While I agree with some of this advice, I myself would advise students differently in some respects.
I agree that keeping one’s CV and web page up to date is essential. And, I would add, so is making sure your page makes you look good. I don’t mean that you need to hire a web designer but that (for instance) you shouldn’t have a section headed ‘publications’ which lists a numbers of things which are not publications (e.g. drafts, unpublished conference talks). It can come across as if you’re trying to be misleading, and people will notice.
Also, I disagree with the advice to accept all kinds of invitations including requests to do grunt work. While it is vital to accept as many invitations of the right sort as possible, it seems to me that students often spend a lot of time doing things which earn them no professional respect (such as taking out the garbage at conferences). Networking requires you to talk philosophy with people at conferences; you can’t do it if you’re too busy running around cleaning up their lunch wrappings.
Also, I would have cautioned against accepting certain kinds of invitation to review a book. A book review takes a long time to write, considering how little weight reviews are given in assessing someone’s research record. And getting one published in a third-rate journal is not going to get you noticed (worse, it might have a negative, is-that-the-best-(s)he-can-do, type of effect). Your time would probably be better spent working on getting a paper ready to send to a good journal.
Basically, I’m saying that being selective matters. Taking every opportunity to talk at a conference, to help organize one, and to write to/co-operate with big names, etc., is a good idea. But if you present yourself as someone who’s got nothing better to do than make tea and write book reviews for bad journals, people might think that’s true.
(Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a good citizen by helping out at conferences and so on. I’m just saying you don’t do yourself any favours by accepting all requests to do this sort of thing, at the expense of writing a good dissertation in a reasonable time frame and trying to get work published in good places.)
Posted by Carrie Jenkins in Uncategorized