I am in the midst of evaluating some applicants for a Post-doc position and have been fairly surprised at the CVs we have gotten in response to the advertisement. Almost all of the applicants are excellent, but the CVs are interesting in more than just their contents - the layouts vary widely. I don't know why this seems so odd to me, I guess that I assumed that most people know what potential employers are looking for when the open a CV, but clearly I am wrong on that count. But how you set up your CV also says something subtle about what you think are the important pieces of your history. With that in mind, I suggest the following to people applying for a postdoc.
Let's make a couple things clear.
1) Pretty much everyone does this, but it's worth mentioning that your training history should be the first thing in your CV.
2) The two things that should be next are either your awards (including grants) or your publications. I tend to put awards, then pubs, but it can go either way. If you have anything else above these two categories I would have to ask why. When it boils down to it, what does an employer want to see? What money or awards have you won and where have you published. This is what matters. DO NOT have other things above these because I don't want to have to sift through your hobbies and poster presentations to get to your pubs. Seriously.
3) It's fine to mention manuscripts "in prep", but don't bother putting journal titles with these, just to let me know where you plan on submitting them. It's useless information and I'm not going to take "Schmo, J. et al. in prep. All of the cool shit I do. Nature." very seriously, I'm sorry.
4) Everything you have after the sections mentioned above is fluff. Yeah, I might glance at it to see that you attend international meetings and you have some experience giving presentations, but if the training, awards and pubs are the steak, the rest is the broccoli. No one orders broccoli with some steak on the side.
5) If you're applying for a research post-doc, include your teaching experience, but it should not be front and center. Repeat after me: I'm not hiring a teacher, I want to know about your research acumen. Do you have the experience I am looking for and can you turn results into publications?
You might say "But layout shouldn't matter if everything is in there!" and you might be right in an ideal world. BUT, when you have a stack of CVs to get though and they have to be ranked, it is surprising what subtleties can make one CV get placed overtop another in the ranked stack. It's a competitive field, don't do yourself a disservice by not putting your best foot forward. If your publications are buried on page 3 of your CV (or worse, listed almost like an appendix) you are asking the employer to put in the effort you did not, in order to properly evaluate you. You are also suggesting that you don't understand what is important to emphasize to compete in academia.
2 hours ago