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As someone who returned (part-time) to academic pursuit in a different area a number of years ago, in which time I have completed my BA and now am in my first year of a MLitt, I am wondering is it a good idea to start to compile an academic CV? I am unsure as to if their would be any benefit of it for me, as a part time student, and at what point I should start to compile it.

At the moment in my own head the advantages are;

  • It may be of use in applying for funding.
  • I may need it if I wish to go on to future study
  • It would be good for myself to keep track of what I have achieved.

I have read a number of question on the site about what to put in a CV and realise that at the moment mine would be pretty sparse, as I have no publications, but my advisor has mentioned about me presenting at a conference and I have just applied for my first funding.

In general is it a case of everyone should keep an academic CV or do you just compile and tailor one when and if it is needed?

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I am wondering is it a good idea to start to compile an academic CV?

Start as you mean to continue: it is certainly a good time to start keeping track of all of your academic achievements in a structured way. Later down the line, this will prove invaluable as you will have a record of all your presentations (with dates, slides, venue, etc.), all your publications (with venue, full-text pre-prints, maybe a .bib item), all your reviewing activity, all your visits, and so forth.

Otherwise the cost of trying to recall all these details later might be prohibitive and you might forget things. At the moment, you may be able to remember everything you've done, but trust me when I say that what you were doing four years ago can become hazy.

You could keep your record as a CV in LaTeX format or a database or an Excel file or a HTML homepage. Even a journal notebook would be preferable to nothing. Keep one format canonical so that you don't have to synchronise multiple versions. And keep back-ups!

Of these options, I would recommend a homepage. It helps your impact to have a public personal homepage where you list all the pertinent details of your research (and to link to it where you can, short of spamming). Also consider getting a personal domain: hosting homepages on work spaces is convenient, but there's a chance you might lose that space (and the associated links/ranking) if/when you move institute. If you get a personal domain, some soft advice is to get a .org ... they're more trendy in academia (otherwise .edu, etc.).

In any case, whatever version you keep canonical, get in the habit of keeping it up-to-date in a consistent style. Mapping the records to a CV format for specific purposes further down the line then becomes trivial enough.

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Of course!

You are doing some great work now, right? You already have experiences, degree(s), awards, presentations, perhaps even publications. Create an academic CV now, and update at least every six months (I've been told I should update every quarter, but that usually doesn't happen.) As time goes on and you add new and better content, you will want to drop some of the items you now have.

I encourage students to create an academic CV as undergrads, because having an updated CV or resume is often necessary (or at least very handy) when applying for scholarships, conferences, or transfer institutions. Certainly it is not too early for you to begin your academic CV. Although you may not use it right now, you will find it a great advantage to have the framework in place when you need one, instead of having to begin from scratch. Also, you will be able to craft a stronger portrait of yourself as a scholar if the work is created over time. You will be able to refine and strengthen the original draft.

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