Sharon Parker – Track Record

Sharon Parker – Track Record

December 10, 2019 0 By Kailee Schamberger


Obviously you need to build your track
record, that’s obvious. But you also have to show your track record. Don’t assume people can infer it from what you’ve said. So just to give a concrete example, when I put in for a Laureate application the first time, when I was actually unsuccessful, one of the things I was shocked to see
as one of the comments was “You haven’t showed that you’ve
been an effective mentor.” I’ve always prided myself on being a good mentor, so this was quite a shocking comment to me. The same reviewer also said, “And by the way, you don’t have enough first-author publications.” And my opinion was
that as you get more advanced in your career, you shouldn’t really have that many first-author publications, most of them should
be with your PhDs and your postdocs. And that is actually exactly true for my career,
but I had not made that obvious, okay? So in the next round of application, then I bolded or starred or something every student. So in my CV, if it was Liew, Parker and Strauss or something, I’d say well “bold” Liew is a PhD student
and “star” Strauss is a postdoc. So I made it absolutely explicit that I was doing what I thought was appropriate. And then I also made that argument actually in the thing, that I think that is what mentors – that’s what we should be doing at this point in our career. And after all, Laureate is about legacy and mentoring. But that was interesting to me, because I just took it for granted
that it was obvious from my CV that this was true. But what reviewer really has time
to actually piece those things together? So you have to make things explicit. I also think it’s very important
to benchmark your track record. So what I mean by that is you might assert that
you’re in the top 10% in your field, or something like that. You’ve got to back it up and you’ve got to back it up with discipline-specific statistics. Because you have to remember that quite a lot of the time, people who are reviewing your application are not in your field. They might be in a slightly distinct discipline. And, of course, if it gets to the point that
it’s discussed by the panel, those people almost certainly won’t be in your field. So if you’re saying that you are, you know, the best Early Career Researcher or something in the department, you need to provide the actual statistics. And I think what’s important is that in our fields, so in our field, for example, you know if you’re publishing a couple of top-tier articles every year, you’re doing really, really well. Now in science, that would be
failure of epic proportions, right? So you need to provide that benchmarking information, so that if people see that you’re doing that, that is actually – that puts you in a very high category. So I find that sometimes people assume other people
have the same benchmarks that they do, but different disciplines have different benchmarks, so I would always encourage you to try to benchmark, especially for things like DECRAs and stuff, which are incredibly competitive. Of course, often you’re a team and so therefore you’re conveying the team track record and that’s partly about the
balance of the capabilities in the team, and articulating this person is on it
because they’re going to do this, and this person is strong in this
and that’s why they’re there. But it’s really important to show you’re a real team too, because often reviewers are on the lookout for “Oh, they just cobbled together this team just so it looks good.” So ideally you would have collaborated together, or you would have had some – at the very least, you know, prepared a discussion document together. So try to look at how can you convey you are a real team, that you’ve been working and thinking together.