Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Job application

I hate doing these things... Whether it's for grant applications, job applications or anything else, putting together promotional material about myself feels strange. And it takes aeons. You can spend an infinite amount of time tweaking the layout of your CV, while putting off the problematic task of writing a research proposal (that would be what the experts (me) call work-internal procrastination). But even without that, it takes a lot of time, and is stressful, with having to think constantly how someone else would read it, and how they might misunderstand it.

And of course there is the problem of getting the right combination of realism and confidence. Using power words like "initiated", "coordinated", "produced" and "directed" gives a good impression but is also so easy to overdo. And I actually appreciate listening and thinking, so if someone is initiating and coordinating all the time, chances are they are just fussbudgeting around and annoying people. So, I opted for the list-type of a CV, without descriptions, just listing the positions I've held and the jobs I've done. I think that's the preferred way in Finnish applications, at least for academic jobs.

There is, however, another document I needed to write. A portfolio for pedagogical achievements. In English a 2-3 page paper explaining teaching philosophy and merits. And this is supposed to be "reflective", so all those power verbs are creeping in. And the sad fact is that there hasn't really been many teaching opportunities here, apart from the supervising. An interesting difference in the systems. Here the professors and lecturers have a monopoly to "proper" teaching, in Finland it is usually the youngest ones in the faculty (the assistants, phd-students etc.) that get given the chores of teaching. Hmmm.

And the most problematic thing is that pretty much everything I've done academically is still in the process. The thesis, the articles, it's all "forthcoming". And I'd be very suspicious of such a person, it seems like all plans and no action. Which isn't all untrue, but somehow it looks worse on paper than it is.

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