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Writing Your CV and Letter of Intent

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  1. Writing Your CV and Letter of Intent David Gard Psychology Dept. - SFSU 1

  2. Overview What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? How it differs from a resume Style issues Nuts and bolts of a CV What is a letter of intent? What to include in a letter of intent General format of the letter A brief word on good writing Answers to your specific questions Time to look at and work with your CVs and letters 2

  3. First, are there crucial questions I should definitely address? 3

  4. Second, some general comments… Suggestions about writing your CV and letters of intent are guidelines only Different people have different ideas about what makes a good CV and a good letter Interrupt & ask questions at any time 4

  5. What Is Included a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? A summary of education & training including: Name & contact Info Education Awards, Publications & Presentations (if any) Clinical Experience Teaching Experience, Research Experience (if any) Other Professional Experience &/or Additional Relevant Experience Professional Affiliations References 5

  6. What Is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? It should be brief (approximately 2-4 pages, depending on your experience) and should: Be concise and to the point Include all relevant experiences Highlight strengths Give a good clear sense of your experiences Be professional Not have any typos Remember: at this point all clinical experiences are good clinical experiences (leave them in!) 6

  7. A CV Is Not a Resume Resumes are short, CVs longer CVs include more details about your experiences than resumes do Because they are more academic in nature with CVs there is generally less of a concern with ‘gaps’ in time (e.g., if you were abroad for a year) Style issues (e.g., font, paper) are much less important with CVs 7

  8. A Word About CVs and Style It is okay to use your favorite font, or a header that looks nice, but use sparingly! Readers are interested in content, not the look of the CV No clip art or pictures However, make it easy to read Separate the dates from the details Also separate the place of employment, position title, and duties from each other in a way that’s easy to read (using bold, italics, etc.) Start each section with most recent position No need for pronouns (e.g., ‘I’ conducted…) 8

  9. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order That They Should Appear) Contact Info – top of first page. Name, address, phone and email Education List each university (most recent first) with dates and degree SFSU’s should state M.S. expected May 2007 Awards, publications, presentations (if any; don’t fret if you don’t have these) Only include awards that are academic in nature 9

  10. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order) - continued Clinical experience Include placement name, your position title, and the dates of service In one sentence define the placement (e.g., ‘The SFSU Psychology Clinic offers no-cost outpatient services for SFSU student and Bay Area communities’) On a separate line articulate all ‘responsibilities’ or ‘duties’ – usually 1-3 sentences max (include population). If position was paid, indicate this Some people encourage listing your supervisors in a separate line 10

  11. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order) - continued Teaching Experience (if any) Include where the teaching was done, the course title, the instructor’s name (if it was not you), and the dates of the course In one sentence define the class (e.g., ‘This undergraduate course focused on the etiology and maintenance of mental illness including depressive, anxiety and Axis II disorders.) On a separate line articulate all ‘responsibilities’ or ‘duties’ 11

  12. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order) - continued Research Experience (if any) Include where the research was done, the principal investigator/mentor, your title, and the dates of service In one sentence define the study or project (e.g., ‘This study looked at the correlates of emotion dysregulation and invalidating environments in a borderline personality disorder patient population.’) On a separate line articulate all ‘responsibilities’ or ‘duties’ If position was paid, indicate this 12

  13. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order) - continued Professional Affiliations e.g., APA, CAMFT (include dates) Other sections? ‘Community (or) Volunteer Experience’ – is an OK section, but usually is better placed in clinical exp. ‘Hobbies’ or ‘Interests’ – this is a style thing. I personally am not a fan of it… ‘Objective’ or ‘Mission’ – this is not typically on a CV, & is more of a resume thing … best left out ‘Professional Training’ – this section comes after Education. It is okay to include but keep to a minimum (no CPR training). 13

  14. Nuts, Bolts, Sections, of a CV (In Order) - continued Other sections? (continued) ‘Additional Professional Experience’ – a good section to have (after research & before the prof. affill.), but only used when you have changed careers (e.g., previous management, law exp.) ‘Additional Relevant Experience’ – A good section if you speak a second language or if you want to point out related experience (e.g., with children: tutoring, summer camp counselor, baby sitting) References List the name, title, address, phone #, and email address to all of your letter writers 14

  15. Questions? 15

  16. What is a Letter of Intent? A letter of intent is a very brief letter to a training director expressing your interest in their practicum placement The letter should contain: Something brief about you (especially any unique characteristics about you) Your experiences - concisely summarized What the program will offer you (relevant to your goals) What you might offer their program 16

  17. What is a Letter of Intent? All this in 2-3 paragraphs! Think carefully about each program that you are applying to Why this placement? The population you’d work with? Particular psychopathology Age, diversity, etc? Didactics of interest? The therapeutic orientation? The quality of the supervision? 17

  18. The Letter of Intent Remember your reader! Reads dozens of these This is probably an ‘extra’ part of their job Wants you to excite them about you Good writing requires good editing Do not write a lengthy letter Editing does NOT include: Changing the font size, margin or spacing (12pt TNR!) If it is ‘a little long,’ something needs to be cut 18

  19. Important Things to Know About Good Letters of Intent Balance is the key to good letters Excitement but professionalism Be specific: vagueness kills Highlight what is unique about you (if you are unsure – ask your supervisor) Be ‘humbly boastful’ (don’t minimize or overstate experiences) Excitement … not hyperbole. In the end these placements are often with tough populations; your readers know this 19

  20. How to Write a Letter of Intent: General format Note: This is just a guideline – It’s good to be creative! Introduction State what placement/position you are applying for & that you’ve included your CV Briefly state your clinical experiences Their specific placement Articulate what interests you about their program Mention how this fits with your goals State what you’ll bring to their program 20

  21. How to Write a Letter of Intent – The Process of Writing Good writing is difficult Ask other people (professors, friends, family) to read it Ask someone to read it who does not know you well. Does it read clearly to them? Read other successful letters (especially from 2nd years who are working at the placement you are applying) 21

  22. How to Write a Letter of Intent – The Process of Writing Good writing is difficult (continued) Reward yourself (internally & externally) for even a little progress Put it away for a bit and come back to it later Don’t be afraid to ‘start over’ In fact, the best letters are almost always subsequent re-writes 22

  23. Questions? Let’s take a look at your current drafts of your CVs and letters 23