From the advice of Female Science Professor [FSP] (pseudonym / nom de plume) comes mentoring
advice! Bite-size morsels of advice appeals to mentoring by forcing one to prioritize: If I could tell you only one thing about each topic, what is that one most important thing?
FSP notes the perils of mentoring advice: It is extremely subjective. No advice—whether brief or
detailed—applies to all people and situations.
Following are FSP’s do’s and don’ts in one sentence:
Cover letters for academic jobs: In one page, explain why you are a strong candidate in terms of your expertise and interests, without implying that we are idiots if we don't hire you.
Research statements for academic jobs: Start with your most recent and most exciting work and ideas, rather than describing your research experiences in chronological order, from childhood to present.
CV's for academic jobs: Put the information most relevant to our position early in the CV and don't try to bulk up a meager publication record by listing manuscripts "in preparation."
Research statements for graduate-school applications: Don't write about a memorable childhood experience that you (mistakenly) think is relevant to your qualifications for graduate study.
Reference-letter writers for graduate-school applications: In addition to selecting the obvious
professors (advisers), pick people who are not related to you and who can write substantive comments relevant to your goal of being admitted to a doctoral program.
Reference-letter writers for tenure-track jobs: In addition to selecting the obvious professors
(advisers), pick people who can write something substantive about you—even if they are not as famous as others who could toss off a brief paragraph—and who have credibility as letter writers in this context.
Applicants to graduate programs: Write about things that are relevant to an applicant for
graduate study, not a list of every type of interaction you have ever had with the candidate, from hiring that student as a babysitter to discovering a mutual love of zombie movies.
Applicants for tenure-track positions: Give an honest and substantive explanation for why
the candidate is—or is not—qualified for the position for which he or she is applying.
Faculty member's tenure bid: If someone's career depends, in part, on your evaluation, it would be nice if you wrote a thorough letter that is more about the candidate than about you.
Female candidates for any of these things: Do not compare her only to other women in
similar positions ("She is among the top female students ever to graduate from our department.").
Tenure-track faculty positions: Just be yourself, but not too much.
Graduate students writing to faculty or program administrators: Do not send form letters
("Dear Professor"), don't ask vague questions that you should be able to answer before you write ("What is your research about?"), and don't ask us to do tasks for you ("Please send me your three most recent papers."), especially if those tasks are obnoxious ("My adviser told me to write to you, so please write back soon and tell me why I might be interested in working with you, given my expertise").
Graduate students visiting a department for an interview or recruitment event: Don't skip a meeting with a professor (or anyone) because you would rather check out the campus fitness center.
Graduate students who think their advisers are strange, unavailable, erratic, and clueless (excluding egregious behavior and ethical violations): Maybe they are some or all of those things and maybe they aren't, but it would be good if you could find a way to work with them anyway, perhaps by developing strategies for better communication.
Graduate advisers who think their students are strange, unavailable, erratic, and clueless (excluding egregious behavior and ethical violations): Maybe they are some or all of those things and maybe they aren't, but it would be good if you could find a way to work with them anyway, perhaps by developing strategies for better communication.
Writers who are upset at the rejection of their manuscripts by journals: Unless your work has been conclusively shown to be fatally flawed, move on as soon as possible and submit a revised version to another journal.
Writers who are upset at how their work is cited—or not cited—in journal articles or books (excluding egregious examples and ethical violations): Let it go, perhaps after sending a passive-aggressive e-mail to the offending author(s).
From Female Science Professor (11/6/2012). One-Sentence Managing. Manage Your Career, Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/One-Sentence-Mentoring/135580/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en