The 55-page CV

In my "this isn't a weblog" tradition of truly random-but-interesting postings, here's one.

There's a weblog with a daily "new and improbable research" posting, courtesy of the Annals of Improbable Research, the "science humor" magazine that administers the Ig Nobel awards and is a successor to the late, lamented Journal of Irreproducible Results. (The site, Hot AIR, also lets you subscribe to the pure-text monthly mini-AIR, if you're so inclined.)

If you've heard of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists(TM), that's an ongoing AIR project.

Anyway ("Get on with it!"), one recent entry was about a psychologist (I believe) who has a 55-page curriculum vitae. The sheer length of the CV was repeated: 55 pages!

So, being in a silly mood, I clicked on the link and browsed through the CV. It's not every scientist who lists "Most productive X, 1990-1994" as one of their honors--or maybe it is. Nor, I suspect, do all prolific academics include separate lists of all the journals they've published in, with symbols denoting high-impact journals...

What I noticed right off the bat was that this academic provides each bibliographic citation in full form, repeating their name in each case, in fairly large type, and with plenty of white space before each citation--in a nice, single-column format with good wide margins.

Which is great--particularly if you are prolific (which this academic certainly is!) and want to make a point of just how prolific you are, based on the weight of your CV.

It also suggested to me that, in the unlikely event that I was ever going to go for an academic career (which, given my grand total of one BA and no higher degrees, even if the BA is from the world's second best university, seems like a pretty absurd goal), I've been doing it exactly the wrong way.

Which is to say that, if someone really wants to review my CV, I want to conserve paper--and the current version is 17 pages long. I get there by:

  • Using a two-column format for speeches and publications
  • Using small type for speeches and publications
  • Only including author information for multi-author publications
  • Leaving no vertical space at all before citations, using a hanging-indent style to separate them
  • For multiple publications within a single periodical in a single year, stacking the citations to minimize redundant information.
  • Leaving out all "internal" work, even if it results in generally-available publications (that is, I don't include any articles for RLG Focus and the like, much less internal committee reports). (Confession: That's more because I've never kept records, particularly from UC days, tnan it is nonexistent modesty.)

How long would this CV be if I adopted this prolific academic's conventions? I have no intention of trying--that would be work--but I'd guess at least 34 pages. No additional info, but a lot of additional paper.

On the other hand, I could do a properly academic CV, listing only book chapters, scholarly monographs, and refereed papers. That would be real short! (I think there have been three refereed papers, certainly no scholarly monographs, and no chapters in what I'd consider to be scholarly monographs.) Two pages would probably do nicely. I'm persistent; I'm not scholarly.

Now, as to a resume: I have no idea how to prepare an appropriate one. If I ever go job hunting, I'll have to beg for help.

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