Stupid CV Tricks: Is a job talk an invited seminar?

May 27 2015 Published by under Academics, Careerism, Conduct of Science

My esteemed colleague says no:

My view is that a job talk is more prestigious than a mere invited seminar due to the focal competition and review.

So sure, put those down in the same CV category as non-job-talk seminar invitations.

43 responses so far

  • Year2_PI says:

    I list my job talks as invited seminars. Where else do I put them? Definitely not comparable to a 15 minute conference talk selected from abstracts.

  • potnia theron says:

    At former MRU, there was a CV Form. Standard. Template. For anything internal (like annual reviews) it was mandatory. It was allegedly mandatory for outside stuff, too. But it only mattered if you got.

    The short version: talks of any nature were not permissible on the CV. The view was everyone gave talks. The view was everyone at BSD-MRU was in demand to give talks. Unless it was the Nobel Prize Award talk, they weren't interested (and then there was a section for awards).

  • drugmonkey says:

    Being selected for Oral presentation for an abstract you submitted to a conference does not go in Invited Seminars in my view. Maybe an asterix or subheading under Abstracts for that.

  • Of course a job talk is an invited seminar. In what bizarre universe is an invitation to another university to deliver a seminar because you are being considered for a job not an "invited seminar"? Do we parse out any other reasons why someone gets invited for a seminar (buddy from grad school; mutual assistant professor backscratching; want to steal someone's ideas; senior person calling around to twist arms for tenure-tour invitations for junior colleague; going to be in town to visit family; passing through town in transit on international travel; etc)?

    And anyway, it's relatively easy to tell on a CV what were the job talks: they are the invited seminars that all occur in the late fall and spring before the person begins their appointment as an assistant professor.

  • Dr Becca says:

    Being selected for Oral presentation for an abstract you submitted to a conference does not go in Invited Seminars in my view.

    But what about if you're a speaker in a normal session at a conference?

  • Adam says:

    My opinion is that job talks are invited seminars. You were invited. You gave a seminar. Thus, it is an invited seminar. Not complicated.

    Talks at conferences go under the "abstracts" section of the CV.

  • Ola says:

    I have it broken out into Presentaions (1) Invited lectures at outside institutions, (2) Invited plenary talks at conferences, (3) Short conference presentations, selected from abstracts, (4) Intramural home institution seminars and talks. Section 1 includes job talks. However, as someone who's been in my current job well over a decade, the half dozen job talks I did way back long ago, don't really count for much now anyway.

    The funny thing is, in these days of cut-throat ravenous appetite for indirects, EVERY talk is a job talk! The best ones are when you go to give a seminar somewhere, and during the visit find out that you're being head-hunted. It's always a pleasant surprise. In one case I was asked flat-out by a junior person I was having breakfast with "so, when do you think you'll be ready to move here then?" The person who invited me had told everyone I was interested in moving; everyone except me!

  • GMP says:

    In my and related fields, this is a typical categorization:
    1) invited lectures/seminars/colloquia (i.e., at other institutions);
    2) invited conference talks (i.e. organizers specifically invited you, there is no question that it's an invited talk, and they will pay some part of registration/travel; people often denote keynote and plenary somehow in there, as those are more prestigious than a regular invited talk);
    3) contributed conference papers (i.e. you submitted an abstract and got a talk or a poster; sometimes people denote posters and talks differently).

    Why wouldn't an invited seminar for a job interview be an invited seminar? What CPP says, totally. And it is interesting to see where the candidate interviewed.

  • Masked Avenger says:

    I don't list all meeting abstracts and posters because they are a free throw; come on, you know that conferences just use these as yet another revenue stream, right?

    I include an incomplete list of abstracts/posters. However, being chosen to speak based on an abstract and instead of presenting a poster is MOST DEFINITELY an invited presentation. If you were (1) asked to (2) speak about your work (3) in front of people, then it's an invited presentation.

    What is ridiculous is including meeting abstracts/posters as a publication. I don't think this happens with basic scientists so much, but I have seen MDs try to pad their "publications" list with poster abstracts. (Basic scientists don't do this UNLESS they are trained by an MD...)

    Just to let you know, none of this applies if you are pursuing a job outside of academia. The rules are different, and academia presents an excepion to how the rest of the world deals with this stuff...

  • Dave says:

    The best ones are when you go to give a seminar somewhere, and during the visit find out that you're being head-hunted. It's always a pleasant surprise. In one case I was asked flat-out by a junior person I was having breakfast with "so, when do you think you'll be ready to move here then?" The person who invited me had told everyone I was interested in moving; everyone except me!

    Chortle, chortle!!! Happens to me allllll the time. Such a drag.

  • AcademicLurker says:

    I have poster presentations listed on my "internal" (for annual activity reports, promotion & etc.) CV. It shows that trainees are getting out to conferences and presenting. I wouldn't list posters on my "professional" CV though.

  • poke says:

    " However, being chosen to speak based on an abstract and instead of presenting a poster is MOST DEFINITELY an invited presentation."

    Disagree completely, and would not look favorably on seeing things listed in this way on someone's CV.

    How is it an invited talk when you sent in an abstract (and possibly an abstract fee) to be considered as a presenter?

  • dsks says:

    This is pure pedantry. Invited talks, non-monetry awards etc are merely secondary reflections of what should already be apparent from the publications and funding sections of a candidate's CV. imhe these sections are briefly scanned for anything particularly prestigious and outstanding, but otherwise ignored. People who would consume valuable energy getting worked up about how these particular sections are structured need to get a goddamned grip.

  • Anonymous says:

    What if you were invited to give a seminar as part of the interview process for a postdoctoral position? And does it make a difference if said seminars were advertised institute-wide, i.e., they weren't just for the supervisor/group who was considering hiring you.

  • Noncoding Arenay says:

    I'm with CPP and Adam - a job talk is a seminar that you were invited to give. End of story. There's no two ways about it. Anyone who thinks that it is a red flag or a peeve is a fool.

  • AcademicLurker says:

    dsks gets it right. Grants and publications are what matter. Does anyone look at the other stuff? The only time I think invited talks matter on a CV is when you're going up for promotion ("evidence of national/international reputation").

  • dr24hours says:

    List anything you like on your CV so long as it is:

    1) True.
    2) Verifiable.
    3) Advancing of your career agenda.

  • Juan Lopez says:

    I usually consider a talk invited when 1) they paid for the trip, or 2) it's an invitation only event, in the sense that I would never have been able to talk there by applying or sending an abstract.
    In my area it is common that session chairs send emails to people to "invite" them to a conference. But this does not include any expenses. Some colleagues, the junior ones, do list these as invited because they got an email. Not convincing enough for me.

  • Not convincing enough for me.

    You are fucken high if you think your pathetic sniveling asshole perceptions of who pays for what define what is an "invited seminar", and even more fucken high if you think that anyone gives a goddamn flying fucke whether your pathetic sniveling asshole perceptions are "convinced". In what universe does anyone even look at some fuckebagge's list of invited talks and try to parse out which were "convincingly invited" and which weren't???? What fucken people even thing about this fucken nonsense??? Losers at Eastern Bumfucke Central State University who never get invited anywhere and are trying to make themselves feel better???

  • drugmonkey says:

    You might want to go easy on that flakka, PP.

  • Juan Lopez says:

    Of course everyone says they don't care and don't look at it. But a lot of people read it. Not in detail, but they look for notable things.

    To me, listing invited when I paid is like publishing in one of the scam journals.

    Somehow your argument that it doesn't matter who paid wasn't convincing either. Maybe it is your accent, CPP.

  • Year2_PI says:

    I was mentored that a cv should include everything... all professional activities. I have two sections: 1) invited talks and 2) conference talks (selected from a submitted abstract)+posters+attendance.

    I like Ola's 4-part breakdown and may reformat in that way.

    I also truly like CPP's...eloquence? though I disagree with him or her. it shouldn't be about money, but there is a difference between being truly invited versus merely selected from those who have already committed to attending a conference. I think that is Juan's point.

    Several others make good points that it doesn't matter. But for those of us in early stages of our career I think it does matter.

  • Philapodia says:

    Why does it matter in the least who paid? As long as you gave a talk to people at another institution or a scientific conference it should go in your CV. It's communicating your science, which is what we're supposed to do as scientists.

    CPP, you should watch your fukken mouth or you'll irritate the eld with your purile language.

  • Ola says:

    @juan Lopez & @cpp
    Some confusion on the term "invited", apparently. Anyone listing actual invitations that they don't follow up on (i.e. the bajillion invites from First International Conference on 2016 Applied Biosciences in Guangzhou, or anything with OMICs group in the subject line that your spam filter doesn't hose) is a DB. If you actually go and do the talk, then sure list it, but listing invites is like listing your former dating conquests in high school. "Could have married a 9.5" is srsly uncool.

  • eeke says:

    I've never put interview talks on my cv. Now I wish I had. Do you also include the place that hired you?

  • drugmonkey says:

    No scientist "could have married a 9.5" in high school. Don't be silly.

  • Juan Lopez says:

    I'll explain what I meant:
    In my field, for some conferences, the people organizing a session would send an "invititation" asking for abstract submissions. The email may even be written specifically to each person. If one submits an abstract, these are still reviewed and one is responsible for all expenses.
    When it is possible to get a talk without the invitation email, I consider these regular talks. When the email is necessary to get the talk, to me, it's invited.

  • LincolnX says:

    Yes. It's the most special invited talk of all. Deal.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh for pete's sake! A true invited talk at a conference in my field (bioengineering) is designated as such on the program, e.g., "invited talk" or "keynote address" or "plenary talk." Then there are regular talks and posters, which are not invited. Whether you got a specially addressed marketing email to try to get you to participate in the conference by submitting an abstract is totally beside the point. The people who are relying on these emails to say that these are invited talks are focusing on the letter of the law, not the spirit. I'm pretty sure they damn well know they are just padding their CVs in this case.

  • qaz says:

    If you are selected as a oral presentation for a conference, say that next to the abstract.

    - Zee, XY; Cee, AB (2015) "Conference abstract alpha." Fun pseudo-skiing conference on the microbiology of snowflakes. [Selected for oral presentation.]

    On the other hand, if you are invited to be the keynote speaker for a conference, then that's an invited talk. List that as such in your invited talks section

    - 2015: Keynote talk. Fun pseudo-skiing conference on the microbiology of snowflakes.

    Job talks are invited talks.

    It's really not that complicated people.

    On the other hand, NEVER list invited talks you didn't go give. That's just asking for trouble. Because people at that institution or that conference may remember that you weren't there and you would have to make clear in your CV that you were invited to give the keynote talk, but didn't give it (and then why didn't you give it?), and if you're explainin', you're losin'. The point of listing talks that you give is not the invitation, but the talking. The point is that you've put on the show, so it's like a publication - it's a presentation to the outside world.

    Listing an invited talk you turn down is like listing what journal you have submitted your paper to or worse what journal you are writing the paper for. "In preparation for Nature - my advisor told me so." Oy!

  • DJMH says:

    If the metric is "who pays," then the job talk would be the most prestigious of all, since it is typically a longer visit (2 days, 2 nights) than a normal seminar (1 day, 1-2 nights) and involves more purchasing of meals.

    In any case, they're clearly invited talks, and whether or not you explicitly mark them as job talks it ought to be pretty darn obvious from the rest of the CV.

  • jmz4gtu says:

    I do think the conference talks are a little more important for junior researchers' CVs, CPP. If nothing else they indicate you had a good mentor who trusted you to give talks and paid for you to do so. I used to list them as invited talks, but then I changed it to "selected from abstracts", when I was notified that "invited" usually only applied to professors, and so I was overstating.
    A handwringer was a Gordon Conference where my boss was invited, but couldn't make it, and sent me instead. Obviously I want to list that on my CV, but how? Currently I put, "Presentation GRC X, on behalf of Y".

  • Erook says:

    Jmz, to be honest, I think you'd be justified in indicating that it was an invited talk. Regardless of whether they invited your mentor first, and that they took her recommendation into consideration. They made a decision to choose to issue an invitation to you after your advisor declined. She doesn't list the GRC invited lecture on her CV as delivered by Jmz on her behalf, I assume. The organizers will have conferred and concurred on inviting you to present instead of moving onto a different lab. Others can weigh in but that's my opinion. (My job now is to organize this stuff for conferences, and it's not rubber stamping where I work, the committee would have to agree, weighed against inviting the next in line--and we would actually issue you a shiny invitation letter with your name on it for your records).

  • Grumble says:

    Let's see. To get invited to give a job talk, you have to, on your own accord, submit a bunch of written shittio to the organization that then invites you. To get invited to give an oral presentation at a conference based on your poster abstract, you have to submit a bunch of written shittio to the organization that then invites you. How exactly are these different, then?

    In my view, they BOTH constitute invited presentations. Someone invited you, right? Doesn't matter if it took some angling to get them to do it.

  • Grumble says:

    " The point of listing talks that you give is not the invitation, but the talking." Nonsense. The point is to demonstrate that you have a reputation that is local, national or international. If Bill Clinton declines 1,000 talk invitations in a year and accepts 5, and I accept all 10 invitations I get, what does this evidence say about who has the greater reputation?

  • Erook says:

    The amount and quality of written shittio to get a campus visit invite is substantially higher than being selected from poster abstracts. The barriers of entry are substantially different by nearly every measure. The quality,, length, and scientific breadth of job talk are substantially different from a talk selected from poster abstracts. C'mon.

  • physioprof says:

    If I am rolling through town on vacation and I call up my buddy from grad school to hit her up for an invitation to give a seminar in her department, am I supposed to put a special annotation on my CV? What about if I'm in a foreign country for a conference, and I let all my buddies in various cities there know I'm there and hit them up for seminar invitations?

    The key point here is that no one gives a fucke about any of this underlying bullshittio. The only significance of the invited seminar business on your CV is as an indirect sign of whether you are a significant contributor to your field: someone who other people are interested in listening to talk about your research. For this purpose, parsing out who paid, how much it cost, whether you applied or twisted your buddy's arm or promised a reciprocal invitation doesn't mean jacke dicke, and no one assessing your CV whose opinion matters to you gives a fucke about any of that.

    Honestly, I can't believe there are people so woefully lost in the weeds that they are invested in parsing this shittio when they look at a CV.

  • Grumble says:

    "The amount and quality of written shittio to get a campus visit invite is substantially higher than being selected from poster abstracts. The barriers of entry are substantially different by nearly every measure. The quality,, length, and scientific breadth of job talk are substantially different from a talk selected from poster abstracts. C'mon."

    All that is true, but none of it is relevant to the question of whether it should go on your CV or not. As PP points out, there is a whole range of different ways to score an invitation, from "someone I never heard of e-mailed me out of the blue" to "I applied for a job" - and everything in between. No one gives (or should give) the least bit of a flying fuck about the circumstances leading to the invitation. The important thing is that someone invited you.

    Come on, people. When you signed up to become a scientist, you might not have realized that you were also signing up for a job in sales. But you did, and this is just basic advice on how to do that part of the job.

  • E-Rook says:

    I'm not going to argue this point with Grumble, I think your point is valid, but I enact it differently. I think that if your work is well-known enough that you can roll through town and get an invited talk, it is different than an abstract selected for a talk amongst several hundred others. I'm sure its field and sub-micro-specialty specific, so I would concede that the norms vary enough.

    On a side note, when I was interviewing for a TT position at a SLAC, one (graybeard female) prof told me, "even if you don't get this job, you can put it on your CV as an 'invited talk,'." My response was (literally -- and I don't know whether this hurt me at the time) "That's great, but I don't think that helps me one way or another." Indicating -- I need NIH grants to keep the lights on at home (hinting that the invited talk in Small-town SLAC is meaningless at R1's for P&T), or not getting the job but putting the 'invited talk' on my CV is not equivalent to a TT position at this SLAC to keep doing what I love (teaching).

  • Juan Lopez says:

    CPP "The only significance of the invited seminar business on your CV is as an indirect sign of whether you are a significant contributor to your field: someone who other people are interested in listening to talk about your research. "

    That's the point I am making too. Actually paying someone to visit the department and organize a day of meetings, dinner, etc, is evidence of their impact on the field and interest in their research (plus schmoozing in case they serve on a committee that funds their work). That is very different from letting your friend visit and give a talk. However, the fact that you would have friends in positions where they can set you up for a talk is also evidence of your connectedness with the community, and influence. Young researchers don't have nearly as many connections as you do.

    Having said this, the Invited talks section doesn't make or break a candidate. It's just part of the overall picture. Do they talk for a general audience ("What bunny hopping can teach us about aging") or do they only use technical language ("Downregulation of BDn56 mutants for c16J variant recombination")?

  • Asst Prof says:

    I don't list talks on my CV at all. Talks are a marginal contribution that looks like CV padding when you list a ton of them, and it distracts the focus from the papers, grants, and major awards, which is all anyone cares about anyway. No one needs to know if you gave a seminar somewhere, let alone why you did it. Obviously for some things like internal promotion you may need to list talks but otherwise keep it simple and people will take you more seriously.

  • MoBio says:

    CP redux "The only significance of the invited seminar business on your CV is as an indirect sign of whether you are a significant contributor to your field: someone who other people are interested in listening to talk about your research. "

    Yes this is useful going up for tenure and promotion as it serves as a metric of sort for 'national' and 'international' reputation.

    Also, when I am asked to write letters of support for P&T having this as a list helps me to make the point that the person has 'national and international standing' as a scientist. I find it helpful to provide 'granularity' to my recommendation.

    As well, at my particular University we are all asked yearly to list all invited talks and to separate them into 'national' and 'international'. It then goes as part of an electronic document to the Dean.

    And yes, an invited job talk is an invited talk.

  • AProf says:

    Oral presentations at conferences from which you were chosen from a pool of abstracts should not be listed as an invited presentation. The people who were cold-called to give the keynote addresses and who are listed on the program a year in advance -- those are the people who were invited. If you have a "short talk" listed as an invited talk on your CV, you will look like naive to those people who were in fact invited. As others have suggested, just have a section of "Oral Presentations at Conferences." I use that heading, and then I have "Invited Seminars," "Local Presentations," and "Oral presentations by lab members." I list conferences where individuals from my lab have given presentations because I think it further demonstrates the reach and influence of my lab's research.

    As for listing job talks on your CV as an invited talk, I say, yes, absolutely. It's almost the exact same scenario as being at a university for their regular seminar series. You give a seminar and spend a day or two having meetings with faculty.

Leave a Reply