CVs for Postgraduates

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This is part of our Essential Guide to Careers for Postgraduates from the University of Manchester Careers Service, dealing with Applying for Jobs. Part 1 covers CVs, Part 2 covers Covering Letters and Part 3 covers Application Forms.

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CVs for Postgraduates

  1. 1. The Essential Guide To Applying For Jobs For Postgraduates : Part 1 - CVs Elizabeth Wilkinson University of Manchester Careers Service
  2. 2. What We Will Cover <ul><li>Why You Need A Great CV </li></ul><ul><li>CV Conventions </li></ul><ul><li>Types of CV </li></ul><ul><li>Getting The Employer’s Attention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Skimmability” </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Do I Want To Read This? <ul><li>Presentation - “arms length” test </li></ul><ul><li>Content - “90 second” test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it get me interested immediately? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the good stuff on the first page? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it targeted to me? </li></ul></ul>Yes Maybe No
  4. 4. CV Conventions <ul><li>Which country? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A UK CV is different to a US CV is different to a US resume… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How long? 1, 2, 3, more pages? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Depends on the job, not the applicant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National legislation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Age, Marital status, Gender, Nationality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CV Fashions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t worry about spelling Curriculum Vitae – use your name! </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Types of CV <ul><li>Reverse Chronological (including CVs for PhD Applications) </li></ul><ul><li>Skills Based </li></ul><ul><li>Academic </li></ul><ul><li>Refer to handouts for example CVs: </li></ul><ul><li>For 1 & 2, see CVs From Scratch </li></ul><ul><li>For 1, 2 & 3, see Effective CVs For Research Students </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1. Reverse Chronological CV <ul><li>Often includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal details </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positions of Responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills eg. IT, languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References (2 referees) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. CV for PhD Applications <ul><li>Generally reverse chronological CV, emphasising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University course grades, especially later years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project/Lab work – vacations, academic projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Techniques & knowledge acquired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attendance at relevant seminars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence of original thinking and ability to work independently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest in subject, over and above coursework </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. 2. Skills Based CV <ul><li>Often includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal details </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal profile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skills Profile eg. examples of teamworking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References (2 referees) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. 3. Academic CV <ul><li>Often includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal details </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education & Prizes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research interests – past, current, future </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching & administrative experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional memberships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publications and attendance at conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References (3 referees) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Employers <ul><li>How to give them: </li></ul><ul><li>What they want </li></ul><ul><li>How they want it </li></ul><ul><li>In a way which impresses them </li></ul>
  11. 11. Targeting <ul><li>Aim at whoever is reading it </li></ul><ul><li>What do they want to know? </li></ul><ul><li>Researching jobs and employers </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for job specs, person specs </li></ul><ul><li>Web sites – recruitment, department, corporate </li></ul><ul><li>News items, recent academic publications </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to them – recruitment fairs, mutual contacts, seminars, meetings of professional associations </li></ul>
  12. 12. Your Sales Pitch : Your Postgraduate Degree <ul><li>Jobs related to topic </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Supervisor (for PhD) </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial and academic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Techniques used </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating to others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>publications, seminars, presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Jobs unrelated to topic </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could a non-specialist understand? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ How” more important than “What” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges overcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborations - how did you interact? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication - different audiences & activities? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Your Sales Pitch <ul><li>Base it on evidence of relevant skills, knowledge & experience, including : </li></ul><ul><li>Your education and research </li></ul><ul><li>Your work experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part-time student jobs relevant for jobs unrelated to postgrad degree – unless have significant work experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leisure activities/interests, work experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showing involvement with others - someone who makes things happen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eg. Time management - holding down a part-time job, getting a good 1st degree and going climbing at weekends </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Impact <ul><li>Logical structure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell the story, clear headings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t just “bolt-on” your PhD or Masters to your old CV </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Give important info plenty of space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the good stuff on the 1 st page </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep the tone upbeat and positive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Base it on achievements, not opinions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Perfect grammar and spelling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 3 strikes and you’re out” policies! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Take care over technical jargon & abbreviations </li></ul>
  15. 15. Achievements With Impact <ul><li>Use strong words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set up - founded, launched, introduced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sorted out - reorganised, resolved, transformed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Made better - simplified, eliminated, improved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quantify </li></ul><ul><li>Stress personal involvement – “I” not “We” </li></ul><ul><li>Use recent experiences – from all parts of your life </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Edit ruthlessly – don’t cram too much information on to one page </li></ul><ul><li>Line up text in columns </li></ul><ul><li>Short sentences - avoid long prose passages </li></ul><ul><li>Break up text with bullet points </li></ul><ul><li>NOT TOO MANY CAPITALS AND Changes of font </li></ul><ul><li>Use colour and shading sparingly </li></ul><ul><li>If printing, use quality A4 paper – white or cream </li></ul>“ Skimmability”

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