How do I present myself on the CV, details inside

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How do I present myself on the CV, details inside

Postby Neil Clark » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:12 am

Hello folks,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I have been reading this forum for quite a while and really appreciate all questions and comments. There is very little left to ask. That said, I am in a unique situation and would like to know from experienced folks, how do I present myself here.

I was working on my PhD in Neuroscience and genetics in one of the top European institutes. Around the same time I started writing my thesis, our toddler got diagnosed with some developmental health issues. I didn't realize the gravity of the situation and planned to finish my PhD defense ASAP. But the things went downhill pretty fast with our toddler and I had to quit my PhD in order to focus my attention towards his health issues.

We had to move to the US in order to get the required medical help. Hence, I arrived here on a dependent visa. 6 years in, our toddler has done a great progress on his health issues and my work permit has arrived.

So how do I present my quitting PhD situation succinctly on the CV. At this moment, I have written 'Coursework, lab work and publications completed. Withdrawn to fulfill parental obligations' but this doesn't sound right to me. Plus, I am the father.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Neil Clark
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:58 am

Re: How do I present myself on the CV, details inside

Postby PG » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:31 am

Thanks for participating in the discussions on the forum. I Think that there are plenty of questions that can still be discussed and the field is evolving over time so the responses given Before might no longer be fully applicable.

What type of position are you looking for? If you want a PhD is there any possibility of completing the work you already started. Either with the Group that you actually worked for earlier since if it is only Writing that remains you might be able to do that from the US and only go back to your own country for the thesis defence. It might also be possible to finish the PhD with a US Group that for example has collaborations with the Group that you worked for before.

For the specific question my advice would be to keep it short in the CV. Maybe with the formulation that you used but with family Health issues or something like that rather than parental obligations. which I agree doesnt sound right (although I am not a native English speaker). In your personal letter you should provide more information similar to what you have in your post. In short: Kid got sick, needed to go to US for medical reasons, now have work permit and am eager to go to work.
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Re: How do I present myself on the CV, details inside

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:15 pm


Anyone who is a parent will know that the father as well as the mother must sometime make sacrifices for the good of the family. Your situation shows your determination to fulfill your family obligations -- congrats on that.

I agree with PG that the detail can take up a very few lines (minimize this, don't overdo it) in a cover letter. Your child was diagnosed with a health problem that not only required immediate action, it required a shift in geography. Show by your letter that you have all intents to now refocus on the career and put just as much passion into your work as you put into your family.

On the CV, I would show the PhD as interrupted due to family health issue and subsequent move to the USA, but otherwise avoid too much focus there.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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Re: How do I present myself on the CV, details inside

Postby Neil Clark » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:54 am

Thank you, PG and Dave.

Really appreciate comments. Gives me more clear idea now.
Neil Clark
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:58 am

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