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How to be an Academic Superhero

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay

In universities across the world, academics struggle to establish and sustain their careers while satisfying intensifying institutional demands. Drawing from the author’s decades of observation and experience in academia, this exceptional book responds to the challenges of fostering and sustaining a successful academic career.
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Chapter 5: Prepare a good CV

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay


Across your career you will do a great deal: write papers, give presentations at professional conferences, perform significant and not-so-significant service roles and so on. It is vitally important that you keep a comprehensive and detailed record of these activities (see Box 5.1). This record, your CV (curriculum vitae, or résumé), can serve as the basis for evidence claims when you respond to criteria associated with promotion, grants and job applications.1 While your master CV may include details extending to all the professional development classes you have attended or led and seminars you have presented as well as the more significant items that appear in most forms of your résumé (e.g., books written, journal editorial boards), for many purposes such an inclusive document may shroud some of the most relevant matters you wish a grant reviewer or prospective employer to know about you. So, use your master CV as the resource from which you extract details to produce shorter tailor-made résumés for specific purposes such as applying for a grant or award or to accompany a book proposal to a publisher. Shape your résumé to meet the precise objectives of what is required.

Aside from serving as a record of activity, your master CV can also function as a helpful diagnostic tool for professional development, revealing those areas where you have particular strengths or where some improvement is required. For example, a master CV documenting your achievements against the...

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