Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Preparing a CV

Your curriculum vitae (or CV) is your academic resume.

Format. If your CV doesn’t look like everyone else’s—for instance, if it’s got colors on it, or an unusual font, or a list of your hobbies and non-academic summer jobs—it will make you look out of touch with the profession. Go to the PhilJobs appointment page (, download the CVs of some successful job-seekers, choose one, and use it as the model for your CV. You should also make sure the CV is easy on the eyes.

Length. There’s nothing wrong with a short, crisp CV. Resist the urge to list every little detail about the conferences you attended—the exact date of the talk, the city, your commentator and chair, your abstract, etc. This will just look like an attempt to fatten up your CV and will annoy search committee members. I would again recommend consulting the CVs of a handful of successful job seekers to get a sense of what a CV ought to look like.

AOS. Your AOSs are your areas of specialization. These are areas in which you are actively researching and expect to be able to publish. It’s common to list two, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to list only one. Don’t list more than two. And flip through the PhilJobs postings to make sure the AOSs you list match the AOSs that departments advertise for: for example, departments advertise for positions in ethics, not Kantian ethics; metaphysics, not metaphysics of modality; and 19th and 20th century continental, not Sartre.

AOC. Your AOCs are your areas of competence. On one common understanding, listing something as an AOC means that you’re able to teach an advanced undergrad course on the topic with a moderate amount of preparation. If you’ve TA’d for early modern once or twice and/or taken a couple courses in it, that’s arguably enough for an AOC. Others have a more demanding conception on which an AOC must either be a serious secondary research interest or something you’ve actually taught as the sole instructor. More here on what an AOC is:
Some AOS/AOC combinations probably won’t help you at all on the market: you almost never see ads for positions in philosophy of language that want an AOC in political philosophy (or vice versa). Departments are often looking for AOCs connected to courses that they have to offer frequently: ancient, early modern, ethics, and logic. That said, certain AOCs that are less commonly advertised—Asian philosophy, feminism, environmental ethics, business ethics, philosophy of race—might open doors for you since fewer candidates will be a good fit for those jobs.

Works in Progress. Have a “works in progress” section on your CV where you list the titles of papers you’re working on. If one of them is under review at a journal, write “(under review)” after the title. Don’t list where a paper is under review on your CV (except perhaps if it’s been given a “revise and resubmit”). Bear in mind that schools that are considering hiring you will sometimes ask to look at some of these papers, so list something as a work in progress only if you have (or are close to having) a draft that you could circulate. Finally, don’t list works in progress and papers currently under review under Publications. (As I once heard it put, that’s like listing jobs you’ve applied for under Employment.)