Monday, September 17, 2012

More on the job search: Padding your CV

This post is not a structured guide to crafting a CV, but deals with the phenomenon that search committees refer to as “padding” your CV. Padding will not help you get short-listed for a job but it will cause the committee members to roll their eyes.

The most commonly padded category on the CV is the publication record.

Rule of Thumb: Do not make the members of the search committee have to work to figure out your publication record.

Group your publications into, at a minimum, Books and Monographs, Refereed articles and book chapters, and Non-refereed publications. Yes, your publication record might look very slim. Maybe you have no actual publications, but you are not going to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes through obfuscation.

For books/articles/chapters that are “accepted” for publication, you should include the date of acceptance; journal items of this type don’t yet have a DOI or page numbers. Journal articles that are “in press” should have a DOI and an online publication date/year, and “in print” items will have not only the year of publication but also the journal volume and issue numbers and page numbers (you should list these in chronological order by year of publication). If you have a book forthcoming you should indicate the number of manuscript or proof pages, and the number of figures and tables, if applicable, and provide the city and name of the publisher and the date of acceptance. Note that a book “under contract” is not the same thing as “published”.

If you published in a student journal, don’t claim it as a “peer-reviewed” or refereed publication unless the journal truly is refereed and everyone in your discipline knows it. Your paper may, indeed, have been reviewed by your peers (i.e., other students), but that’s not what we mean in academia. Such a paper more properly belongs in the category of “Non-refereed publications”. If the search committee members aren’t familiar with the name of the journal, they will search it out to determine the worth of the publication.

If you have submitted a manuscript but haven’t had a decision from the editor/publisher, an appropriate heading would be “Under review,” and you can include the names of authors, title, page length, and the name of the journal or publisher to which you have submitted the work.

But do not include “work in progress” as Publications. You could have a separate category called “Work in Progress”, but don’t bother to give a full title of the supposed work/s and the notation “To be submitted to Journal X.” Frankly, we won’t give a damn, and, if you list a dozen of these works in progress, “padding” certainly will rear its ugly head. My preference would be for you to forget about listing these works on your CV but to mention briefly in your cover letter that you’re currently working up two papers from your dissertation to submit for publication, say.

Have a separate category for Conference Presentations. Do not include conference presentations (whether podium or poster) as publications. If your conference paper is published in a “proceedings” volume, your paper itself probably was not refereed, but you could check with the volume editor. The proposal for the publication of the proceedings may have been vetted, but this usually depends on the publisher. In any event, for most disciplines a published proceedings paper does not belong with peer-reviewed journal articles. More likely it would belong in the category “Non-refereed publications”.

Except in some science and biomedical disciplines, published abstracts usually don’t count for much, even if they were refereed. But if you have several of them you can have a “Published Abstracts” category and can indicate parenthetically which were refereed. An alternative would be to note that the abstract was published when you list the conference presentation.

More detailed advice on how to craft a CV can be found at

1 comment:

  1. Just wondering if you could address, from the perspective of a hiring committee, whether it's good/bad/neutral/red flag to see news stories on a CV. That is, either news stories about the candidate's research or news stories in which the candidate is quoted as an expert. Are these ever appropriate for a CV? How would they be listed? Oh, and blogs as well. (Ah, the brave new world of academia online.)

    I'm, uhh, asking for a friend... yeah, that's it, for a friend. ;)