Representing Yourself as a Professional

This Tuesday, I submitted the written portion of my Preliminary Examination to my committee (Happy Valentine’s Day to us all!).  For the last several weeks, my prelim has absolutely consumed my life, so, without it, my still-very-busy life somehow seems a bit empty.  As such, I have thrown myself into my next project: preparing myself to enter the job market in the fall.

I spent the better portion of the morning updating my Curriculum Vita. Generally my updates are brief ventures into the document to add my latest paper or poster.  Today I found myself changing margins and fonts and rearranging sections.  I also found myself second-guessing whether certain information was or was not appropriate.  Clearly, my CV should include contact information and should outline my teaching, research, publication, and other academic experiences.  But what about those other, more marginal, accomplishments?  For example, when I was an undergraduate, I worked very hard to secure tens of thousands of dollars of academic scholarships.  Are these still relevant or do they not speak to my ability to serve as a future faculty member?  What about my volunteer experiences?  Or my work with undergraduates outside of teaching (writing letters of recommendation, mentoring undergraduates in my lab, etc)?

Similarly, I struggled with my ePortfolio.  I was originally pretty proud of the simple, professional website that I had created for myself.  However, after looking through numerous examples, I have found myself concerned that perhaps my portfolio is too professional.  For example, many people choose to include pictures of themselves.  Professional-looking headshots seem appropriate to me, but many also include pictures of themselves as they teach or do research.  Is that appropriate?

I suppose my struggle involves finding that balance between looking like an automaton of a professional and showing my personality.  It’s a matter of working toward finding my professional voice.

How have you worked toward finding this balance?

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One Response to Representing Yourself as a Professional

  1. urzsmith says:

    Finding that balance is something, I think, most professionals work on their whole lives. Everyone wants to stand out, but nobody wants to stand out in the “wrong ways.” Oh, the uncertainty. Makes me think of a CHE article I read: http://chronicle.com/article/Shame-in-Academic-Writing/128483/

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