Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So you want to pad your dossier

I've been thinking about professional/intellectual fraud of late, particularly in the wake of the Jonah Lehrer kerfuffle. ( (It's really more of a scandal than a kerfuffle, but I just really like the word "kerfuffle.") This being the pre-job season when you are all perfecting your dossiers (you're doing that NOW, right?), it got me to thinking about embellishments in job applications.

One of the things I really needed help with when I was first on the market was constructing my CV. And I found that everyone who advised me had different opinions and preferences about constructing an ideal CV. But one bit of advice was universal:

Do not pad your CV. Don't even do anything that might look like padding.

Often this would come up in the context of things that I wasn't exactly sure how to list. Say, do I put the postdoc under Employment, under Awards, or under Education? (How about all three?) I was advised to be careful about how I listed pubs, distinguishing peer reviewed from non-PR'd, not listing WIPs that might not be very much in progress. That kind of thing.

It's not just the CV that can be padded, of course. The temptation is sore, oh so very sore, to embellish in your cover letter (unless you're the sort who writes the one-sentence cover letter), or teaching statement, or research statement. Pretty much any part of the dossier can be "enhanced" to try to convince the SC that you are indeed the ideal candidate, the one who's got everything they're looking for in one sparkly package.

So, last year, there was a search at my school (in another department). The department was looking for a candidate with very specific experience. They brought a couple of candidates to campus, and during the course of interviews, found one of them to be rather cagey about his experience. So cagey that the department chair pressed him harder on it. And he eventually fessed up, that he didn't actually have the experience they were seeking. Needless to say, the department was not pleased. Furious would be an apt description. They had wasted time and their limited search funds to bring this person to campus, which ultimately made it impossible to bring another, qualified candidate to campus.

So padding your dossier, perhaps not such a good thing. Unethical and imprudent. If you're caught in the lie, you'll make enemies of people in your discipline. You might cost another, legitimately qualified, deserving candidate a shot at a job. Yet some people obviously do it, on the chance that they can fake it well enough to get hired. I would think that SCs would be fairly good at spotting some kinds of padding, but it would probably be hard to spot the competent yet deceptively enhanced letter or TS or RS. I've never personally heard of anyone padding successfully, and getting hired, but that doesn't mean it has never happened. Has it?



Anonymous said...

Some people are better than others at picking up padding, and it sometimes happens (in my limited experience serving on 2 SCs) that SC members can have very different thoughts about possible padding. From what I have seen, and what I have heard about from colleagues in other departments, newer faculty are more likely to believe the applicants, and older faculty are more likely to consider something padding.

My department hired someone a few years ago, and some now claim that she was padding her materials, making herself seem more qualified in an area than she really was. Honestly, I don't think she was padding, or even trying to deceive. I think she really didn't know just how weak she was in that area, and it wasn't until she was asked to teach in that area that we all (she included) discovered that she was woefully underprepared.

I am concerned for her when she comes up for tenure, because some of my colleagues feel she misled us. She has worked on that area, and has improved, but I don't know if my colleagues see that, or even care.

Anonymous said...

the story would be more useful if it actually provided the relevant details. what was the padding that was exposed?

Anonymous said...

Padding is also undesirable because it distracts search committees away from your real strengths. Highlighting your most important publications, presentations, and awards might require excluding others on your CV. You want someone to know the important stuff you did after *glancing* at your CV.

CTS said...

I think there are some markers for what might be padding (or, just cluelessness), such as not distinguishing among types of publications or their stage of development (as Zombie notes).

The most egregious discovered case of padding I have ever seen came from one of my colleagues in his promotion file. There were claims that were just false, and we all knew it. It was very weird, as we all thought he should be promoted based on his actual achievements.

Anonymous said...


Are you looking for tips on how to successfully pad a CV, or worried that you are inflating your own achievements?

Steamboats said...

One thing that perplexes me: the rare (though not nearly rare enough) practice of listing one's dissertation, or even a master's thesis, in the publications section of a CV, even though no publisher has ever laid eyes upon it.

The fact that it has been bound by a university's binding service just doesn't cut it, for me.

Anonymous said...


I know people who list job talks and covering classes for their advisors under "Invited Lectures."

Anonymous said...

Are you looking for tips on how to successfully pad a CV, or worried that you are inflating your own achievements?

need more details to say for sure.

Anonymous said...

The most egregious sort of padding I've seen, and more than once, is listing everything under the sun under your AOC. If I see a list of 8-10 areas in one's AOS/AOC which cover most areas in philosophy I don't think you're some philosophical polymath. I think you are either completely not clear what an AOS/AOC is or are full of shit. Neither of which makes me think well of your dossier.

Anonymous said...

7:42: and why wouldn't you list job talks (real, not practice ones) under 'invited lectures'? You are invited, as one of three or four from a pool of possibly 200, to give a talk at people who are (or pretend to be) interested in hiring you.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see the problem with having job talks listed or with having classes lectured in listed - even if it was covering for your advisor, particularly early in your career. It's still a lecture you've prepared (maybe I'd feel differently if you didn't do any preparation for it, but just read your advisor's notes) and shows that you can teach that topic. That said, it should go under "invited lectures" in your teaching section and not "presentations" - talks given at conferences or colloquia - maybe that's what 7:42 is objecting to?

Anonymous said...

"I was advised to be careful about how I listed pubs, distinguishing peer reviewed from non-PR'd"

What do you all think is the best way to do this? I distinguish between articles and book chapters, but don't indicate whether something was peer reviewed or not. The primary reason is that I'm not sure what to do with invited papers that were also peer reviewed. My impression is that peer reviewing for invited papers isn't as stringent; but, at the same time, they are peer reviewed. So maybe it is best to mark both invited and peer reviewed? That seems strange, however, since pretty much every paper will get at least one mark. And then there are cases that I wouldn't be sure how to classify: For example, the PSA proceedings issue of Philosophy of Science, where the submissions are peer reviewed, and only a portion of those accepted for presentations are accepted for the special issue. Is the resulting publication invited? Peer reviewed? Should it be marked in another way?

I expect I'm over thinking things, but the end result is that I've just listed articles and book chapters without further marking them. And yet I would like to avoid being thought of as padding my CV.

Anonymous said...


I think you're right that listing many areas in your AOS/AOC combination looks suspicious. But what if, on the other hand, your Ph.D. granting institution required you to independently teach a vast array of classes in all the likely areas (Ethics, Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Logic, Ancient Philosophy)? If you then go on to specialize in a different area, you ARE capable of teaching a lot of courses (and have the information in the Teaching section of your CV, as well as course materials on hand, to back it up). This assumes, of course, that independently teaching an intro level class well gives you enough of a sense of how you would teach an upper level undergrad class, which I take to be the minimum requirement for listing an area as your AOC. Or do you think that this misunderstands the AOS/AOC distinction?

imprecise said...

On listing job talks as invited talks -- I submitted this very question to the CHE's "careers" forum. Folks were almost unanimous in their opinion that one should _not_ list job talks as invited talks. I asked why, and never got a good answer. It may just be convention. Even so, it's worth noting. (The responses were from people in different disciplines, in case you're unfamiliar with the forum.)

Xenophon said...

I'd also be interested in more details about this case you mention in the other department. As others have pointed out, a lot of padding is in the eye of the beholder. I also think it's important to distinguish between making things up or misrepresenting them); not making distinctions others would like to see; and listing irrelevancies. To my mind, padding is the last of these; the first is the most problematic, and padding just is an indication that a person is embarrassed by his honest CV.

I think double-publishing one paper in two places, but listing them separately on a CV, falls into the category of making things up, the same as listing a publication that doesn't exist. An example of padding would be listing a lecture given to an undergraduate philosophy club as an invited lecture -- true, and maybe something that could be listed under "service," but really too trivial to count as anything more than being a good citizen.

But since different people have very different ideas of what constitutes an AOS/AOC, I'm very skeptical of people who get all high and mighty about whether someone deserves to list modern philosophy or the philosophy of mind, or whatever. My view is, if I'm given an assignment in March to teach a course in the fall, and I can prep sufficiently over the summer to teach it well, then I can count it as an AOC.

I also think a competently trained philosopher should be able to teach a first course in any major subfield (at a minimum, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ancient, modern).

Anonymous said...

i'm curious about research and teaching statements. does one typically submit two separate documents for these? can one provide a single statement that addresses both areas?

how do these statements differ from a cover letter? i assume that a teaching statement will fall within one's teaching portfolio and so will not be equivalent to a cover letter. but what does this mean for the research statement?

my sense was that a cover letter (or an ideal cover letter) would, in addition to showing that one has some familiarity with the department and university, provide a brief window onto one's teaching and research practices. but is it typically expected that a job applicant will submit a separate and more detailed exposition of one's research practices? is providing a CV as well as one or more writing samples not sufficient for this purpose?

lastly, do job announcements and application procedures do one the favor of clarifying any of these concerns?

zombie said...

11:21 -- my practice was this: if the job ad specificlly requested a research and/or teaching statement, I would send these, with little more than a cursory statement in my cover letter about my teaching and research experience. If a job ad did not request these documents, that cover letter would contain a much longer and more detailed discussion of my teaching and research. Further refinements included emphasizing teaching more than research for positions that are clearly teaching-oriented, and vice versa.

This is why I had multiple versions of my cover letter ready to go, to be further tailored to the specific job ad.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about graduate student conferences. Is it padding to list these?

Anonymous said...

thanks, zombie. that all sounds pretty reasonable.

anon 11:21

Anonymous said...

11:21 :

My understanding is: the teaching statement is usually the centerpiece of the teaching portfolio (i.e., whatever collection of documents one submits in order to demonstrate "teaching excellence"). Its purpose is to demonstrate that you've thought about your teaching practices and that you're able to say something about why you teach the way you do (while still communicating your eagerness for mentoring and further pedagogical training, &c.).

The research statement, meanwhile, is a separate document account of your future plans as a researcher. Whereas other parts of the dossier (CV, writing samples, &c.) speak to what you have done, the aim of the research statement is to say what you plan to publish in the near-, middle-, and longer-term future (roughly, between now and a hypothetical tenure decision), respectively. My understanding is that while no one will ever fault you for including a teaching statement, sending a research statement to a school that places a heavy emphasis on teaching can definitely hurt your chances (because it makes you look like someone who will be miserable in the job and who will bolt at the first opportunity to go to a research-focused school).

So, I'd say: write up a teaching statement and send it along with your teaching portfolio (with syllabi and evals) to pretty much any job you apply for. No-one will fault you for doing this, and if you can figure out how to explain your teaching in a substantive and non-cliched way, it will make you look good to anyone. Then (provided you have something compelling to say) write up a research statement and send it to every school you apply for that asks for it, *OR* that seems to you to value research excellence. Then devote your cover letters, as much as possible, to making the case for your fit with the specific institutions. I wouldn't specifically try to replicate the content of the teaching or research statements in the cover letter, except insofar as including those details speaks to why the job in question is one you are particularly qualified to fill. (Going on at length about your teaching in an application to a department with a doctoral program and a heavy emphasis on research output may rub the SC the wrong way, for example)

Obviously, that kind of school-specific tailoring is a tall task if you are sending out a massive number of applications. But I guess one option is to write a short, form cover letter for schools that seem like more of a reach, and write tailored cover letters when you actually have something meaningful to say about why you would be an especially good choice for that school, given its type/values/mission/all that rot.

Anonymous said...

thanks, anon 1:23, that was extremely helpful.

anon 11:21

Anonymous said...

I have a tangentially related question I was hoping you smokers could answer: Say I published a paper or two (in respectable places) that was not in philosophy, it was in say sociology, or women's studies, or religious studies, or math. Let's assume, as is the case, that I otherwise know very little about that field, except for the isolated clever idea I managed to get some journal editor to accept. Or let's say I published fiction. Does any of that go on a philosophy CV edged in between my meager selection of philosophy article and book reviews?

Anonymous said...

"Folks were almost unanimous in their opinion that one should _not_ list job talks as invited talks. I asked why, and never got a good answer. It may just be convention."

Because it's part of a job interview, and not an invitation based on your contributions to the field. You are "invited" to give a "talk" as part of a process to determine whether or not you are worth hiring. That's not the same as being asked to deliver a lecture to a community of scholars (at a university, conference, etc.).

Let's say you interview for a job at Rutgers, and don't get it. You then list the job talk as an "invited lecture." The next year, you apply to my school. Curious, I might call my friend at Rutgers and ask about the situation, how and why they invited you to lecture on that topic at that university. I'll be rather disappointed to find out you were a job candidate, and one who didn't get the job.

Here's a good analogy. You may hit a lot of home runs in batting practice, but they don't count toward your season stats.

zombie said...

I remember being told this by one of the placement advisors in my dept: It is assumed that, as a PhD holding philosopher, you are competent to teach intro to anything. Those are not considered AOCs. An AOC is something you could teach at a graduate level. So those undergrad courses you taught in Intro to ___ don't count as evidence of an AOC.

(I suppose this might be judged differently in a dept without a grad program.)

zombie said...

There are several different types of publications, and they can and should be distinguished on the CV, lest it appear you are padding. I was advised to create separate sections for listing: Papers (refereed); Papers (non-refereed); Other essays, articles and online publications; Encyclopedia entries; and Book reviews. So I did.

I only have one category for Conferences & Presentations, and they are all listed in chronological order. But they indicate where and to whom I was speaking, so anyone reading them ought to be able to sort out the refereed conference talks from the Graduate Philosophy Prize lecture, etc. (I have never listed job talks)

CTS said...

Zombie at 8:04:

I think SLACs and other primarily undergrad intitutions think of AOC as something the candidate can teach at an upper level (and not just after a summer's work). Also, possibly, as an area in which one might do some publishing/presentations.

I agree with all who say that job interview presentations should not be listed at all - certainly not as 'invited talks.'

As for 'non-philosophy' publications (or talks), I think some judgment is needed. Do you want to dilute your PHL cv with material that might not be taken seriously by SCs? To answer that, one might consider these questions:

Do you have such a solid PHL publishing/presentation record that you can afford to have the 'extras' taken as 'other interesting stuff I do,' or is your including such material going to be perceived as either indiscriminate or padding? Have you constructed your cv so that it is clear to readers that you can distinguish between PHL work and other work (especially fiction)? Is your non-PHL work published in high quality journals/of high quality in itself?

My own view is that one should not include mcun, if any, non-PHL work on the cv until one is so established that this can be read as 'willing to branch out' rather than as 'lacks rigor/has no sense of discipline-internal standards.'

sr guy said...

4:35, I think that's a mistake.

You are "invited" to give a "talk" as part of a process to determine whether or not you are worth hiring.

But you actually are invited, and you are invited to give a talk. The scare quotes are out of place.

The batting practice analogy seems inapt to me. For one thing, batting practice doesn't count! And not just anyone gets to give a job talk at Rutgers. (Indeed, as it happens I have given a colloquium talk at Rutgers, but they've never been interested in hiring me, so I'm inclined to think being invited to give a job talk there is at least as flattering as being asked to give a regular colloquium.)

My opinion in brief: I can see listing job talks under Invited, or in a separate section, both reasonable, and I think that given how opaque our conventions are it is a bad error to hold a perceived violation against a job candidate.

CW said...

On AOC's:

Dissertation area is AOS. Capable of teaching grad classes in area. Publishes in area.

Capable of teaching a grad class for AOC's may be a bit too demanding? But if X is an AOC, you should be able to teach a solid 3rd/4th year class. This means more than "I can stay ahead of the students on the reading schedule."

For AOC, you should have some good sense of the field, even if you're not up to speed on cutting edge stuff. You should be able to explain why you're using this book instead of that one, or why you're covering the topics/figures you're covering and not others. I've been asked these things in interviews.

You aren't expected to be an expert in an AOC, but you better be *good* at it. If it's not my AOC, you should be able to tell me a few things I can't learn by simply perusing a few tables of contents in some textbooks. You need to know a bit more than that.

One guy told me not to list something as an AOC unless I had published in that area. Everyone else said that was wrong, too demanding.

Another guy told me to list something as an AOC if I had significant grad school training in it. In my case, I took four separate semester-long grad classes in Modern (Descartes, Rationalists, Empiricists, and Kant), so I was advised to list that as an AOC, even though I had never taught the class or published in the area. (Modern interests me, but it is not my AOS.)

Last: don't list something as an AOC unless you actually want to teach it. This is a problem more often than some realize.

CW said...

On padding:

Grad conferences mean nothing to me, but this doesn't seem like padding. It does suggest lack of experience or youth.

Job talks are not invited lectures, but they can be put down as other presentations.

Someone told me he had presented at every APA for the past three years. People were impressed, assuming he meant main program. Nope. CV showed that most presentations were Society of X, of which this guy was VP or Pres during the three years. Verbal padding.

Papers submitted to journals are not publications, but work in progress. Papers submitted to conferences are not presentations, but work in progress. Padding.

If you list all publications under one heading, clearly label them. E.g.:

"Thoughts on X." Journal of A. Refereed.

"Thoughts on Y." Proc. of Y Soc. Refereed Conference Proceedings.

"Why A is B." ABC Phil Rev. Proceedings from refereed conference.

"Why A is not C." Book on C. Non-refereed.

If I can't tell whether something is refereed, or what refereed means on your CV, I start to wonder about it.

CW said...


"Why A is not C." Book on C. Non-refereed.

Refers to a non-refereed, invited chapter in book on C.

(Just to be clear.)

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why you shouldn't put job talks under invited talks. A department has invited you to give a talk on the basis of the quality of your work. Who cares whether is is part of a process that may or may not end up in your being hired.

For what it is worth (quite little I presume), I put job talks on my CV and it has done little to nothing to hinder my professional success -- I have a TT job at a great place.

Also, anyone who cares about this on a CV shouldn't be on an SC. Unfortunately, reading this blog has convinced me that SCs are often populated with individuals who care about the least significant things possible.

Anonymous said...

While it makes sense to leave certain things off your CV, is it ever the case that omissions seem odd or misleading? Say, if the SC does a Google or database search on your name, or happens to run across a scholarly article in a different field or grad student journal online. Maybe there aren't any plausible cases here. I just wonder if anyone's seen people cut too much.

Anonymous said...

So here's the problem: you don't want the SC member with very high standards for what counts as an AOC to think you're padding your CV, and you also don't want the SC member with very low standards for what counts as an AOC to think you're underprepared for (or uninterested in) the teaching responsibilities you might wind up with in their department.

Well, a little creativity is all you need: instead of tinkering with your lists of areas, tinker with your descriptions of those lists. For example, make three lists (AORS, AORC, AOTC, say) instead of two. Or give your AOC list a more informative label or subtitle or gloss.

Anonymous said...

What this thread tells me is that there is no agreement on what counts as padding. So, I say, paint yourself in an as flattering light as possible. Others can decide whether, for example, a presentation at an undergraduate philosophy club is irrelevant or not. Committees are not perfectly rational -- if someone doesn't like you, they'll find ways to dismiss you whether under the heading of "padding" or not.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've sat on my lips so far (and does my back ever hurt from that), but I have to say this: don't go all Alan Guth on your cv and let that sucker inflate beyond a couple of pages. When I pick up a cv that is 5-10 pages (or more) my bullshit meter flies off the scale. And my experience is that when my BS meter has been ignored and the candidate I rejected for that very reason was hired, it has been a BIG mistake. This is just anecdotal and all, but I'm just saying. I admire the kind of person who won the essay contest "Describe Yourself in 25 words or Less" with "I am concise."

Anonymous said...


Everyone here who thinks job talks should be listed on the CV, go ahead and list them. But list them *as* job talks. If you aren't comfortable enough listing them as job talks on your CV, then take them off the CV.

Xenophon said...

To those who weighed in on my AOC comment: I'll buy that. Being able to teach Intro to X isn't satisfactory.

That said, in cases where I've listed an AOC because a school listed it in the job ad, there's generally been a high enrollment course in that area that might have been intermediate in course number, but the first course in the subject; and based on their list of courses, I gather that's why they listed it. If they wanted someone to teach a lot of courses, they'd probably list it as an AOS. I've only applied for these jobs when I figured I could teach that course well, so that's why I cashed the problem out the way I did. But yeah, as a general rule I'll buy the arguments you all made. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

For me, AOS means an area figured heavily in your dissertation or that, depending on your career stage, you have an appropriate number of publications in the area. AOC means that you have actually taught a course with that or related title (or, if freshly minted PhD, that the area figures in a serious way in your dissertation and/or coursework). I never believe AOS/AOC claims without seeing evidence elsewhere on the vitae or transcripts. On a different note, I also think little of "professional association" listings. All it takes, usually, is a functional credit card to join whatever organization a candidate thinks might look good or provide the "correct" identity profile for a given job. If the candidate gave talks at an association meeting, that means something, though.

Anonymous said...

4:35pm is right. Your job talk invitations are not talks that were invited based on your contributions to the field. They are talks that were invited because you were among the self-selected group that applied for the job. The criteria for selection are different (and easier to meet, even if not easy to meet) and so to list job talks as though they were regular talks is misleading.

Anonymous said...

"to list job talks as though they were regular talks is misleading."

And intentionally misleading is perhaps the best definition of padding that's been offered so far.

Anonymous said...

Your job talk invitations are not talks that were invited based on your contributions to the field. They are talks that were invited because you were among the self-selected group that applied for the job.

They were invited because among the hundreds in that self-selected group, you were deemed one of the three or four best. So, as sr guy said, it's kind of a bigger compliment than just being asked to give a colloquium talk.

(My job talks are my only invited talks, by the way.)

I'm happy to list them separately. But how many different categories can you have before it looks ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

but what is a "regular talk"? The reasons one is invited to a departmental colloquium or a workshop are not always "contributions to the field". I have given talks at departments (as a grad student and as a TT prof) because I have friends there. Sure, if I wasn't good, I wouldn't be invited. But it is not as if departments are scanning the philosophical world indifferently just looking for the best work and inviting those people. Several of my job talks seem more legitimate than what most here would happily allow under the "invited talks" heading. Indeed, I've been invited to apply for jobs because of my "contributions to the field". These are jobs I wouldn't have applied to unless I was invited. Are these not invited talks?

You are all thinking way too hard about this. Read the writing sample. talk to the person. if they are good, then hire them. nothing under the invited talks section of a CV should matter all that much anyway.

Anonymous said...

Replying to two comments here:

1. "I'm happy to list them separately. But how many different categories can you have before it looks ridiculous?"

Perhaps now you can see the point. It does, in fact, look ridiculous.

2. "nothing under the invited talks section of a CV should matter all that much anyway"

That's an excellent argument for not putting them on the CV, but a terrible reason for including them.


This is all very amusing. Philosophy: the continuing efforts at clarity and precision...except on our CVs.

Anonymous said...

I once served on a Search Committee that received an application from someone who listed on his CV that HE ALREADY HAD THE POSITION HE WAS APPLYING FOR!

Overly confident? Not really; it turned out he'd privately arranged with the Chair to push his hire through--and was duly hired.

This, by the way, was at a R1 institution you'll have heard of.

Not that such things were unusual there--another of my colleagues received tenure the year his family Foundation made him Director (for a year!) and he donated some tens of thousands of dollars to the institution, a fact that appeared on the first page of his CV.

Anonymous said...

"1. "I'm happy to list them separately. But how many different categories can you have before it looks ridiculous?"

Perhaps now you can see the point. It does, in fact, look ridiculous."

No, I don't see the point. Unless the point is that making distinctions in the way that many are suggesting and organizing one's CV on the basis of these silly distinctions looks ridiculous.

"2. "nothing under the invited talks section of a CV should matter all that much anyway"

That's an excellent argument for not putting them on the CV, but a terrible reason for including them."

It't not a good or bad argument for doing either. The argument for putting them on the CV under "invited talks" is that they are talks and they are invited. The argumentative burden is on those who want them off. And no one has yet given a good reason.

"This is all very amusing. Philosophy: the continuing efforts at clarity and precision...except on our CVs."

Philosophy: the continuing efforts to make distinctions that no reasonable person should care about.

Ben said...

"Your job talk invitations are not talks that were invited based on your contributions to the field. They are talks that were invited" [Aug 3rd, 5:59pm]

As you say, they are talks that were invited. That sounds like sufficient reason to call them invited talks to me. In deference to your first point though, best not to list them as 'talks invited based on my contribution to the field' - just 'invited talks'.

Personally, I've given up listing any talks on my CV.

7:14 said...

7:14 here.

Perhaps now you can see the point. It does, in fact, look ridiculous.

Was someone (you?) saying earlier that it looks ridiculous to have lots and lots of categories on your CV? I'm pretty sure I am the first person to bring it up, which makes it kind of dumb for you to say that I "can now see the point".


That's an excellent argument for not putting them on the CV, but a terrible reason for including them.

The person you're responding to was not offering a reason for putting invited talks on a CV. S/he was offering a reason for not worrying about which category to put them in.

So, what exactly is your suggestion, by the way? Just leave invited talks off the CV entirely?

Anonymous said...

What do people think about giving an invited talk to one's own department? I realize that a grad student practicing her job talk isn't something that would count, but what about a faculty member who gives a colloquium talk? If that does count, would anything less be permitted to be listed on one's CV?

Anonymous said...

I was on the market ten years ago, so the advice I got may somehow be outdated. But I was told by my mentors that it's fine to list job talks on your CV -- eventually. It may be strategically unwise to list them the year after you fail to land an offer, since it amounts to disclosing where you were a failed finalist. But that will depend on your specific circumstances.

These were invited talks; people did want to hear about your research. (If all you gave was a teaching demonstration, that's different.) I don't think there's any ethical issue about listing them.

My department sometimes issues colloquium invitations to senior philosophers whom we want to check out for a possible lateral hire. Should such philosophers not list such a talk on their CVs, given that there was a possible hire in the background? Unless it's just a teaching demonstration, a job talk is like any talk about your research.

Hiring departments do want to learn about the research of young philosophers. If you get such an invitation, don't think 'Oh I'm just interviewing for a job.' Think 'What a great opportunity for discussion with people genuinely interested in my ideas!' That's often a correct description of what's going on. And if no one's actually interested in this case, well that's sometimes also true of invited talks that have nothing to do with hiring.

doris said...

IME, when one gives a job talk, one is invited to give a lecture at a philosophy department. Hard to to see what is misleading about calling it an "Invited Lecture" (Although I list all of my talks under the generic "Presentations.") You may or may not have been invited to give a talk due your "contributions to the field," but you have been invited on the strength of your work, as the result of a competitive process (often very competitive). As such, JTs look to represent credentials relevant to assessing quality/promise (at least as relevant as many other "credentials"), and are appropriately listed on CVs. Indeed, given how many talks by "grown ups" are the result of things like a friend inviting them when they happen to be town, it's arguable that JTs represent a *more* significant credential than the usual talk. In short, listing them may help, and it is far from obviously misleading, so I vote for inclusion.

One point worth making here is that highest points of your record -- teaching awards, national fellowships, well-placed pubs, etc. -- should be mentioned in *more than one place* in your file. Thus, if you've got a teaching award, it should feature in your CV, cover letter, teaching statement, and letters of rec. There's the risk of seeming like a self-promoter here, so do it graciously, but the crucial point is that files are ***skimmed***, especially early in the search, and *lots* of details get missed. To ensure your special strengths get noticed, note them in multiple areas of the file.

Very best of luck to everyone getting their files ready!!!

Anonymous said...

"What do people think about giving an invited talk to one's own department? I realize that a grad student practicing her job talk isn't something that would count."

Why not? By the logic some here are using, as long as the department issues an invitation to present a talk, then it's an "invited lecture." If the fact that it's a job talk doesn't matter, because that department issued an invitation, why should it matter that the department issuing the invitation is one's own? Presumably, one's own department won't invite someone to give such a talk without some estimation of the presenter's merit, so why not?

On that note, my friends invited me over for beers to talk to them about the article I'm working on. Time to update my CV!

Xenophon said...

You all are going to hate my saying this, but one thing I use my CV for is to keep track of things I've done. So, for example, I list all the courses I've taught. Sure, I could keep that list separately, but it's nice to have my life in one place (other than my past), and it's not worth my time to edit it down for every potential job. I'd rather spend time researching the school and writing a personalized letter.

I will say this, though: I keep the most important things on the first two pages, and if people don't read much past that, I'm fine with it. I also don't have a 10 page CV; I only record the things that I think matter.

4:15 said...

7:37, I realize you're joking, but I wouldn't count a practice job talk as an invited talk. In that scenario, it seems more like the person practicing the talk is inviting others to come watch and give her feedback.

The other scenario I was imagining is where someone is in a postdoc or VAP position and is invited to give a talk (not by her Phd granting institution but by the place where she's currently working). Listing that sort of thing doesn't seem like padding to me, provided that it's something more than, say, a presentation to the undergraduate philosophy club.

Anonymous said...

"it seems more like the person practicing the talk is inviting others to come watch and give her feedback"

Is there any other reason for giving a talk, ever?

4:15 said...

9:31, I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. I would guess that the most important kind of feedback being solicited by the person about to go on the market would have to do with the *presentation* of the talk rather than the content. I doubt many people present works in progress to their future employers (but I could be mistaken here).

Someone invited to give a colloquium talk wouldn't be looking for this kind of feedback, and it would be rude to assume that she is.

CW said...

one thing I use my CV for is to keep track of things I've done

Xenophon -- I think a lot of people do this. I do. I also have a public CV on a website. This one is much shorter than the complete CV. When I add something to the complete CV, I decide whether to add it to the public CV too.

My job market CV was a lot like my complete CV. I didn't tailor it much. FWIW, it was about six pages long.

BunnyHugger said...

Here's a well-worn debate but one I'm curious to see rehashed. Conference commentaries on the CV: yea or nay?

zombie said...

I say Nay. I've never seen it on anyone's CV. But if you are going to list it, list it as what it actually is. Maybe under "Academc Service."

Anonymous said...

Conference commentaries on the CV: yea or nay?

I've seen them on CV's. I think you might put them under "other presentations" or "service" (as Zombie suggests).

somewhat senior said...

Of course you put conference commentaries on your CV. I'm very surprised that Zombie has never seen this.
And you put them under "conference comments", of course.

This honestly seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm not on the job market and I doubt I will ever be on it again, so my CV serves a different purpose. But commenting on papers is one of my professional activities, and I think it's an important one (and yes, it does seem partly like a service to the profession, but that's too flip).

Anonymous said...

When I first applied for jobs, I thought my publications and presentations lists should be all about my research--book reviews and conference comments are (I was told) just service.

And then I was hired by a department that counted presentations and book reviews as research. Indeed, you could (in principle, at least) meet the research quota each year--and the promotion requirements in the "research" category--exclusively by means of presenting conference comments! Professional service included only such things as chairing or organizing a session or a conference, holding office in a professional organization, or serving as a referee or consultant.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'm just a grad student looking for advice.

One thing I've noticed about my peers' CVs is that some of them list all the graduate coursework they did. I've noticed this from people at my program, people applying for jobs at my program, and random CVs I've looked up. I can't imagine why anybody would care about which courses I took as a grad student, and so I haven't put them on my CV. That being said, I haven't done much, and so my CV is pretty plain (1-2 pages). Could anything be gained by adding a list of courses I've taken?

Anonymous said...

As far as I can tell, there are three reasons to list your graduate coursework, in decreasing order of importance:

(1) They provide support for your AOS/AOC claims. Of course you claim an AOC in Early Modern: you've taken grad courses on both Descartes and Kant, etc.

(2) They provide a sense of your interests outside your AOS/AOC. Perhaps you wouldn't claim an AOS in Phil Language, but you took a grad course on Kripkenstein, so you likely know some of the terrain, etc. My list included several language courses (necessary for my AOS), and one small college specifically mentioned it when asking if I'd be open to teaching an occasional language course if the need arose.

(3) Show off all the big names you've taken classes from. I'm sure some people care that you studied political philosophy with Rawls and logic with Quine.

If you do include such a list, I think everyone would agree that it belongs on the very last page of the CV by itself.

Cincinnatus C. said...

On a tangent--Aug. 4 9:31's question is one I've been mulling this year. I've really come to dislike the assumption that conference presentations are given for the benefit of the presenter--that the point of giving a conference paper is to test or improve the paper. I don't really know anything about how conferences work in the sciences, but I like to think that when scientists give conference presentations, they're presenting the results of their research for the benefit of the audience, so that the audience members will know something they didn't know before. (Actually, I have been to a few social science conference talks that were very much more like that.) I guess in philosophy we generally assume that that's what journal articles are for, not conference presentations ... and I suppose the idea (though I don't much buy it) is that we don't really know whether we've got something others can learn from until we test it out orally. But I find that this makes our conferences distasteful sometimes.

Anonymous said...

9:21, allow me to disagree with your 3 points:

1. This information is provided by transcripts. Programs who want this information will ask for it.

2. Sure, it's nice to have other interests, and maybe it comes up during the interview. But there's no need to put it on the CV in the hopes that one of your non-specialties might be of interest. (And sometimes, those questions about your interest in teaching a course outside your specialization can be traps. Saying yes sounds good, because you want to be a team player. But saying yes without also explaining that you would need time to develop such a course because it's outside your area, makes you sound uninformed, like you assume one grad class makes you qualified.)

3. They can get that information pretty easily, too. They will know the big names from your program. And if they were not the ones who wrote you letters, then subtly name-dropping them is a bad idea.

CTS said...


I think if you are newly minted (or about to be), listing your grad coursework makes good sense. Suppose you are applying to a place based on your AOS, but they also need someone to do an intro course in X. If you took several courses in X and X-related areas, this gives you a bit of credibility.

CTS said...


I think it depends on the 'level' of the conference and the participants. I do find it annoying to attend an APA invited presentation by Famous Person only to discover that they are 'trying out' something on the audience. I don't find it annoying to attend one by a junior person, especially at regional or specialist conferences.

The latter person, after all, has less opportunity to hear outside commentary and fewer connections eager to read drafts.

CTS said...

Possibly OT:

For older folks: do you streamline your CV? I think mine now only has "publications after 199X" or some such (I leave books on) and the same for other activities. As we go on in our careers, the CV can become a huge document full of all kinds of stuff.

My college requires us to update it every year (which is good for purposes Xenophon notes). I figure the college and I have copies of older ones if anyone cares about whatever I did 20 years ago. By contrast, I know of people who put *everything* they ever did on an ever-expanding CV. I have a friend who includes stuff like giving talks to groups to which he belongs (think local veterans hall, Freemasons, etc.).

I don't know if that counts as padding, but it seems sort of embarrassing to me.

WV: tesound: te sound is good.

zombie said...

7:59: I was advised to list my grad courses on my CV by a placement advisor in my dept. She said that some places would want to know that I had a comprehensive grad education, i.e. not just courses in my AOS.

Or they could just ask for my transcript.

I will say that I had more "longshot" interviews than I ever expected, perhaps b/c of the breadth of my education.

Anonymous said...

@CTS: I'm not one of the older folk, but I prefer it when people leave all their publications on the CV (provided it's public). There are a number of occasions where I've found prime research material by looking through the CVs of those who have done work in my area.

bianca said...

Don't write anything on your CV. Just send a blank piece of paper. If the SC wants any particular information, they can always ask you for it, and this way they'll have a nice blank piece of paper to write it on.

7:59 said...

Thanks to all those who've responded to my question. Now I have to go and look at old transcripts. One final question: Should I only list grad work that was done in philosophy? I have an MA in a not-quite-related field.

Anonymous said...

I listed graduate work in computer science and mathematics (it was mostly logic taught in the math dept, set theory, and the comp sci was very theoretical). I think if there's some way that the outside course fits with your philosophical interests (neuroscience or psych when you do some phil mind, physics, chem, bio when you do phil sci, etc) that I would definitely list it.

That said, with a job and a few more years down the line, I no longer have grad courses listed.

7:59 said...

6:18, that's pretty much what I figured the advice would be. Thanks for affirming this.

Anonymous said...

If you've written the substantive introduction to an edited volume of which you are the editor and to which you've also contributed an article, is it considered padding to add a separate publication line for the introduction if you're already including lines that list both the essay and the book?

Anonymous said...


You don't need a separate line for the introduction. When you list the book, list is as "Edited with critical introduction." Though one can generally assume that an editor writes an introduction.

DJ said...

I know this sounds crazy, but what if you DID get that job at Rutgers last year (and turned it down for a better one)?

zombie said...

If you turned down the Rutgers job to take a better job last year, why are you on the job market now?

Anonymous said...

I have a question about how to list book chapters. First, do I have to point out that they are not refereed? In what sense? For example, I have chapters in books that arose from conferences. Do I have to say that they are proceedings? (Technically, they aren't.) Do I have to say that they are not refereed? (Technically, that's false--not everyone who applied to the conference got in, and not everyone who got in ended up in the book.) So how do I mark or categorize these to avoid padding appearances?

Also, I have some book chapters that have been accepted, but the book still doesn't have a definite publisher (I'm sure it will). How do I list that? It doesn't seem to fit under Publications: Forthcoming. But it also doesn't seem to fit under "In Progress" or "Under Review". Any thoughts would be seriously appreciated!

7:59 said...

Does anybody have advice on how to list the courses one has taught. For example, if I have taught Intro Ethics 5 semesters in a row, how would I list that? Also, do people list the courses they've taught in somewhat of a chronological order? Finally, do you try to distinguish upper level courses from lower level courses (for intro courses it's pretty easy to tell the difference, but it's less obvious for other courses)? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If anyone is still on this thread, suggestions about the last two questions (book chapters and courses) would be very welcome! Also, I'm not sure if there's a consensus about grad courses on the CV. Every graduate student and recent grad on the market seems to have them. What if you're still applying for your first job, but have been done with course work for... oh... 8 years?