By Academic Positions

Certain professional skills including communication, leadership, teamwork, and project management are valued by employers across a wide range of sectors. While many institutions offer professional development workshops specifically aimed at helping graduate students develop these skills, you can also learn them through the course of your degree. Here are some of the major skill groups and how to work on them.

Communication Skills

  • Present at conferences– Conferences are a great way to hone your presentation skills and practice answering questions on the spot. Poster presentations also help you practice your oral communication skills on a one-on-one level.
  • Join an outreach group– Most of the communications skills you develop in grad school are aimed at communicating with an academic audience, but working in scientific outreach gives you the opportunity to learn how to talk to a non-technical audience. Knowing how to explain complex concepts in a simple way is a valuable skill.
  • Present a seminar paper– If you are in a PhD program with coursework, you will likely have to present a paper in your seminars each semester. Unlike when you present at a conference, a seminar paper doesn’t usually have accompanying visuals so your writing must be very clear.
  • Take a writing course– Many universities offer writing courses specifically for graduate students which can benefit those whose program doesn’t have a strong writing component.
  • Write a research proposal or grant application– Not only will this be good practice for a future career in academia, it also teaches you to write in a very specific way. A research proposal or grant application is different from a paper. You have to include an overview of the topic and connect your research to broader problems in the discipline while keeping in mind that the reader is not always an expert in the topic.
  • Publish a paper- In some fields you are expected to have multiple publications by the end of your PhD while in others even one publication will help you stand out on the job market. In either case, the peer review and revision process will improve your writing immensely.
  • Teach- Don’t underestimate how much teaching will improve your oral and written communication skills. Engaging teachers are able to communicate information in new, creative ways. If there is no formal teaching component to your degree, ask if you can be a teaching assistant for your supervisor or another professor in the department.

Academic Skills

  • Write your own syllabus– It’s good practice to make your own syllabus for the courses or sections that you teach. Not only will it make your expectations clearer for your students, it will also help you on the job market. Sample syllabi are often required when applying for faculty positions.
  • Take a pedagogy class- Some departments have mandatory classes about teaching theory and strategies. If your institution doesn’t offer any courses or workshops, you can read about pedagogy or talk to professors in your department known for their stellar teaching.
  • Develop a teaching philosophy– As you learn more about teaching, start to develop your own teaching philosophy. Consider how you teach (strategies, techniques etc.) and why you teach this way. This will make you a more confident teacher and give you a leg up on job applications, which often require a teaching philosophy statement.
  • Grade- Grading is an often bemoaned part of teaching, but it is also a useful transferable skill. Developing a grading rubric helps you figure out what your standards for excellent work are and apply them.
  • Give feedback– Whether it’s written on a paper or discussed in person during office hours, learn to communicate feedback in a way that presents clear steps for improvement.
  • Find a mentor– Having a mentor of your own gives you an insight into the mentee perspective, not to mention a great role model for when you become a mentor yourself. Your mentor can also help you improve various academic skills such as teaching and academic writing.

Leadership and Management

  • Join a team– As much of academic work is done individually, make an effort to take part in a collaborative project that will give you experience with team dynamics. Better yet, incorporate group work and group projects into your teaching. Knowing how to manage group activities, establish expectations, resolve conflicts and assess performance are important managerial skills.
  • Departmental leadership– There are few opportunities to develop leadership skill in grad school, but one of the easiest ways is to join your department’s graduate student association. Another is to join a conference organizing committee.
  • Project management– The entire PhD process is an exercise in project management. You are learning how to develop a project, plan it out, and work through setbacks. If your research is collaborative there’s the added element of delegation and accountability.
  • Conflict resolution– No one really likes to deal with conflict, especially at work. Many graduate student professional development programs offer workshops on conflict resolution where you can learn diffusion techniques. If your university doesn’t offer workshops, you can learn about conflict resolution from your supervisor or mentor.
  • Become a mentor– Being a mentor helps you learn how to motivate and inspire someone, which are important leadership skills.

Professionalism 

  • Ethics- If you teach or do experiments involving people or animals, you will have to undergo some type of ethics training.
  • Promote inclusion and diversity– A good teacher/supervisor understands that their students’ experiences and perspectives might be different from their own. Educate yourself about the issues that underrepresented groups in academia face and learn how you can help mitigate them. Seek our resources to promote diversity in your teaching
  • Get a mentor- A mentor can help you achieve your professional and personal goals. As someone in a more senior position, they can share valuable insider knowledge and insights with you about the profession. Your mentor can also facilitate important networking opportunities.
  • Network– Many PhD students make the mistake of thinking that networking is only necessary in the business world, but connections can be incredibly beneficial in the academic world as well. Your network could be future colleagues, supervisors, or collaborators. Conferences, guest lectures, and informational interviews are easy ways for PhD students to start networking.
  • Build your personal brand– Social media accounts help you increase your online presence and get your name out there. As a PhD student, you should set up professional accounts on ResearchGateAcademia.edu, and LinkedIn. Twitter is also a very useful social media platform for academics.

Developing these skill will give you the tools to find meaningful work after graduation.

Taken from (https://academicpositions.com/career-advice/professional-development-for-phd-students)

Written by Alison Doyle

curriculum vitae (CV) written for academia should highlight research and teaching experience, publications, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses, awards, and any other details in your experience that show you’re the best candidate for a faculty or research position advertised by a college or university.

When writing an academic CV, make sure you know what sections to include and how to structure your document. Check out CV templates and sample CVs to help you write your own.

Tips for Writing an Academic CV

Think about length. Unlike resumes (and even some other CVs), academic CVs can be any length. This is because you need to include all of your relevant publications, conferences, fellowships, etc. Of course, if you are applying to a particular job, check to see if the job listing includes any information on a page limit for your CV.

Think about structure. More important than length is structure. When writing your CV, place the most important information at the top. Often, this will include your education, employment history, and publications. Within each section, list your experiences in reverse chronological order.

Consider your audience. Like a resume, be sure to tailor your CV to your audience. For example, think carefully about the university or department you are applying to work at. Has this department traditionally valued publication over teaching when it makes tenure and promotion decisions? If so, you should describe your publications before listing your teaching experience.

If, however, you are applying to, say, a community college that prides itself on the quality of its instruction, your teaching accomplishments should have pride of place. In this case, the teaching section (in reverse chronological order) should proceed your publications section.

Talk to someone in your field. Ask someone in your field for feedback on how to structure your CV. Every academic department expects slightly different things from a CV. Talk to successful people in your field or department, and ask if anyone is willing to share a sample CV with you. This will help you craft a CV that will impress people in your field.

Make it easy to read. Keep your CV uncluttered by including ample margins (about 1 inch on all sides) and space between each section. You might also include bullet points in some sections (such as when listing the courses you taught at each university) to make your CV easy to read. Also be sure to use an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman, in a font size of about 12-pt.

By making your CV clear and easy to follow, you increase the chances that an employer will look at it carefully.

Be consistent. Be consistent with whatever format you choose. For example, if you bold one section title, bold all section titles. Consistency will make it easy for people to read and follow along with your CV.

Carefully edit. You want your CV to show that you are professional and polished. Therefore, your document should be error free. Read through your CV and proofread it for any spelling or grammar errors. Ask a friend or family member to look it over as well.

Academic Curriculum Vitae Format

This CV format will give you a sense of what you might include in your academic CV. When writing your own curriculum vitae, tailor your sections (and the order of those sections) to your field, and to the job that you want. Some of these sections might not be applicable to your field, so remove any that don’t make sense for you.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Name
Address
City,
State Zip Code
Telephone
Cell
Phone
Email

SUMMARY STATEMENT
This is an optional section. In it, include a brief list of the highlights of your candidacy.

EDUCATION
List your academic background, including undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. For each degree, list the institution, location, degree, and date of graduation. If applicable, include your dissertation or thesis title, and your advisors.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
List your employment history in reverse chronological order, including position details and dates. You might break this into multiple sections based on your field. For example, you might have a section called “Teaching Experience” and another section called “Administrative Experience.”

POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING 
List your postdoctoral, research, and/or clinical experiences, if applicable.

FELLOWSHIPS / GRANTS
List internships and fellowships, including organization, title, and dates. Also include any grants you have been given. Depending on your field, you might include the amount of money awarded for each grant.

HONORS / AWARDS
Include any awards you have received that are related to your work.

CONFERENCES / TALKS
List any presentations (including poster presentations) or invited talks that you have given. Also list any conferences or panels that you have organized.

SERVICE
Include any service you have done for your department, such as serving as an advisor to students, acting as chair of a department, or providing any other administrative assistance.

LICENSES / CERTIFICATION
List type of license, certification, or accreditation, and date received.

PUBLICATIONS / BOOKS
Include any publications, including books, book chapters, articles, book reviews, and more. Include all of the information about each publication, including the title, journal title, date of publication, and (if applicable) page numbers.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
List any professional organizations that you belong to. Mention if you hold a position on the board of any organization.

SKILLS / INTERESTS 
This is an optional section that you can use to show a bit more about who you are. Only include relevant skills and interests. For example, you might mention if you speak a foreign language, or have experience with web design.

REFERENCES
Depending on your field, you might include a list of your references at the end of your CV.

Taken From: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/academic-curriculum-vitae-example-2060817

Taken from: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2019/04/what-matters-phd-adviser-here-s-what-research-says

Written by Katie Langin

Earning a Ph.D. takes years and poses many challenges, so it’s important to choose the person who will shepherd you through the process—your Ph.D. adviser—wisely. There’s no single formula for choosing the right Ph.D. adviser; the factors will vary for each student. But the latest research on the topic points to things to look for when making a decision, as well as pitfalls to avoid.

Supportiveness

When it comes to student satisfaction, the single most important element is adviser supportiveness, according to a study published this week in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. Getting a Ph.D. is “a very stressful, long process,” says Gerard Dericks, a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom and the lead author of the study. “You’ll have setbacks. You’ll get discouraged. You’ll have doubts about yourself—about your research ideas, about many things.” So, it’s important to have an adviser who “believes in you and is willing to give you that extra support that you need in those trying times,” he says.

Dericks and his colleagues homed in on the importance of adviser supportiveness by surveying 409 Ph.D. students—85% of whom were in the sciences and engineering—at 63 universities in 20 countries. The United States, Australia, and countries in Europe yielded the most survey responses. The team measured student satisfaction by asking the survey participants to rate the degree to which words such as “good,” “happy,” “terrible,” and “disappointing” described their overall Ph.D. experience. Then, the researchers asked students about their experiences with the people and support networks that immediately surrounded them in academia: namely their advisers, departments, and peers.

Adviser supportiveness—whether an adviser was caring, considerate, encouraging, and sympathetic—was the most important factor for student satisfaction. According to the researchers’ findings, switching from an adviser who was strongly unsupportive to one that was highly supportive would be expected to increase the Ph.D. satisfaction score—on a scale of one to six—by nearly two points. None of the other factors considered—including age, gender, years of study, country, and department and peer qualities—had such a strong effect. 

Working style

It’s also important to figure out whether your working style is compatible with your prospective adviser’s style, says Anna Sverdlik, a psychology postdoc at the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada, who studies conditions that promote the success and well-being of Ph.D. students, and co-authored a review article on the topic published in September 2018. What works for individuals varies: Many students don’t want someone constantly looking over their shoulder, but for some it can be helpful to have an adviser who keeps tabs on them more regularly to set deadlines and ensure that they’re making progress, she says.

conceptual illustration of a man choosing one door to open in a dark hallway

Either way, it’s best not to have an overly hands-on adviser because that can handicap your future career, says Sotaro Shibayama, an economist and senior lecturer at Lund University in Sweden and the author of a new study of how advising style influences Ph.D. students’ long-term success, published in this month’s issue of Research Policy. Shibayama tracked 791 life scientists who earned a Ph.D. in Japan between 2000 and 2010, counting the papers they published in graduate school and up to 9 years after graduation. He found that when advisers were largely responsible for dictating the design of their students’ research projects, students initially benefited because they published more papers during graduate school than peers who were given more autonomy. But after graduation, researchers who were advised by professors who weren’t so hands-on went on to be more productive.

The study underscores a fundamental disconnect between the interests of advisers and advisees, Shibayama says. Advisers may want to publish as many papers as possible so that they can win more grants and move their research programs forward. But advisees are best served if they are given the space to make mistakes and develop into capable, independent scientists—a process that can take time, and that is more likely to pay off after a student has left an adviser’s lab.

In some labs, graduate students are “treated like labor—like robots in a factory—rather than independent scientists,” he says. “They are just told to do some experiment and they have to stay in the lab day and night, 24/7.” That’s not fun, he says, and the lack of autonomy doesn’t help them learn what it takes to be a successful scientist. Shibayama recommends that prospective Ph.D. students look for advisers who let their students play a role in study design. “Students have to find someone who goes beyond their own interest,” he says. “Some professors are interested in producing good students, so choose those supervisors.”

Sverdlik adds that it’s best to find an adviser who is willing to devote time to nurturing your development during critical phases of graduate school—during the transition from coursework to research, for instance—and who otherwise will give you room to grow on your own. “What we found in the literature is that when your supervisor just monitors your progress, and is willing to make time for you when you really need help, that is really all that is needed for students to succeed.”

To figure out what a professor’s approach to advising is, Sverdlik encourages students to ask a lot of questions of prospective advisers and their advisees when they’re interviewing. For example: “How do they work? Do they check up on you a couple times a week, or do they give you a task and they’re OK not hearing from you until you complete it?” Prospective students will differ in their specific preferences, but overall, it’s probably best to find a balance and avoid overly hands-on and overly hands-off advisers.

Academic credentials

When looking for an adviser, prospective students often seek out well-known researchers who are highly cited and respected in their fields. Dericks and his team didn’t find any evidence that showed that’s an effective strategy, though: After taking adviser supportiveness into consideration, students’ satisfaction levels weren’t correlated with their perceptions of their Ph.D. advisers’ intelligence, knowledge, intellect, and scholarly abilities. It’s critical to find “someone you can relate to, who is going to be supportive in a personal way,” Dericks says. “That’s more important than somebody who might have a famous name or someone who’s particularly skilled.”

That said, prestige can be a relevant consideration. The reality is that, in the long term, a reference letter from a well-known professor—and a degree from a top-notch university—can give Ph.D. holders a boost when they’re searching for a job. According to a 2015 study, 25% of U.S. institutions produce roughly three-quarters of all tenure-track faculty members in the three disciplines the team examined: computer science, business, and history. The researchers—led by Aaron Clauset, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Colorado in Boulder—didn’t have any data on the quality of scholars who were awarded faculty positions. But given how much faculty-member production differed between universities, they suspected that faculty positions weren’t given out on merit alone. The reputation or some other characteristic of an institution, they concluded, probably played a role.

So, a prestigious academic pedigree may help you get where you want to go after graduation. But if that’s the only thing you take into consideration, you could wind up having a terrible experience in graduate school. “A bad or even just mediocre adviser can make your time as a doctoral student miserable or simply not pleasant, which could undermine the excitement that got you interested in research to begin with,” Clauset notes. When his students come to him looking for advice about who they should work with next, he tells them not to weigh prestige too heavily. “It’s far more important … to have an adviser who supports your career goals and development, and who has your interests at heart, than it is to have a degree from an elite program.”