23

If I was invited to give a talk but was not able to attend, could it be listed under invited talks in a CV? My point is that there was an invitation and it worth to show it. Similarly, a paper can be accepted for a conference and no one of the authors presented it but it was published in the proceedings. Or a someone receive an award as a sign of recognition.

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    You can mention it, orally, during your interview. Don't put it on your CV though. – Konerak Feb 21 '18 at 8:39
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    “I almost gave a talk.“ – DonQuiKong Feb 21 '18 at 16:31
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    If you decide to put it anyway, I would put a damn good reason along with why you couldn't attend, e.g. "...but couldn't attend due to Trump's visa policy changes" or something. (Health issues won't cut it, sorry. I don't know why, but I feel like if you put it, you have to show you were both willing and capable to deliver, and something else stood in your way.) – Mehrdad Feb 21 '18 at 20:26
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    If your CV is in such a bad shape that you need to list talks you didn't actually give, you have other problems than what to put on your CV. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Feb 21 '18 at 22:36
30

An invited talk is not about being invited but more about giving a talk.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing that you did: You have not given the talk, thus, I would not include it into the CV.

Regarding your comparison with papers that were not presented: The main contribution of a paper is the result which is included in the proceedings. Presenting a paper is just an extension and explanation of your results. So the majority of the novelty and effort went into the paper itself. Please note that there are also journal papers which are (mostly) not presented at all. The same is true for conference papers which I include in my CV despite I have not presented them myself, because on of the co-authors did it.

40

No: Don't list anything that you didn't do.


From a comment on my answer:

He's not saying he'll pretend he gave the talk. The invitation itself is a good indicator of his status as an expert in the relevant field, at least in the eyes of the people running the conference. If this is relevant to the job, I don't see a reason not to include it, as long as he makes it clear he didn't give the talk.

which was extended to add:

If Google or Apple offered me a job, but I couldn't relocate or whatever, I'd absolutely put it on my CV.

A comment on another answer provides an excellent response:

if I saw such a claim on your CV I wouldn't even invite you to an interview. If you didn't take the job, if you didn't go to the presentation, if you didn't do the thing, it doesn't count. It never happened; it doesn't count.

Another commenter writes:

It may be a accomplishment, but it is also a opportunity wasted. You do not really want to underline your failures to execute. Its a bit like saying businessman saying they got a big contract but never fulfilled it. People are looking for people who can get things done.

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    He's not saying he'll pretend he gave the talk. The invitation itself is a good indicator of his status as an expert in the relevant field, at least in the eyes of the people running the conference. If this is relevant to the job, I don't see a reason not to include it, as long as he makes it clear he didn't give the talk. – MGOwen Feb 21 '18 at 4:54
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    Why are you quoting a whole bunch of comments inside your answer? You are offering ideas which conflict with your original answer, without explaining your motivation behind doing so, which seems fairly pointless... – Peter Abolins Feb 21 '18 at 10:11
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    @PeterAbolins I don't understand your reasoning. I have presented a comment by MGOwen that casts doubt over my answer, and provided a responses to that doubt by Roddy and joojaa. There's little point in me responding to MGOwen directly, when Roddy and joojaa have already provided excellent responses. – user2768 Feb 21 '18 at 10:46
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    Ok.. you provided an answer where you affirmed your point of view. Then you saw some other responses and started doubting whether you still believed in your original answer. So, instead of updating your answer with your new ideas, you simply copied other people's comments into your answer. That is what I was trying to highlight. A better approach would be to support the answers you now agree with (using votes or comments). – Peter Abolins Feb 21 '18 at 10:57
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    @PeterAbolins I was never in doubt (and I don't have any new ideas), but I do feel that responses to comments should be given. I didn't "simply [copy] other people's comments into [my] answer," I quoted other people's comments (giving them due credit) and included them in my answer; surely that's how we operate in academia? Although there is no reason to copy answers verbatim, there is reason to copy comments verbatim: It gives them more visibility and longevity (comments get deleted). – user2768 Feb 21 '18 at 12:36
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No. For the same reason that you do not list the jobs that you declined on your CV.

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    If Google or Apple offered me a job, but I couldn't relocate or whatever, I'd absolutely put it on my CV. – MGOwen Feb 21 '18 at 4:55
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    @MGOwen ...and conversely, if I saw such a claim on your CV I wouldn't even invite you to an interview. If you didn't take the job, if you didn't go to the presentation, if you didn't do the thing, it doesn't count. It never happened; it doesn't count. – Roddy Feb 21 '18 at 5:19
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    People frequently put declined jobs, scholarships & grants on CVs in academia. – innisfree Feb 21 '18 at 6:29
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    @innisfree really? I haven't encountered it. Do you have a few examples? – Danu Feb 21 '18 at 8:00
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    I regularly see professor CVs with information like "I was ranked 1 for position X at university Y", sometimes even for rank 2. – trunklop Feb 21 '18 at 11:13
9

I don't understand the other answers. Being invited to give a talk at a conference is an indicator of esteem, regardless of whether you could make it. I see no harm in writing Great Conference (2017), invited to give plenary talk on topic X, but could not attend.

Mentioning in CVs declined jobs, grants and scholarship and funding is common in some fields, see e.g. the results of this search, http://www.google.com/search?q=high+energy+physics+cv+declined

In fact, one of the first hits mentions at least half a dozen declined declined talks

http://cosmo.nyu.edu/aim/macfadyen_cv.pdf

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    It's honest, I suppose, but I've simply never seen it done. I think it would look very peculiar and distract from other accomplishments. – Nate Eldredge Feb 21 '18 at 4:42
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    being invited to give a talk at a big conference is a big accomplishment – innisfree Feb 21 '18 at 5:04
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    It may be a accomplishment, but it is also a opportunity wasted. You do not really want to underline your failures to execute. Its a bit like saying businessman saying they got a big contract but never fullfilled it. People are looking for peole who can get things done. – joojaa Feb 21 '18 at 6:05
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    Rubbish. Could not attend indicates you couldn't attend. No reason to assume that's an inability to deliver rather than a result of family, health, financial, visa etc circumstances – innisfree Feb 21 '18 at 6:26
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    In an ideal world, perhaps it belongs on a CV. In the real world the risk of putting it in probably outweighs the benefit. If there is a good chance that the readers of the CV won't see its inclusion in a positive light, why do it? As the other answers and comments illustrate, the chance of it being so misconstrued is non-negligible. Having said that, your answer does add something of value to the discussion, so +1. – John Coleman Feb 21 '18 at 11:35
7

Being invited does certainly count for something. However, if you were unable to attend, for whatever reasons, then you shouldn't put it on your CV.

It wasn't important enough to me at the time, but I am adding it to my CV because I think it could impress someone...

Having said that... if you actually wrote the paper (or, co-wrote) that prompted the invitation, then you should definitely add that to your CV, because the writing is an achievement.

  • What would you write on your CV with regards to a co-author giving an invited talk? – user2768 Feb 21 '18 at 12:41
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    @user2768 I am not sure I understand the question. If I wasn't invited, then there would be nothing to put in my CV. The publication would still be listed in my CV, but the invitation (by proxy) wouldn't. – Peter Abolins Feb 21 '18 at 12:52
  • You wrote "if you actually wrote the paper (or, co-wrote) that prompted the invitation, then you should definitely add that to your CV, because the writing is an achievement." Suppose you were the person that co-wrote the paper that prompted your co-writer's invitation, what would you add to your CV? Also, how would you ever know that your paper prompted the invitation? – user2768 Feb 21 '18 at 13:16
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    @user2768 Ok, it looks like there has been a slight misinterpretation of what I wrote. I would add to my CV that I wrote (or co-wrote) a paper / publication. End of story. If that paper then prompted an invitation, which I declined, or which my co-writer accepted in my stead, I would add nothing further to my CV. – Peter Abolins Feb 21 '18 at 13:22
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    Understood, and I completely agree that you should list all your publications on your CV. – user2768 Feb 21 '18 at 13:26
4

Just look how many answers and comments around here think it's a negative thing.

Sure, with the recruiters that don't it might be a positive point. But you'll lose many others that will think it's pitiful.

Compare the possible gain (little) against the possible non-invitations.

2

Despite everyone saying 'no', I'm pretty sure yes, you can. Is that a good idea? Most likely not.

Unless that talk is really prestigious and invitation to it underlines an important accomplishment and you had a good reason not to attend, like sickness or no means to make a trip AND you have nothing better to put on your CV AND you can specify that you were invited, did not attend, because of (a good reason) without writing an essay on your CV, AND you make it valuable to your potential employer and not look like an exercise in vanity, AND... well, you get the point

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    Beyond giving OP the equivalent of a grade school teacher telling a pupil they can go to the bathroom but they have to ask if they may do it, I don't see the point of this answer. – user9646 Feb 21 '18 at 10:46
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    Well, obviously, you can but it's clear that the question shouldn't be interpreted so literally. – David Richerby Feb 21 '18 at 13:47
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    @NajibIdrissi It's nice that it brought up so many memories of teachers making fun of students in the need to go. No, it's not what I mean. He can put it on his cv, he may put it, and there is a possibility that he should put it there, but there are many conditions for it to look like something positive there. – Arthur Tarasov Feb 22 '18 at 1:39

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