The CV Doctor Returns

October 11, 2002

If you're like most academics, your CV could use a little work. Maybe you offer too much information, or not enough. It could be that your descriptions are too wordy or too vague. Or maybe the format looks haphazard.

You've come to the right place. For the fourth year in a row, we asked job candidates to submit their vitas for an online critique. Hundreds of you responded, and we would have liked to help each of you. Unfortunately, we were able to evaluate only five. We selected vitas that were already strong -- so they could serve as models for our readers -- but that could benefit from some revisions.

We are grateful to the five candidates who gave us permission to use their CVs. Their names, contact information, and other identifying details have been removed. We provide a brief introduction to each CV and offer suggestions for improving it in footnotes. We chose CVs from the following academics:

  • A dean of science and mathematics.

  • A community-college instructor in sociology.

  • A Ph.D. in anthropology.

  • A Ph.D. in history.

  • A Ph.D. in the sciences.

If, after reading our suggestions, you still need help, you can find plenty of additional advice. Last year, we evaluated three faculty CV's and reworked each vita into a résumé for an administrative or a nonacademic job. In 2000, we reworked the CV's of Ph.D.'s at different stages of their careers. And in 1999, we evaluated five CV's in disciplines from art to biology.

For more information, consult our book, The Academic Job Search Handbook, as well as the materials put out by your disciplinary association.

Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick are the authors of The Academic Job Search Handbook (University of Pennsylvania Press). They have provided career services for thousands of graduate and professional students since 1985. Ms. Heiberger is associate director and Ms. Vick is graduate career counselor at the Career Services office of the University of Pennsylvania.

You can order their book directly from the University of Pennsylvania Press or from either of the on-line booksellers below.  Barnes & Noble