Postgraduate CVs

3rd annual PhD and Postgraduate Career conference

Video transcript

Speaker 1, Ellie Fearon (Schlumberger):

For me I see a lot of CVs in my job, and it’s sadly the norm rather than the exceptions that I get 7-10 page long CVs from PhD students. When I’m getting hundreds of these, I’m not going to sit there with them and neither is anyone else. So what we are looking for is, you know, showing that you can convey yourself in a concise manner. The good thing to do, is to do like a nice summary of your PhD. Occasionally people have details of their research online, so may be a link further and see if you’re matching what we are after, and then also if you have done any sort of internships and work experience, but not back to when you were 16 years, that’s too far; but during your undergraduate degree, to show you have worked in the industry; if you want to come in the industry, that is very valuable and please also don’t forget what you have done outside of your PhD; I know you do a lot of stuffs, like run student societies, that is important and make sure you do include it. And of course your publications as well – so you could have 2 pages, plus a page with your list of publications, but I really don’t need seven pages of details; it’s far too much, and shows me you cannot explain yourself in a concise manner.

Speaker 2, Simon Cutler (Ishida):

The important thing is attention to details that you give to your CV. Know that with all you’re the academic research that you do, is trying to find out some of the salient points that you have done in your research that will fit into the company’s organisation culture and structure. Also you could use some of those key learning skills or research papers that you have done, and then really do your homework and find out about the company culture and what you’ve done that can map and provide solutions to the organisation. You know, I have seen CVs recently and attention to detail, you know, writing skills as my colleagues have made, is critical because if there are any spelling errors, it is just unfortunately a no-no with the numbers that we see; and try to find out who you are actually targeting in terms of the organisation.

Speaker 3, Peter Forbes (Council of industry and higher education):

One of the matters I love is, just like PhD crowd I would expect to take pride in mastering their area of subjects that they have been exploring and studying – then why not master your own understanding of yourself. For me that starting point is understanding yourself; this might be your whole life’s journey, but where you are now – think about it, reflect on it, go and explore it, and go and talk to other people and learn about yourself; then, you must be able to provide evidence for that, so you are understanding yourself and providing evidence and then lastly articulating it. You should be able to talk to your grandmother, a person on the bus, to a specialist in your area and in different ways get across to them who you are as a person and why they should listen to you. The other thing most of us in our public lives only bring a tiny part of ourselves as a person, don’t we? Like in this very moment you think I’m this particular person and I think you are that person. But actually you are completely huge person with massive amounts of creativity and sorts of aspects about you that I don’t know about you as well you could bring to bear into work, and that could make a difference.

Speaker 4, Joel Graham (Entrepreneur):

It’s a bit like what we were saying this morning session about ‘who are you?’ Someone gave me an analogy a couple of years ago to ‘look at yourself as a business’, so what are your assets, and what are the things that stop you from achieving and how do you market yourself and how you sell yourself. What are your barriers, cost and things like that? What is it that you could bring to the table that someone else would want to buy? Because ultimately in this global climate that we are in, and the competition and the level that is out there, you have to be able to show why is it that you are different. You got to be able to promote yourself, your personal brand, to be put out there and put it on table to the point that someone goes ‘WOW’. And I am a natural rubber by nature, so if I don’t like being in the same room as everybody else. I don’t like being there, so I’m talking from this angle, but for you as PhD students, talk to anyone about this technical way in which you can be very focused in the way you’ve studied and level of education, you’ve got to be able to show why you are different. 

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