Karen Kelsky

Founder and President at The Professor Is In

The Professor Is In: Can a CV Be Too Long?

Full 05262014 proust

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What is the maximum length for a CV? And how should your CV differ if you are applying for an administrative job at an academic institution? For example, how interested would the search committee be in my teaching experience if I am applying to become director of a center, with no teaching responsibilities?

There’s no maximum CV length—unless one has been mentioned explicitly in the job ad or grant-application instructions.

(Lengths will be specified for certain types of grant applications. If you have to construct a two-page CV for a grant application—not the topic of this question—please refer to my blog post, How Do You Make a "Short" CV?)

Now, in terms of CV’s for administrative jobs on campuses—well, those can be standard CVs. There is no reason to remove your teaching, publications, or conference appearances for this application. After all, they probably want a Ph.D. as director of the center, and want to know that the director has a legitimate scholarly background.

However, in addition to all that standard academic content, you’ll also want to be sure that you have sections showing your administrative experiences, both in the academy and outside, where appropriate. Experience managing personnel and budgets is particularly critical, and of course grant-writing and fundraising skills are other crucial elements for any director position. If you have experience in alumni relations, that deserves a heading.

Your goal here is to demonstrate that you can manage large projects, people, and budgets; work on deadline; and understand chains of command, university rules, and policies. These are the core elements of an administrative record, above and beyond your basic Ph.D. research, writing, and analytical skillz.

I’ve been offered a tenure-track at a selective liberal-arts college. While I’m not excited about how much they offered, it isn’t that bad either. It is nine months paid over 12, so I don’t need to worry about summer pay. However, would negotiating for extra courses (say, 15 instead of the standard 12 credits, or summer classes) be acceptable? I’m not averse to working more if it means a bit more in my paycheck.

In general, course overloads and summer teaching are not things that are negotiated when you’re hired. These are things that arise on an ad hoc or seasonal basis. When an opportunity arises, you can usually just request to do them. At some point, probably in early spring, the department head will put out a call for summer classes, and interested faculty will just volunteer.

I wouldn’t waste valuable negotiating capital on this element. Instead, I’d ask for summer salary—usually calculated as one-ninth of your annual salary—as a top-off for your first summer or two. And consider other types of non-recurring financial perks that will ease strain on your wallet, like conference-travel allotments, moving expenses, research funding, and so on.

It’s a SLAC, so chances are the pockets there won’t be hugely deep. But every little bit helps, right?

Dear Readers: Have a question about the academic job market and/or professionalization? Send it to me! I welcome any and all questions related to the job market, preparing for the job market while in graduate school, coping with the adjunct struggle, and assistant professorhood. Send questions to me at gettenure@gmail.com.

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