I have seen this question (Unable-to-attend conferences in CV), but the situation is a bit different. In my field, we don't usually submit papers for conferences. Rather, the organizers directly invite a number of persons whom they think interesting to give talks (sometimes participants can contribute talks or posters, but that is not the case here). I received such an invitation, but for a number of reasons am not sure yet whether I will attend.

Can I still add the invitation to my CV?

One could of course argue that it is strange to get credit for something (a talk) I might not do. But one could also think that the invitation itself is a distinction and therefore worth mentioning.


I would say no.

I often turn down invitations that could be considered a distinction, i.e. an indication that somebody thinks I am reasonably competent at this research thing:

  • Will you speak on this panel at this research open house?
  • Are you willing to review this paper for this journal?
  • Would you want to do a research internship with us this summer?
  • Do you want to submit an invited paper to this workshop?
  • Can you mentor this undergrad who is doing research in the lab?

All of these things would go on my CV if I actually do them, but not if I turn down the invitation.

An invitation to speak at a conference is no different, in my opinion. It's certainly a nice validation of your work that the conference organizers recognized your ability to contribute. But if you don't actually give the talk, it doesn't go on the CV.

  • You're right, I probably would not even consider adding the invitation if I had turned it down. But for the moment it's still undecided, and somehow it feels different (I do have an "Upcoming invitations" section in my CV). – Ri49 Apr 18 '14 at 8:59
  • Is there any compelling reason you can't wait until it's decided? – ff524 Apr 18 '14 at 16:13
  • Yes, an application deadline. – Ri49 Apr 18 '14 at 16:25
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    Hmmm, I'd advise against until you've confirmed you will attend. Imagine that it's on your CV, and the person reading your application Googles the conference program and doesn't see your talk on it - it looks bad and you won't have a chance to explain. – ff524 Apr 18 '14 at 16:31
  • That is a very good point which I had not considdered. Anyway,as other answers pointed out, it will probably not make a big difference. – Ri49 Apr 18 '14 at 18:40

If you put other conferences you plan to attend on your CV, then I think it's fine to include this one (from an ethical viewpoint, which is how I view "can"). You can just remove it if you don't go. In general though, I would be pretty cautious about looking like you're trying too hard to pad your CV. It depends a bit on what you're using it for, but in general having a few more entries on the list of places you've spoken (this is for fields where conferences are not peer-reviewed) isn't going to look especially impressive and could just distract from the good things on your CV.


If your CV is short, say less than 2 pages, then I think you should mention this invitation to fill up the spaces. However, you need to be ready to answer the question, why did you not attend the conference?

If you already have a long enough CV, I don't see the point to include the invitation in your CV unless it is from an extremely reputable conference. In that case, the invitation itslef is a high honor that others may want to know. Again, people would wonder why you did not attend the conference?

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    Even if your CV is short, CV padding doesn't look good (actually, it's probably more noticeable in a short CV). You should never put something on a CV to fill up space. – Ben Webster Apr 18 '14 at 12:07

If you think you will not attend, it is generally better to not put it because people may ask you later why you did not attend it. Many researchers receive several invitations but decline many. So it is best to only list what you actually do.

There are a few exceptions where it could make sense to mention an invitation. For example, I have seen some people writing in their CV that their conference paper has been invited for an extension in a special journal issue as it was evaluated as one of the top 10 papers at the conference. This is interesting because even though the invitation was declined, it says that the paper was among best papers of that conference.

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