In a tight, very competitive job market, it does not help
if you start late. In addition, some recent graduates who
start late seek an easy way to achieve their first position.
[STRATEGIES ARE NUMBERED.]
Recently I met with AG who was an assistant professor
in residence at a university. You know an “assistant professor
in residence” is an academic position usually for no longer
than two years. An assistant professor, to distinguish the
difference, can be for as long as five years without tenure.
[UCLA academic personnel office does a particularly nice
job of defining the different “in residence positions”.]
He came seeking a “lifeline” in pursuing what to do next
in his career. The first pass review initially asked for what position
he sought. He had created a partial CV and was not having
success in getting interviews in research institutes and university
applications. He responded that he was willing to take any
position. Well, the “ambiguous” CV will reveal a lack of
focus and is one good reason why his CV will not be effective.
He did not like the frank yet honest appraisal.
He went off to seek another opinion.
REALITY SETS IN
Two months later he contacted me again asking for more
help. He was not getting positive responses from his document
applications. He also asked the appropriateness of applying for positions
not requiring PhD research experience.
So we explained, it is a tight market and your resume needs to
show a very close fit. Places will not hire a PhD to do a MS
position’s work. PhDs will move at the first opportunity. The
move will not help the department or the individual. Further, 
CVs are geared more for academic positions and academic post
docs. They are stylized in a particular way.
heading of CV
Resumes are written to be more targeted for specific positions,
they are shorter, they must reflect a match of your skills to their
needs and it helps to use specific keywords and readable form.
The next version was sent asking for comments. It dropped
many technical terms and listed EXPERIENCE and his recent
teaching immediately after the heading. That approach misses key
attractions, except for certain teaching positions. There was no
OBJECTIVE or keyword filled QUALIFICATIONS that will
get some traction, I commented. 
The listing of some techniques on the bottom of the first and
second page resembles an MS resume. 
That comment made an impression.
Things were shaping up after we went through the review
and brought in a comparable resume of someone who
recently interviewed at a hand full of places and started
a one year post doc after a successful series of interviews.
The very clear organization with keywords in context in
an easy-to-read design made an impression. The review
then went after what seemed to be missing from the resume…
valuable contracted characterization work, clear skills
working with challenging samples and conditions
that required creativity and other important skills he
It is very hard work to create an attractive and compelling
resume. When we are faced with other deadlines and
pressures, it is possible to have priorities get shifted and
long term career issues put off to satisfy short term
satisfiers. I urge you to start earlier and raise the priority
level of career management goals as you get closer to
their deadlines. Resume and cover letter writing is one
of the critical ones.