Post Academic


Last week on Post Academic (5/30-6/5)

Posted in Housekeeping by postacademic on June 6, 2010
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At the end/beginning of the week, we like to point out some of the posts that have either cycled off the front page of lost in the shuffle from the week just ended on Post Academic.  Besides the return of Broke-Ass Schools and the continuation of our Alcoholic Horndog Tenured Professor Stereotype film series, the last week is pretty easy to recap: resumes and CVs.  You can start with Caroline’s first post musing on resume objectives and work your away forward, or end with Arnold’s CV vs. resume grudge match comparing the two forms and go backwards.

Or if you’re sick of listening to us on the topic, just check out the video above by web jokester Liz Thompson, who made a YouTube on “How to Write a Resume!”.  It’s part of a series of “How-to” videos by Thompson, and it captures the silliness of resume writing pretty well.

And sorry, no Zizek-SNL update this week, mostly because Arnold didn’t get to attend the UCI talk and ask him if he knew about the campaign.  For those of you counting at home, the Facebook fan site seems to have stalled out at 5,358 members, thought that’s still a pretty impressive number.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

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CV vs. Resume: The Grudge Match!

Posted in Process Stories,Transfer Your Skills by Arnold Pan on June 4, 2010
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"Fight on Snow" by su neko (Creative Commons license)

So it’s not quite Alien vs. Predator, but we figured we could end our respective serieses (plural of series?) with a little compare-and-contrast.  You can think of the comparison between a CV and a resume along the lines of my posts vs. Caroline’s this week: the latter are longer and (overly) detailed, while the former are short and sweet and to the point.  We understand that it can be hard to make the conversion from a CV to a resume, since it’s not just a matter of translating your skills and reformatting the way you describe them.  There’s also some emotional baggage attached to the CV, as if cutting loose your publications and conference papers is the same as making them disappear forever.  Don’t worry–they’re still there and they’re still significant accomplishments.

But if you really want to make a full conversion, just try starting over and seeing what you come up with.  That CV is always saved to your hard drive, so you can always go back to it when you want.  And take solace if you can’t cut the cord quite yet, because you have lots and lots of good company.  To paraphrase Susan Basalla of So What Are You Going to Do with That? fame, the worst thing to prepare you for the hamster world job market is being on the academic job market.  So think of the exercise of putting together a resume as a process of unlearning and relearning the rhetorical skills you obviously possess and can command.

Read below the fold for some key points to compare and contrast in our CV vs. resume battle royale…

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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.
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The Post Academic Resume Series: Education

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionWelcome to the Post Academic Resume Series. We’ve covered the Resume Objective and your Work Experience. Now we’re at the easy part–Education!

If you’re reading this blog, you’re going to have plenty of information for the Education section of your resume.

And that’s the problem. When filling out the Education section of your resume, you don’t want to overdo it. I am in no way suggesting that you should dumb yourself down. Far from it. You’ve gone to a good program, you’ve busted your butt for a graduate degree, and the whole world should know.

Keep your Work Experience section should be at the top. It should also be longer than the Education section. Period. Here are some tips to keep your considerable education from overwhelming the rest of your resume:

Do not list every paper your wrote or every class you took. Keep it at “PhD, English” or “PhD, Philosophy.”

More after the jump! Image of a Swedish typist, public domain on Wikimedia Commons.
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The Post Academic Resume Series: Work Experience, Part 2

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionWelcome to the Post Academic Resume Series. We’ve covered the Resume Objective and how to describe your Work Experience. Now we’ll work on how to shape your Work Experience so it gets a hiring manager’s attention.

Now that you have created a list of jobs complete with bullet points describing what you accomplished on the job, you need to consider how to order your list of jobs.

This is trickier than it sounds, especially for career changers. Most people list their work experience in reverse chronological order. Anyone making the leap from academia to the hamster world might not want their last teaching job to be at the top of their resume, though.

For example, if you were a copy editor before you went to grad school, and now you want to go back to copy editing, that information needs to be at the top of your resume. People who work in HR departments are in a hurry, and chances are good that they’ll just scan your resume, so you need to make the most of the upper third of the page.

To pull this off, ditch the chronological order and divide your work experience into two categories:
Editorial Work Experience (or work experience related to whatever field you’re trying to break into)
Other Work Experience

More after the jump! Image of the Civilian Conservation Corps, public domain on Wikimedia Commons.
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The Post Academic Resume Series: Work Experience, Part 1

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

Welcome to the Post Academic Resume Series. We’ve covered the Resume Objective, and over the next two posts, we’ll help you with your Work Experience.

If you thought dealing with your resume objective was tough, wait until you start your work experience. This will be painful, as Arnold and I have mentioned, because you can’t talk about your publishing in depth. Here’s how to capture your teaching skills in a way that hiring managers will understand:

Get inside the head of the hiring manager. Your publications are great, but hiring managers don’t care about you. They care only about what you can do for them, so you must prove that you have skills they need.

Boil your work history into bullet points that start with action verbs. For example, here’s a glimpse of what a copywriter might say about her current job:
Copywriter/Senior Copywriter, Cookie of the Month Club, 2008-present
–Write marketing material for brochures and mailings to clients
–Write Web site content that has been optimized for search engines
–Increased response to direct mail by 5 percent
–Promoted to Senior Copywriter in 2009

More after the jump! Image from the United States Navy Department, public domain on Wikimedia Commons.
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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…)

Learning to Let Go of Your Publications

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

The psychological baggage of your CV

I wanted to follow up Caroline’s really helpful how-to’s on converting a CV into a resume by focusing on my own real-time experiences of doing just that, particularly some of the more intangible aspects of the process.  What makes turning a CV into a resume all the more difficult is the psychological baggage that goes along with it, since it can symbolize something you wish it didn’t–that you might be becoming a post-academic.  It’s not so much figuring out a new set of conventions that’s the tough part, but the self-scrutiny and rose-colored reminiscences that can really paralyze you.  Writing a resume feels like a surrendering the past to the future, when paring 5 pages down to 1 page feels like you’ve just ended up with a blank page.

Here are some of the mixed feelings I’ve dealt with in writing a resume and what I’m telling myself I need to do to thoughtfully and seriously prepare for a transition.

1. Get(ting) over it: Does shearing off all the details of your CV feel like your academic achievements don’t matter?  What exactly happened to the last 5 to 7 (to 10) years of your life?  Do your faculty recommendations even matter any more?  Going through your CV to decide what to keep (a little bit) and what to ditch (almost everything) is a daunting task, because it requires a retrospective introspection that isn’t easy, especially when you’re forced to do it.

In the post-academic’s touchstone, “So What Are You Going to Do with That?”, by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius, there’s a chapter on resumes that’s aptly titled “This Might Hurt a Bit,” which offers great how-to advice on shaping a resume out of CV.  But more important than the nuts-and-bolts of the process (though the list of resume verbs on to use on 110-11 is pretty great), Basalla and Debelius get you into the right mindset with some tough love.  According to them, the editing process involves some cuts that’ll sting.  But, for your own sake, leave off the following (109-10):

See the list and more after the jump…

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Last week on Post Academic (3/21-3/27)

Posted in Housekeeping by Arnold Pan on March 28, 2010
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Thanks to all the readers for making this another great week for us at Post Academic!  Here are some of the posts from the past week that might have been lost in the shuffle or have cycled off the front page by the end of the week.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

* Caroline offers some real-life hands-on advice on how to write a resume and how to get paid (if you’re a freelancer, that is).

* While Arnold takes Caroline’s real-life hands-on advice, he’s still dithering about keeping on hanging on or moving on.

* But at least health care reform passed, which should help vulnerable academics and post-academics.

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