. Adding led to reorganizing, which in turn led to lots of re-writing. Several hours into my CV Spring Cleaning, I started to get restless. How “expert” do I need to be to say I have “expertise” in something? I think anyone who thinks they know everything about anything is probably deluding themselves. Maybe I should include my working definitions*. Should there be a “Skills” section or does that belong in a resume? What goes in a resume vs a CV? Do people outside academia care about CVs anyway?

… Should my twitter handle go under my email address at the top?

My CV Spring Cleaning was starting to feel like this moment.

(*Don’t worry, I don’t really intend to do this.)

Even though there are relatively few people who can speak of personal experience in career building outside academia from inside, luckily there are other resources. I haven’t found my golden solution or written my winning CV (or resume), so I can’t tell you all my tricks yet. I decided to write this post because job-hunting, career-building, and CV-Cleaning have been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe after I check out SFU’s Career Services I’ll have more answers.

6 thoughts on “View of the Ground from the Ivory Tower: CV Spring Cleaning

  1. hey tanya! I wrote a reply to this, but then messed up and reset my browser. and now it’s all gone.

    BUT, it said something roughly along the lines of: I know many people going through similar things (the great panda for instance! haha!). Here’s a cool post I just saw:
    http://aas.org/posts/news/2013/02/astronomer-data-scientist

    Also I have a friend who left academia after her post doc, and has been writing for 1degreebio.org since on both biology and life after academia. Here’s a sample:
    http://getpocket.com/a/read/298773123 – different interview styles
    http://getpocket.com/a/read/296004325 – was it all worth it?
    http://getpocket.com/a/read/290082725 – converting your resume

    good luck! I will be following im sure

  2. These look awesome, and super helpful! Thanks, Jesse!

    I was considering following this post up with a second post about some of the things I’ve heard on Ecolog (after sifting through the drama) about real, attainable skills that apparently *could* make finding a job in ecology easier. The first thing on the tips of everyone’s lips is GIS, GIS, GIS. After that… R. Programming I can handle, but I may start looking for (and sharing!) resources for learning GIS.

  3. Hey Tanya,
    I recognized I haven’t said hi to your blog in a long time. While reading through the blog, I stumbled upon this post. Some quick suggestions for GIS resources. Most universities have a subscription to arcGIS. arcGIS offers virtual “My training” through which you can explore several GIS topics
    One other thing you might want to do is, create a map describing your study area ! It is fun and you learn a lot. Good Luck 🙂

    • Hey Ais, thanks for the suggestion! I know the school & library does have some GIS learning resources somewhere. I should definitely check them out.

Leave a Reply