Helpful Resume Tips for PhD’s
So, you’ve graduated with a PhD? After years of uncertainty, hard work, often teaching undergraduates on a shoestring stipend, you must be pleased with yourself but also now, frustrated by the relative paucity of academic jobs (in a number of fields). Actually, tenure-based jobs have declined every year since ’08, meanwhile, the number of newly qualified doctoral candidates continually rises, leading to the number of PhD’s being roughly double that of open positions, according to Inside Higher Ed.
What can do you do? Should you also expand your search into industry jobs in your field? The short answer is yes. Economic realities in a multi-polar world of shifting geopolitical influences in this young century mean you can never let any opportunity go to waste.
Some PhD students’ find that their downtime taken is consumed carefully trawling job postings, writing, and sending applications for these postings. They probably spend little time, if any, networking with those in their field. Instead, a job search strategy that is available to network is vital to land a new position.
Simply feeding your past into the storage unit of a millions-strong online database like LinkedIn and waiting will be found wanting as a tenable strategy; you will very rarely be returned any positive communication.
At the absolute bare minimum — which is not something you want to do — it is worth setting up keyword alerts and signing up for email job notifications in your chosen field or sub-fields — the main part of your job search strategy, again, should be networking in order to be in line for those job referrals. This is where you can really excel.
PhD Resume Samples
Unlike much else you would have written in the last few years; your resume is not a peer-reviewed document. It’s a compelling document intended to establish the fact you’re most aptly qualified and prepared for a given role. Of course, this doesn’t mean embellishing or falsifying your resume, but it does mean that experiences and accomplishments are positioned according to the result/learning objectives you achieved in order to find a very tight fit for the desirable and essential aspects of the job description and you.
Examples of good post-PhD or post-doc (or post-post-doc) resumes can be found plentifully online, some of which more questionable than others. While not necessarily a gold standard, some of the criteria for quality in the post-PhD resume can be found from Harvard here.
They suggest appropriate action verbs, formatting, and style options, as well as clarify how a CV is different from a resume. When it comes to industry, however, no one wants to consume a CV. In fact, if you submit a CV, your document will make friends with the trash can. A resume must therefore be concise.
Remember, your resume’s ability to land you an interview might be said to only as good as your networking abilities, both offline and on, as well as a host of other attitudinal, socio-economic, and behavioral factors.
A softly-focused woman in a graduation cap and gown spies out of a telescope (CC-licensed).
How to List PhD in Progress on a Resume
There are many, obvious ways to list PhD in Progress on a resume — this article’s intention is not to patronize you by listing them to you. After all, you have made it this far in your educational career.
However, some hopefully valuable crucial do’s and don’ts:
- If you’re still pursuing a degree, do it make clear that your education is in progress, in reverse chronological order (most recent first) including a detailed exposition of your current research, followed by a brief mention of master’s and bachelor’s degrees, ideally making links between all three).
- Don’t lead with the education section of your resume if you have more than five years of experience in the workplace. Those interested in hiring you will be just as interested, if not more so, in your work history and what you learned about the successes in your career than in your journey through writing essays in higher education. It is also worth saying that if you have resided at multiple institutions to earn your degree — either for a visiting year or semester or because of transference — only write the institution that awarded you the degree.
- However, if it’s the case you possess not as much as five years of experience working, there isn’t a compelling case to include the date you acquired your degree within the education section of a resume. Practical experience is an important supplement in higher education.Do lead with educational history in an academic or scientific resume though as these domains tend to be more interested in your educational experience (including additional and/or summer experience, internships, etc.) Do list degrees with more senior degrees first. Doctoral or terminal degrees should not be listed at the end.
About the Author
Dustin Flick is a career coach in training that helps people clarify and execute their career goals. Almost all of his clients need help with their resume so he’s researched dozens of resume writers and compiled a hand-selected list of the top-rated resume writing services, which he can feel comfortable referring his clients (and everyone else) to.