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CV Workshop

CV Workshop

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CV Workshop

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  1. CV Workshop Christina Birch and Sarah Spencer BE Writing Lab MIT Biological Engineering

  2. Agenda • Curriculum Vitae (CV) • CV basics • ACTIVITY: Fast transfer of information • Formatting • Cover letters • Formula for success • ACTIVITY: Cover letter chaos!

  3. Quick check-in • How many of you have a CV or resume? • On a scale from 1 to 10, how do you feel about it? • What are your chief concerns?

  4. Keys to successful CVs Match Quantify Invert

  5. 1. When do you need a CV? Resume CV Higher education Medical school Graduate school Research positions Government Industry Academic applications Internships Fellowships • Career fairs • Non-research positions • Non-academic positions

  6. CV vs. resume Resume CV 3-5+ pages All publications & talks List references Dynamic • 1-2 pages • Selected publications • Do not list references • Dynamic

  7. Potential pitfalls Invert Match • Not meeting basic requirements • Spelling mistakes, typos, grammar fails • Being too vague • Being a follower (“helped,” “supported”) • Burying the most important information • Irrelevant information • Fudging the format Quantify

  8. Nurture only a few applications Match • Spend a lot of time on a few applications • Plan, research, and explain the MATCH

  9. 2. Know yourself – and your audience Research the company Capture your persona Individualize your headings

  10. Research the company Match Do your research on the organization Identify their mission, values, and culture Understand individuals and roles in the organization

  11. Capture your persona Match Companies want to know: • You’re qualified • You would add value to the company culture Who are you as a person? What motivates you? Your quest is to find and show a match

  12. Individualize your headings Invert Companies want to know: • You’re qualified • You would add value to the company culture Tailor your headings to showcase: • What your employer wants to see • Your own unique skill set Research Experience Teaching Experience Leadership Work Experience Civic Patents

  13. Individualize your headings Get modular: • Keep a file with all modules, experiences • Hand-pick modules and group under tailored headings • Chronological within headings

  14. Invert

  15. Show, don’t tell Match Quantify

  16. 3. Fast transfer of information Invert • Make it easy to skim • Use power verbs • Quantify your impact Quantify

  17. Make it easy to skim Invert • Bullet points & white space • Buzzwords • Hierarchical Organization “Fitness landscape” photo TOP TOP LEFT right bottom bottom LEFT right

  18. Make it easy to skim Invert • Bullet points & white space • Buzzwords • Hierarchical Organization “Fitness landscape” photo TOP TOP LEFT right bottom bottom LEFT right

  19. Make it easy to skim Invert • Bullet points & white space • Buzzwords • Hierarchical Organization “Fitness landscape” photo TOP TOP LEFT right bottom bottom LEFT right

  20. Employ power verbs! Invert • Start each point with powerful language • Choose diverse yet relevant verbs • Use “Tense Sense!” • gecd career development handbook • thesaurus

  21. Quantify your impact • Performed research for 5 years for PhD. • Worked out weekly with the team, increased club membership, made relationships with new sponsors. • Grew organization to >350 members. • Invented novel assay for detection of 20 new proteins. • Managed 3 undergraduate students over 5 years. • Expanded club from 5 to 35 members in the first year. • Recruited $10k in new sponsorship. • Organized and led 10 practices per week. • Grew organization from 3 to 354 members. Quantify

  22. Activity Quantified Self

  23. 4. Format to communicate • Focus your template • Frame with white space • Bold for emphasis

  24. Focus your template Invert • One font, 10-12 pt. • Margins 1”, 0.5” if necessary • Number pages in header or footer – include your name! • Align text to the left for easier reading

  25. Frame with white space Invert Match A common tendency in writing and formatting CV’s is to cram as much information as possible into the page space. This makes the document unapproachable and lays all the information on the same plane of emphasis. People rarely read more than three lines. A better approach is to Use white space to showcase important information. Note this concept is more specific than ‘spreading the information out’ or ‘letting the document breathe’. White space is not only a tool to improve readability; it can be a tool to make the highest priority information stand out.

  26. Bold for emphasis Invert Match Avoid underlining Italicize sparingly Use bold-face for: • Institutions • Awards • Your name in publications • Key achievements Quantify

  27. Bold for emphasis Before After

  28. Steps to making a CV • Research your target • Create your persona • Organize your information • Quantify your impact

  29. COVER LETTERS What’s the purpose? The cover letter formula Make the match

  30. Cover letters make the connection Match • Demonstrate deep understanding of the organization • Research the company • Know their values • Lift their language • Explain the match • Convey your personality

  31. The cover letter formula Match • I am writing to express interest in… • I am interested in the position because… • This may be a great match because… • I look forward to next steps…

  32. Activity Cover letter chaos!

  33. The cover letter formula Match • I am writing to express interest in… • I am interested in the position because… • This may be a great match because… • I look forward to next steps…

  34. The cover letter formula Invert Formal letter format Interest in position Understand the organization culture and position Explain why you’re a great match Close & Next Steps

  35. Potential Pitfalls • Not a CV! • Emphasize factsin the CV –matchin the cover letter • Inappropriate language • Forward • Flowery • Technical jargon

  36. Keys to success Match Quantify Invert