I am writing my CV for a postdoctoral position. I have just obtained my PhD. I have a decent number of published papers. Should I write a very small (2-3 line) description of what I have done in that paper? Maybe also with a smaller font and written in italic so that it is easily skipped if not interested. Same for the PhD/Masters thesis.

The counterargument is that short abstract would be considered negatively, either as padding or just making the CV harder to read.


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    Welcome. I would, personally, consider it mild "noise". At the end of the day, people want to see where and how much you have published and if it is compatible with their own research interests. They would not bother, at least in a preliminary screening, with the actual content of your research. If they are really interested, they could look up or ask for a pre-print. – PsySp Mar 14 '17 at 13:00
  • Thanks for the answer. Yes, I understand your point. My thoughtprocess was that a tiny abstract would help seeing if "it was compatible with their own research interests". I am working in pure maths and sometimes name of papers don't immediatley tell you what directions it is related towards. Thank being said, I am starting to agree with you. Thanks. – Evil Hamster Mar 14 '17 at 13:34

This was initially a comment but I think I can be expanded as an answer.

People, in general, want to see in your CV a brief summary of your academic achievements. Towards this, it is enough to compile a list of publications. The amount and the quality of the journal/conferences are enough to indicate your research profile in a preliminary screening. If they are more interested in your actual research, that's why you are asked to supply a research statement which sometimes can be as long as 4-5 pages, usually 2-3. There, you can briefly discuss your research and they can get a feeling also about compatibility (if that was not apparent from the list f publications). If they are interested in more depth they can request preprints of your works.

So, having an abstract for every publication in your CV does not add any information and does not help in any meaningful way except that your CV might look more "beefy" (but I am not sure it's an advantage).

  • Thank you for your answer. It does make a lot of sense. As expected with this kind of question, I suppose it does a little depend on opinion, so I will also gladly listen to others suggestions, if they are willing to write as well. (Even short ones such as yes/no are apprechiated). But thank you for your suggestion. – Evil Hamster Mar 14 '17 at 13:18
  • @EvilHamster If you are asked to supply a research statement (and, in fact, I can't think of any PostDoc application where you are not asked for such document), then I doubt is based on opinion. Keep your CV (as well as everything else) short and to the point. – PsySp Mar 14 '17 at 13:23
  • I'd like add that you could give a very short summary of what you have done during your PhD in your CV. So it's not part of the publication list at the end but of your working experience at the beginning. Since researchers sometimes switch the research focus depending on the project/funding, this is helpful to understand what exacly you did (beyond the job description "Post Doc at institute/university X"). – FuzzyLeapfrog Mar 14 '17 at 16:51
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    Great answer. @EvilHamster - congratulations on your recent graduation! // You said you had more than one published paper. I wouldn't write a summary of the thesis. I would just write 25 words or less describing the specific research area you are interested in. – aparente001 Mar 14 '17 at 19:57
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    @EvilHamster Remember: you will be judged on your academic/scientific record. Each PI knows how to do that. You won't be judged on the format of your CV. – PsySp Mar 14 '17 at 23:31

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