Post Academic

The Post Academic Resume Series: Skills

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionWelcome to the Post Academic Resume Series. We’ve covered the Resume Objective, Work Experience, and Education. We’re winding down with the Skills section, which is like a basket for everything else that didn’t fit on your resume.

The Skills section of the resume almost seems like a throwaway. You might be tempted to skip it if it your resume is looking a little long. Don’t count it out, though. I’ve said before that you can ignore the one-page resume rule. The skills section is a golden opportunity to surprise and delight a hiring manager if you follow these tips:

Share your editorial knowledge. Experience editing with the Chicago Manual of Style, MLA style, or AP style can go a long way.

Be sure to list computer skills. Yes, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel count. Anyone who wants a job now needs basic computer literacy. You will be even more impressive if you study extra programs or languages, including HTML and CSS.

More after the jump! Typewriter repair falls under the category of interesting skills. Image from the German Federal Archive on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

The Post Academic Resume Series: Do You Need a Resume Objective?

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionThis post is the first in a series on putting your resume together. If you have had a CV, you might not remember the resume format and you might have trouble boiling your academic work into bullet points. We can help. Let’s start with the tricky Resume Objective.

The “resume objective” is a brief statement at the top of your resume in which you declare your intentions to a prospective employer. They usually read like this: “To work as an Algebra teacher at a public high school,” “To apply my skills as a Webmaster to a small nonprofit agency,” and “To convince people with low incomes to buy homes they can’t afford using adjustable-rate mortgages.” You get my drift.

But are resume objectives really necessary? They take up space, and they often sound like hot air because the real objective of most people is “To get a job. Any job.”

A resume objective is useful for only two types of people: those just out of college and those who are changing careers. Otherwise, your work experience will make clear why you are applying for a certain job.

More after the jump! Amelita Galli-Curci seated at desk using typewritter, dressed in fur coat and hat. From Wikimedia Commons with the following statement: “This is a press photograph from the George Grantham Bain collection, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. According to the library, there are no known restrictions on the use of these photos.” (more…)

Don’t let being an adjunct make you mad (Part 3 of a series)

"Lol cat angry" by Cro0016 (Creative Commons license)

So I promised I would end this series on what makes me mad about teaching by being more constructive and stepping outside the solipsistic navel gazing of my own experiences.  That’s why I’m going into what makes me mad about being an Adjunct or Lecturer or Contingent Faculty or cheap labor or whatever they call it where you are.  I should say in advance that I’m not an adjunct agitator myself or a future freeway flyer, though I’ve gained more and more respect for those folks over the years–and it’s not just because I’ve stepped into their shoes just a little bit.  It takes a lot to stick with being an adjunct, considering how you have to persevere in underpaid jobs with pretty much no chance for a promotion and deal with the uncertainties of having classes assigned to you or cancelled at a moment’s notice.  For a better sense of adjunct-oriented issues on a national scale, check out the New Faculty Majority website or read the piece Caroline has been linking on the matter, “Confessions of a Tenured Professor”.

I should begin by saying that the way I handled being mad about adjuncting is that I stopped being one.  I am grateful that I got a chance to teach classes that were related to my research and that I found out a lot more about how I feel about teaching in general, but I couldn’t deal with a lot of the slights and anxieties full-time contingent faculty put up with much more admirably than I ever could.  And I was definitely luckier than most, in that I had mentors, friends, and staff who looked out for me and offered me opportunities to help me hang on from one academic job cycle to the next when I couldn’t or refused see the writing on the wall.

Still, the precarious day-to-day condition and the perpetual mindtrip of being a Lecturer couldn’t help but make me mad, which I explain below the fold…


A publishing how-to: Tips from Stacey Pierson, Ph.D. (Part 2)

"Chinese Ceramics book cover" (Courtesy of Stacey Pierson)

Yesterday, Stacey Pierson–Lecturer (= Asst Prof in the U.S.) at SOAS in London, eminent researcher in Chinese ceramics, and the author of 2 books–described her experiences of getting her books in print, from pitching a project to drafting and editing a manuscript to the overlooked aspects of promoting the final product.  For part 2, we continue discussing what it takes to get published and ask her to don her editor’s hat to explain to us the other side of the publishing enterprise.

Post Academic: What are some tips you can give young scholars trying to get past the mental block of transforming a dissertation manuscript into a book, as someone who’s done this before?

Stacey Pierson: Beyond my personal experience, I think new writers working on their first academic book might find the actual writing process difficult because with your dissertation (if you are lucky as I was) you generally receive a lot of feedback and guidance along the way and it is sometimes quite difficult to do this on your own for the first time. At least the dissertation comes with a readymade topic, so the next difficult hurdle is, of course, coming up with a fresh idea that will be publishable and substantial enough to enhance your CV or, if you are lucky enough to get such a job, your tenure dossier. One way forward is to read as much as possible in your area to keep up with what work is already in progress and to mine your dissertation research for areas which you had to put aside but thought at the time had potential.

The interview continues below the fold…


Event Alert! Susan Basalla, author of “So What Are You Going to Do with That?” at UCI 5/13

For any So Cal Post Academics reading the blog, Susan Basalla, co-author of the go-to Hamster World transition guide So What Are You Going to Do with That?, will be speaking on the UC Irvine campus this Thursday  5/13 .  Sponsored by the UC Irvine Career Center, the event is titled “How to Get a Non-Academic Job, Even if You Aren’t Sure You Want One”–and they’re giving away free copies of the very helpful book for the first 100 attendees.  Don’t know if you have to be a UCI student to get a book, but I can’t imagine they’ll check ID–it’s not like we’re in Arizona or anything!  I’m planning on attending–child-care arrangements pending–and I’ll wear something garish if you’re a reader of the blog and wanna say hi.

Here’s the relevant info again…

WHO: Susan Basalla, co-author of So What Are You Going to Do With That?

WHEN: Thursday 5/13 at 4 PM-5:50 PM

WHERE: UC Irvine campus, Doheny Beach A conference room in the Student Center.  Here’s a map of campus; there’s very expensive parking in a structure next to the Student Center.

WHAT ELSE: Free books for the first 100 folks who show up!

We’re rerunning our write-up for So What Are You Going to Do with That? for anyone interested after the jump…


Learning to Let Go of Your Publications

Posted in Housekeeping,Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on May 11, 2010
Tags: , , , , , ,

Over at Inside Higher Ed, Jerry Jellison provides advice for academics who are putting together their first Hamster World resumes. He reminds readers that the resume’s goal is to answer one question: “What can you do for us?”

Along those lines, he advises that former academics (or soon-to-be former academics) skip listing publications. That can be painful since the whole point of being in grad school and academia is to rack up publications.

The issue here is not that your publications aren’t important to businesspeople. They are, but not in the same way they’re important to you. In the Hamster World, it’s less about prestige and more about your actions. Jellison suggests re-framing your academic work: “Instead of listing academic publications, describe the skills and traits that enabled you to write the articles or to conduct the research.”

Conducting research, staying organized, and forming a coherent argument are all talents that will appeal to employers. The fact that you had the tenacity to get published is more important than where you got published. So, instead of listing the papers themselves, say that you did research, conducted interviews, and crunched data.

Jellison has many more tips for translating your academic skills into business lingo. Don’t be afraid. By the time you’re done, you’ll realize that this process is way easier than an MLA interview. For more tips, check out my advice on turning your CV into a resume.

What I shoulda-woulda-coulda been doing for the next academic job cycle

"Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster in a hamster wheel" by Doenertier82 (Creative Commons)

I’ve been recounting my experiences on the job market this past year, to commemorate receiving my final few rejection letters over the last week.  Now let’s hypothetically imagine what I should be/would be/could be doing to get ready for the 2010-11 academic job cycle/hamster wheel, since part of the academic life is always feeling like you’re behind even if you might be trying to plan ahead.  Considering that my interview yield rate was pretty bad this year, these musings are likely to remain hypothetical no matter if my odds would be any better next year or if the job market bounces back from being the worst ever.  Still, there’s no harm in daydreaming and, who knows, maybe it might help someone else who’s still planning on trying her/his luck on the market again.

1. Beg, beg, beg for an adjuncting position: It can’t help my job search prospects when I haven’t taught in over a calendar year and not at all during the 2009-10 academic year.  I’ve tried to teach at least one quarter a calendar year so that I can at least fudge it on my CV, but I struck out this year, in part due to not being asked to teach by the depts I’ve worked for because of the crappy UC budget and in part because I’m not really motivated to beg to work at a pay rate that’s little better than what I was getting as a TA.  The latter wasn’t so bad when it seemed worthwhile for professional development because I got the chance to teach my own syllabi, but those experiences haven’t exactly panned out.  Like when I applied for an adjunct position at another local school to teach a course that I’ve taught before with a real, class-tested syllabus, only to be used as hiring compliance fodder so that the dept could hire its own student it probably planned to hire in the first place.  But hey, I’m not bitter and, anyway, I was probably that guy when my own home dept hired me.

More stuff I could be doing instead of complaining and blogging, below the fold…


Academic publishing: A trickle-down theory and other ways to streamline the process

Posted in Process Stories,Publish and Perish by Arnold Pan on April 27, 2010
Tags: , ,

"Water drop animation" by Gmaxwell (licensed by Creative Commons)

We’ve discussed some of the difficulties with getting publishing before, which was mostly me extrapolating from my personal experiences.  An article titled “The Back-Up Plan” from Inside Higher Ed last week proposed an interesting solution to making turnaround in the editorial process quicker, so that you don’t end up in an experience like mine where I had a proposal for a piece going back-and-forth with various editors and project proposers for a year-and-a-half only to end up with nothing.

Enter “The Back-Up Plan”: According to the article, the American Economic Association has set up a process whereby submitters can opt in to a plan where their essays can be automatically submitted to another “back up” journal if it is not accepted by the group’s top publication, American Economic Review.  The idea is that readers’ reports would be passed along to the secondary journal, which is supposed to speed up review of the proposed article.  Now you might argue, as some in the comment threads do, that resubmitting an essay using unfavorable readers’ reports is a kamikaze mission times two, but the choice of doing so is up to the writer.  And apparently, most of the submissions going through this process are borderline cuts that were well-received–just not so much to be included in the assocation’s #1 publication.

More about the “back-up plan”, below the fold…


Another book Post Academic likes: So What Are You Going to Do with That?

Since we’re on the topic of post-academic books, it’s probably a good time to tout So What Are You Going to Do with That?, a helpful how-to guide for Ph.D.s interested in transitioning from academia to the hamster world, whether willingly or not.  It’s usually the first title mentioned when Ph.D.s and ABDs ask about what options are out there for them and don’t know where or how to start looking.

Written by two Princeton lit Ph.D.s, Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius, the book can be read either as a practical toolkit that provides the nuts-and-bolts on how to rethink your professional life or as a collection of narratives about experiences your peers have had going through what you’re going through now.  And don’t worry that the book takes a sappy self-help approach to career advice, because it’s written in a smart, conversational, and casual way that’s neither rah-rah nor an invite to a pity party.  However you like your advice, it’s going to help you brainstorm and give you ideas about career paths you might not have considered.

More about the book, after the jump…



Posted in The Education Industry by Arnold Pan on April 14, 2010
Tags: , ,

Almost all of your academic friends are on Facebook already and a lot of them use LinkedIn, too, so do you really need to add yet another social networking site to your list of bookmarks you obsessively check?  Well, is probably worth signing up for, if you’re a networking academic.  It’s basically a hybrid of Facebook and LinkedIn geared for just for academics.  You set up your own profile page, which lists your position, institution, department affiliation, and research interests.  What’s really helpful and unique about an profile is the info you can add to the left column, which includes your publications, conference talks, CV, along with the scholarship you’re interested in and your websites.

The social networking operations are pretty effective too: You can follow (and be followed by) your colleagues, which incorporates aspects of your FB friends list and the Twitter follower/following lists by updating you on new profile information and status updates.  Scholars are organized according to your university affiliation, then department affiliation, although you can do a search by academic interests.  The interface has a pretty good look too, something along the lines of a family tree where departments branch out under the university.

The site is still undergoing some growing pains, since the interface can still be a little glitchy and it’s no shocker that a site geared towards academics can be a bit overly complicated.  Also, the category lists need to be finetuned.  In terms of academic interests, there are a lot of duplicated fields, while some are too general and others too narrow.  Likewise, some institutions (especially UC’s) are double-named, so some merging of data is called for.  And the humanities listings are still very short and spotty, though you can tell they are growing, too.

All in all, it seems like a worthwhile and potentially valuable resource for academic research and networking.  If you sign up soon, you can say that you got in the ground floor of the project.

(Hat tip to reader Stacey for referring us to the site!)

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