Converting Your CV to a Resume

In the United States, the curriculum vitae (CV) is used almost exclusively for job search within academia. It is not appropriate for traditional non-academic job searching. For this you need a resume. Where the CV focuses on your coursework and research, the resume focuses on your experience and skills as they relate to your desired occupation or position. If you're looking to make a transition from an academic job to a job in private industry, you'll need to convert your CV in to resume. The tips below will help you accomplish this.

Differences Between a CV and a Resume
  • Length - A CV is must longer than a resume. Where a CV may be up to 6 pages in length, a resume should be no longer than one page--maybe two if you have over 10 years of experience.

  • Focus - Where the CV focuses almost exclusively on coursework and research, a resume emphasizes work experience and transferable skills that are relevant to a specific occupation or position. Consequently, some information on your CV may be appropriate to include on your resume--but much will not.

  • Format - Resumes have a fairly structured format which includes specific sections. These sections traditionally include Experience, Education, and Skills. (However, many resumes also include a Career Objective or Summary Statement.)

Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are those skills acquired through education that can be used in a professional occupation. Being able to clearly articulate these skills on a resume is one of the most important aspects of converting a CV to a resume. To get started, make a list of all the skills you've acquired throughout your education or career in academia, including abilities and accomplishments. For example:

  • Data analysis
  • Research
  • Presenting
  • Problem solving
  • Develop reports
  • Explain complex problems
  • Manage teams
  • Lead teams
  • Project management

Then make a list of all of the skills required for the position you're seeking. For example:

  • Financial analysis
  • Research
  • Problem solving
  • Marketing/Sales
  • Customer relations
  • Lead teams
  • Project management

Finally, identify where these two lists of skills converge to create a list of transferable skills, as follows:

  • Research
  • Problem solving
  • Lead teams
  • Project management

On your resume you'll want to articulate how each transferable skill is directly applicable to the desired position and how these skills make you an ideal candidate for the job.

Sections to Include on a Resume
  • Education - This section includes formal education you've received from a college or university--including degrees earned. You may also include your GPA, major, minors, honors, and possibly a list of coursework relevant to the position you're seeking. If you have work experience, you're resume should focus on your experience and limit your education section to colleges attended and degrees earned.

  • Experience - List your work and academic experience that is most relevant to the position you're seeking. Emphasize responsibilities and duties that demonstrate your transferrable skills. Focus on achievements and accomplishments. DON'T simply provide a summary of your responsibilities. You need to clearly demonstrate how you're experience qualifies you for the position. Work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order.

  • Activities - This section is optional. Most resumes do not have an activities section, unless the activities are directly relevant to the desired position. This section is more appropriate for those will limited work experience.

  • Skills - Skills are typically included as part of the Experience or summary statement sections (see below). However, resumes may include a "Highlights" section toward top where candidates clearly list/articulate in bullet format the skills they possess that are directly relevant to the position being sought.

  • Summary Statement - The summary statement section takes the place of the career objective section. Where the career objective lists the goals and objectives of the job seeker, the summary statement focuses on the needs of the employer by articulating the job seeker's skills, abilities and achievements that are directly relevant to the position. The summary statement section should be placed directly below the candidates contact information at the top of the resume.

Sections NOT to Include on a Resume
  • References - A list of references should be developed separately from the resume. The references list can be made available to prospective employers upon request or following the job interview.

  • Publications - Publications can be useful if they're relevant to the occupation and position for which you're applying. However, they should be listed on a separate page unless they're extremely relevant to the position or are necessary to showcase your skills.

  • Extensive Course Work - On the CV an extensive list of coursework is acceptable, on a resume it's not. On a resume, only list coursework and classes that are most relevant to the position you're seeking.

A Few Simple Steps for Converting Your CV to a Resume
  • Determine the resume format you'll use. We highly recommend using a format that supports a chronological resume.
  • Identify the skills and qualifications required for the position you're seeking.
  • Create a list of your transferable skills and relevant experience.
  • Organize your resume's sections and information to emphasize the experience and skills that are most relevant to the position you're seeking.
  • Employ action verbs that help describe your skills and abilities.
  • Make sure your resume employs clear, concise language and formatting. Remove any extraneous information.
  • Have a career counselor, or someone you trust, review and critique your resume. Get useful feedback and suggestions for revision.
  • Make necessary revisions, proofread again, and print a final copy on high quality resume paper.

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