Ideas for Enriching Your Academic CV as a Graduate Student

By Sofia Kousi

Karen Kelsky, the author of the popular The Professor is In book, advises Ph.D. students to (pro)actively plan their graduate school years in such a way that they have one new element to add to their CV each month.

By the time the student graduates, they will have gradually built a solid CV which can stand out during the job search process. Planning ahead of time is important, as many elements of the academic CV, such as a paper publication, can take months to complete.

While a published paper is crucial (and for some programs a graduation requirement), it is not the only element of an academic CV. There are several things you can do as a student to enrich both your graduate school experience and your CV simultaneously.

Academic conferences, especially national ones like SPSP, offer many such opportunities, including presenting a paper or a poster, organizing a symposium, or volunteering for the professional association which organizes the conference.

Presenting a paper at a conference gives you the opportunity to showcase your work, get valuable feedback, connect with researchers with similar interests, and have your work published in the conference proceedings. Your participation and inclusion in the proceedings are both elements that are added to your CV.

Putting together a symposium is a great way to establish relationships with more senior researchers and academics, and, in addition to being included on your CV, could also lead to a collaboration or recommendation letter later on.

Volunteering with the conference organizing entity is also a good way to demonstrate your involvement and commitment in the field, and to develop your network.

Another element you can add to your CV is invited talks, which are lectures you give on a campus other than your own. Again, meeting people during conferences and talking about your work is a great way to earn an invitation to a different campus.

Finally, having teaching experience is important, especially if you want to apply to a teaching-oriented university.