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Thread: CV Format

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    CV Format

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    Do you have a recommendation on the order of the various sections in one's CV (length: 2 pages)? I've been working for six years and my professional experience is more relevant than my undergraduate publications (which were in a difference discipline) and more substantive than the current project I'm an RA on. Thus, I'm inclined to put my professional experience first and then follow with publications and current research - but I know the latter weighs more for programs. Any guidance here? Thanks!

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    Re: CV Format

    You wrote that your "professional experience is more relevant". Why is that more relevant? Is it that relevant for your application, or for the school? Maybe you're trying to make your professional experience a strong selling point for your application, I don't know.

    I had something like 20 years of professional experience when I applied. But I don't think it was so relevant for my PhD application, since that's not what schools were looking for, in my opinion. So that was the last thing on my CV.

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    Re: CV Format

    Quote Originally Posted by BrazilianPhD View Post
    You wrote that your "professional experience is more relevant". Why is that more relevant? Is it that relevant for your application, or for the school? Maybe you're trying to make your professional experience a strong selling point for your application, I don't know.

    I had something like 20 years of professional experience when I applied. But I don't think it was so relevant for my PhD application, since that's not what schools were looking for, in my opinion. So that was the last thing on my CV.
    It's a good question. My professional experience dictates what, specifically I want to study so helps contextualize my research interests. Furthermore, it provides the information needed to understand subsequent sections in my CV - namely my speaking engagements (all of which are tied to my work) and some industry publications I list. The document feels a bit disjointed if I put publications (some of which are industry) above my work experience. Thus, I'm thinking that since the document is relatively short and it seems like a more logical flow to put professional experience first, I should go ahead with that. What I'm concerned about is accidentally sending the implicit message that I value professional experience over academic or don't understand the pivot that a doctoral program entails...

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    Re: CV Format

    Quote Originally Posted by wlm12 View Post
    My professional experience dictates what, specifically I want to study so helps contextualize my research interests.
    I don't think the CV is the place for that. My professional experience also defined my research interests. But my Statement of Purpose explained it, not my CV.

    When I see the CV of my professors, for example, I see what they did, their achievements, how good they are. But I still can't see what motivated them to study specific topics, as a CV is not for that.

    I followed the same reasoning for my own CV. What achievement is more important for the job I'm applying to? My professional experience, or my research experience? I think my paper presentation does a better job at showing I have the qualifications to do a PhD than my professional experience. My professional experience can explain my research interests, but show very little about my qualifications, as professional experience usually is not very relevant for PhD applications.

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    Wink Re: CV Format

    Thanks for weighing in here! I've followed your advice and placed academic achievements first. I figure if the reviewers are not willing to scroll through a 2-page CV to see the extent of my experience, I have bigger problems with my application than the ordering of sections on my CV

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    Re: CV Format

    I don't think graduate programs expect you to be able to fill up an academic CV, so I think it's okay to use the format of a non-academic resume or an academic CV. That being said, I think if the work experience is just to show topical interest, that's better showcased in an SOP than a CV.

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    Re: CV Format

    Quote Originally Posted by wlm12 View Post
    Thanks for weighing in here! I've followed your advice and placed academic achievements first. I figure if the reviewers are not willing to scroll through a 2-page CV to see the extent of my experience, I have bigger problems with my application than the ordering of sections on my CV
    I wouldn't expect them to look closely at your whole CV even if you're an all-star applicant. I think if there are things you really want to emphasize, make sure to put them in the SOP since it will be more closely read.

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