Today on Science & Sensibility, Kathryn Konrad, MS, RNC-OB, LCCE, FACCE, and Lamaze Board Member, adds another post to our Building Your Birth Business series as she discusses preparing your curriculum vitae for use as you navigate your professional practice. While it seems challenging, Kathryn's tips and resources help you to get it all sorted out and ready to go. Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.
Our jobs as childbirth educators and birth workers encompass so much more than what a typical resume captures. A resume is short, often limited to a page or two, basically a snapshot of a professional life. While this is often helpful in demonstrating a work history and is often a baseline requirement for applying for a job, a resume does not provide the full picture of childbirth education practice. A curriculum vitae, often abbreviated and referred to as a “CV,” is a far broader and deeper picture of your professional life. Curriculum vitae is loosely translated from Latin to mean "the course of one's life."
Many childbirth educators look at a CV as something only an academic needs. However, a CV is often a required component of a grant application, a conference speaker application, or poster application. Grants, speaking engagements, and poster presentations are an excellent way to further your work. As such, these application processes often require a deeper, broader look at your experience and abilities. A CV also offers prospective clients a look at your full knowledge and experience.
A CV includes far more sections and information that a resume, thus providing this deeper view. Typical sections in a CV include the basics, similar to a resume, such as work experience, educational background, certifications, and honors received. All of the information should include dates- start and end dates for jobs, publication dates for written materials, dates for completion of an educational activity. A CV should also include dated professional memberships (such as your Lamaze membership), volunteer experience, teaching experience (where a childbirth educator really shines), continuing education, written publications, and presentations (speaking engagements). The dates for these entries should include start and end or “current” dates. For organizations you are an active member of, include the start date to current. An example looks like this: “Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator member, Lamaze International, 2006- current”.
A CV can also include a section for curriculum development, lining out curriculum developed for classes such as childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, sibling classes, and/or grandparent classes. Dates for curriculum development should include a start date, dates of updates, and end dates is no longer in use. If you received any grants, no matter what size, include this as well. A CV is intended to be a longer document, so do not worry if the finished product is several pages long. A CV is also intended to be a living or growing document. Initially, a CV will be short but as you gain more knowledge, expertise, and experience your CV will demonstrate that.
As a living document that accurately reflects you, a CV must be updated and shared regularly. It should be updated at least twice a year, if not more often. Many find it helpful to update a CV every time something that is included (such a new class offered, a publication, or a renewed certification) is completed. This provides a great feeling of accomplishment and an opportunity to reflect on how far your career developed. A CV is made to be shared. This is your work demonstrated in one document. You can use it in a grant application, use it as part of a conference speaker application. You can also post it to your LinkedIn profile or share it on your website. It is a reflection of all your hard work and dedication.
A CV can feel intimidating to develop initially. There are templates and resources to help. MS Word and Resume World provide templates. There are also great CV writing hints and tips on the OWL Perdue writing center. The National Institutes of Health offer assistance with a brochure too. Take the plunge, and write a CV. It will give you a great sense of what you have accomplished so far, and help you see where you may want/need further education and/or experience. Also, preparing your CV in advance of needing it will be one less task you need to take care of when your CV is requested. You will be all set and ready to send it off!
Have you written your curriculum vitae? Do you have any tips for those who are just getting started? If so, please share them in the comments section below.- SM