Resumes might be easier to write, but a great curriculum vitae might be the best way to get the attention of a Selection Committee – and get an interview.
A solid transcript is important. A personalized cover letter is even more crucial. But the right curriculum vitae (or CV) can say more than a transcript or a cover letter can. Yes, a cover letter for a teacher as well as a personal essay writer is extremely important, because it shows how well the applicant can write and communicate and, of course, solid coursework and good grades demonstrate the potential of the candidate.
But what makes a CV so great is that the applicant can tailor it to show off what he believes are his strong points. A resume can function similarly, but sometimes people expect certain information in a resume. CVs are more flexible.
Choose CV Categories with Care
CVs can have multiple categories, and they certainly should contain the information that the prospective professor thinks highlight her education, her writing abilities, and her experience. Again, the flexibility of one’s CV is what makes it a great tool.
An applicant should always include her name and her contact information, including an address, phone number (landline, cell phone, and possibly work phone), and at least one email address. Education and teaching experience should also be included, as Selection Committees will be interested in that information.
One’s education section should include the name of the school, the degree earned (MA, for example) and the year, one’s major(s), and any honors or distinctions. Also, if the student had to write a thesis or dissertation, that information would be helpful here, along with the name of one’s thesis advisor. Teaching experience should include the name of the school(s), course(s) taught, and several sections of each course taught.
Other categories that applicants may want to use include the following:
- Areas of expertise
- Awards and honors
- Certifications and/or licenses
- Non-teaching experience (if relevant)/related experience
- Professional development
- Professional writing experience (a steady writing job)
- References (if not included on one’s application)
- Relevant coursework (highlighting particular relevant classes)
- Skills and qualifications (not mentioned in other categories)
- Teaching philosophy
- Volunteer work (especially if it is related to the position)
Make the Chosen Categories Relevant
Applicants should choose particular categories that will show off what they have to offer to the university to which they are applying. For example, if an applicant chooses to use the “Areas of Expertise” category, he needs to highlight any particular affinities or talents he has, especially if they are important regarding the job he’s applying for. If an applicant is applying to be a History Professor, for instance, and he has extensive knowledge about the American Civil War, it might be a good idea to highlight that information under this category.
Applicants shouldn’t use categories in their CVs that don’t highlight something impressive about the job they are applying for. For example, if an applicant decides to include non-teaching experience, she must demonstrate why the Selection Committee even needs to be aware of it. For example, if a person is applying to teach pre-law, she should include experience she gained as a law clerk. Or if someone worked as a newspaper reporter for two years and is applying to teach journalism classes, this non-teaching experience is important to highlight. In many instances, real-world experiences add validity to one’s teaching credentials.
Including publications is important, no matter what position one is applying for. Being published shows that an instructor is respected by his peers in the field and that his observations matter. It shows him as motivated and as a leader. Some universities will not even consider an applicant who hasn’t been published.
The most important idea to keep in mind is for the applicant to make each category work. If one chooses a category, she needs to show her potential employer how she excels in each of these areas.
A Solid CV Can Open the Door to an Interview
A good CV can take days or weeks to put together and polish, but once an applicant is happy with the overall look and “feel” of his CV, he needs only add to it from one semester to the next as his experience grows.
The resume to a degree and certainly the application will show much of the more mundane information a hiring university will need to know; a CV should be polished and professional and include information not found elsewhere. Ultimately, the CV’s goal is to make a Selection Committee think, “We have to call this person in for an interview.” That’s why a solid CV is important: its job is to get the applicant an interview, the first big step that leads to getting a job.
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