Posts Tagged ‘resume’

Revealing Resumes

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Student confabulist Adam Wheeler has been in the news for faking his way into Harvard. Proof of his exaggerations and prevarications came on his resume, which claims authorship of six books and mastering of Classical Persian.

While I cannot condone lying about credentials, Wheeler’s resume is instructive in another way. His formatting exemplifies good resume practice. The font is clear and legible. The categories are logically labeled. The most important information comes first.

He avoids other common pitfalls of resume writing. The dates appear on the right, which effectively emphasizes the (embellished) achievements, not the years he accomplished them. Wheeler also gives explanatory text for institution-specific awards. This helps contextualize honors unfamiliar to many outside Harvard.

The resume is also notable for what it leaves out. It doesn’t say “Resume” on the top. It doesn’t say “Reference furnished upon request,” both phrases are pointless. He doesn’t include irrelevant personal information. If any good came from Wheeler’s deception, it is the reminder of how to put together a resume that gets you noticed.

Vital Vitae

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Because so much of professional advancement hinges on the academic biography, for my first post,  I'd like to focus on what makes for a strong CV. This serves a secondary purpose of introducing myself.

Curriculum vitae translates to "course of life" and should provide a snapshot of the accomplishments over your professional life. Like a good biography, it should be told chronologically but without too much emphasis on dates. On my CV, I group my activities by importance so that publications appear on the first page and service last.

CVs can be any length and typically grow as a career advances. Resumes, on the other present a one-page snapshot. They should display more visual flair than CVs, including bullet points, bold text, and action verbs. When I transitioned from traditional faculty to administrator, I converted my CV into a more succinct resume.

For more examples, I recommend the CV Doctor on the career site of the Chronicle of Higher Education.