How important is past Employment?

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Nightzeit
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:04 pm

How important is past Employment?

Post by Nightzeit » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:33 pm

I see a lot of CV/resumes encourage you to list employment history.

Due to disability, I have been unable to work and have never had a job. My situation is complex, but I would potentially be able to work as a TA in my future and definitely should be able to be employed with a long term career in my far future (i.e. professor).

Does not having past employment make me look like a worse canadate for graduate admissions? Is it worth mentioning somewhere why I have not been able to be employed?

HubbleBubble
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:06 am

Re: How important is past Employment?

Post by HubbleBubble » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:13 pm

Without knowing details it is hard to say. If you went through your undergrad and got sufficiently good grades and made sufficiently good progress in research, they could not care one bit that you never worked a real job. You’re fine.

If, on the other hand, you graduated from school and have been unemployed for multiple years due to disability, that is another matter. Hopefully you still managed to work on physics in meantime, which might look great if you got something out of it.

It is not fair, but the fact is graduate admissions is not a review of you as a person. Admissions has 10+ qualified applicants per funded spot, so they have the freedom to pick a student with a proven record who will make publication worthy discoveries, do well in courses, and finish the program even through 5-7 years of 50-60 hr weeks. So, if you have a gap without any physics or employment, an applicant without a hole in their CV looks better in comparison. Maybe try to graciously mention your disability in this case, or be ready for questions in interviews.

Nightzeit
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:04 pm

Re: How important is past Employment?

Post by Nightzeit » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:29 pm

HubbleBubble wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:13 pm
Without knowing details it is hard to say. If you went through your undergrad and got sufficiently good grades and made sufficiently good progress in research, they could not care one bit that you never worked a real job. You’re fine.

If, on the other hand, you graduated from school and have been unemployed for multiple years due to disability, that is another matter. It is not fair, but the fact is graduate admissions is not a review of you as a person. Admissions has 10+ qualified applicants per funded spot, so they have the freedom to pick a student with a proven record who will make publication worthy discoveries, do well in courses, and finish the program even through 5-7 years of 50-60 hr weeks. So, an applicant without a hole in their CV looks better in comparison. But, I do think you have a chance no matter what. And I think your achievements will shine brighter since they were made despite disability, so try mentioning it appropriately. But if you have a true hole in your CV, that will raise questions for sure, so be prepared in interviews.
Thanks for the reply. I am a 4th year undergrad anticipating graduation in spring 2021. I had in a brief mention of it in a CV draft that I showed my current advisor. He told me that I should either scrap it completely if I was just putting it in because I thought employment was required to be listed or alternatively to elaborate on it more if I thought that discussing future work as a TA was relevant and something that I wanted to bring up.

My GPA is about 3.75 for physics and about 3.78 overall. My university has an extremely small physics program and the administration tries to cut out physics classes every chance they get due to lack of funding and assuming that classes with few people in them (since the program is so small it's garrenteed that few people sign up) are not very important. I've also only had three professors.

I'm currently receiving a grant from the state through a program that works to get disabled people into the workforce. Since my employment goal is professor, they have funded part of my undergrad tuition. The program typically does not fund graduate degrees, but I was told I was one of the exceptional cases that would be funded if necessary because of my precise goals and good grades. I'm also considering mentioning this but I'm not sure if it belongs.

HubbleBubble
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:06 am

Re: How important is past Employment?

Post by HubbleBubble » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:13 pm

If you are an undergrad it shouldn’t matter. Some students TA, but it is a smaller factor in grad admissions. In general, trust what your adviser says over internet randos.

Sounds like you have good grades, so what matters in admissions is your research - letters from professors you researched with and ideally results like posters.

If you have an outside funding source definitely mention that. Most applications have a spot to do so, and it could help a lot. Although, I wouldn’t talk too much about the professorship goal. It doesn’t hurt to mention, but it can kind of come off as naive. After all, the majority of PhDs do not become professors.



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