I have seen people listing "memberships" on their CV. Do you have certain rules of thumb for what to list? I have some myself, which are basically memberships that have happened automatically, when I have been invited to give talks - like, come give a talk, and please join our "board of associates". I don't do any work in those roles, and listing them feels a bit like CV padding. I am in the beginning of my career (first post doc).

What is the normal practice?

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    My experience is that people only list memberships in large, well-established professional societies. Usually they require paying annual dues but don't have other responsibilities. Mar 17 '17 at 16:12
  • @NateEldredge I fully agree. Would you have any insight why people do mention memberships in the CV, since it only requires paying?
    – anderstood
    Mar 17 '17 at 21:23
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    I think it just indicates a certain level of involvement with the wider academic community. It also gives some indication of the person's interests and priorities. For instance, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the National Association of Mathematicians all have rather different focuses and goals, corresponding, extremely roughly, to research, teaching, and equity. So knowing that someone is a member of one or the other says something about them. (You can insert your own "People's Front of Judea" jokes.) Mar 17 '17 at 21:29

The general rule is "if you don't want someone to ask you about it, don't put in on your CV." Including such memberships is still standard practice for many as they signify both your involvement and willingness to continue to participate in your field. So, don't think of these memberships as padding, think of them as opportunities to highlight your accomplishments - unless you really can't find a positive way to discuss these memberships, in which case they should not be included.

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    " as they signify both your involvement and willingness to continue to participate in your field." Really? Becoming membership of the associations I know simply requires paying.
    – anderstood
    Mar 17 '17 at 21:00
  • As @NateEldredge notes in the comments above, it can be valuable to know someone else is a member in something, even if it just means you both pay to be a member of the same association. Perhaps for some associations the level of participation is more implied than explicit.
    – Harry
    Mar 17 '17 at 21:50
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    Many people I know subscribe to a society only to get the member discount at the conferences organized by this society. It all feels like a big scam to me --- the societies inflate artificially their member count by making membership_fee < member_discount. Mar 18 '17 at 8:11

Many (but not most) people list membership in disciplinary organizations on their CV. If the membership is open to anyone who pays a fee, I consider listing this completely pointless. If membership is selective, then it is productive to list it. If somebody lists membership in a predatory or pseudoscientific organization on their CV, then I would view that as a negative.

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