A curriculum vitae or CV is used for academic positions or sometimes for senior research positions outside of academia (e.g., senior analyst at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). For the majority of positions in the private sector, a resume is the document most often required by employers. Note, in Europe a CV actually means resume. If you are unsure which the employer wants, it is best to ask.
Relevant to both resumes and CVs
- Used to get an interview
- Tailored for the specific position you are applying for
- Format is consistent
- Grammar and spelling has been checked
Differences Between a Resume and CV
- While a CV can be any length based upon experience and may contain many sections such as Publications, Research Grants, Awards or Exhibits, a resume is kept to two pages or maybe three pages if there is extensive work or research experience that is highly relevant to the specific position.
- A CV emphasizes your academic accomplishments, research and teaching, while a resume focuses very specifically on the skills, qualifications and work experience that showcases you as a good match for the position and employer. Research or projects can be included in a resume if highly relevant and can be described in the Experience section.
- A resume may contain an Objective section when you are applying to a specific position. Use job title, company name and even the job number (e.g., "Objective: Seeking Internship as Data Analyst at QualComm). An Objective section is omitted on a CV.
- A Summary of Qualifications and Skills or Profile is included near the top of a resume and consists of five or six statements that express your key skills required to do the job. It is not included in a CV Rather, a CV might include a section on Areas of Research Interest or Areas of Teaching Interest located near the top of the CV.
- For those in the humanities, a CV would include a summary of the dissertation following education. A resume does not include this section.
- CVs would include your PI or Advisor's name and department within the education section and also in the Research Experience section. A resume would not include this unless the resume is being used for a research position where your PI/Advisor is well known in the industry or company you are applying to.
How do I Convert my CV to a Resume?
Begin by studying the job description and considering exactly what skills and qualifications are relevant to the position. Evaluate your CV and determine what information you will be highlighting based upon the skills and requirements for the job.
Re-format your CV into a resume by including the following sections and headings:
- Objective - use this only if you are seeking a very specific position or to indicate a particular time frame, for example, "Seeking summer internship position, part-time programmer at Intel Corp."
- Education - this section can be placed toward the bottom of a resume if your experience is highly relevant and extensive. When placing education towards the bottom, you will be using your experience as the critical information, not your degree. This can be useful when the degree is less a "fit' or when changing careers.
- Summary of Qualifications and Skills (see advanced degree resume samples).
- Experience - Includes your title, organization you worked for and the timeframe followed by a bullet point list of what you accomplished and how you used your skill set (e.g., MATLAB, GIS, archival research, analysis, data management, community outreach) in context. Emphasize experiences whenever possible with accomplishment statements instead of an inventory of duties. For example, instead of “Designed components” replace with “Designed and programmed components for CNC lathe and mill manufacturing resulting in sales estimated at $10,000/month.”
- Selected Publications and Relevant Presentations can be included in a resume if highly relevant. List only a select few that are most relevant to the job.
- Omit References on a resume as these likely will asked for during or after an interview or uploaded when applying online.
- Additional CV sections can be included in a resume if highly relevant to the position, such as: Professional Affiliations, Awards and Honors, Certifications or Licenses, Patents.
Functional Combination vs. Chronological Format
Resumes can have either a chronological or functional combination format (see samples). Typically a resume will be in a simple chronological format. However a functional combination resume can be used in specific cases. A functional combination format organizes experiences (i.e., paid and unpaid work and personal achievements) by skill set followed by a simple list of employment history. See functional combination sample. The functional combination format can be used when transitioning to a new career field where your direct work experience doesn't showcase the skill set you want to emphasize for the specific job you are applying to. Or when relevant skill sets have been gained in class, when doing projects or as a volunteer. Use the format that best showcases the skills and experiences related to the job you are applying to.
Additional Tips and Suggestions
- Employers use resumes to decide who they will interview.
- Resumes are often scanned through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) first by software if uploaded online. The software is looking for key words (including the number of uses) identified by the hiring manager as critical to candidate selection.
- If a resume passes the ATS, they are generally visually scanned (not read) for between 2 to 6 seconds to assess whether you will be interviewed, therefore, resumes MUST be easy to read, have ample white space with at least a .8 margin, and with a 11-12 point font size.
- Guide the reader by using capital letters, bold print, underlining, and spacing to emphasize the points of your experience that you want to emphasize…but not all at once!
- A resume serves as an introduction to your skills and experiences and are related to a specific job or career path you are applying for. Tailor skills, experience, and motivation to fit what they are looking for.
- Your skills are generally described on a resume with action verbs (in past tense) in concise and short bullet points.
- Be sure to quantify your experience whenever possible - use numbers!
- Length should be 1-2 pages, with a third page only if you have significant experience or relevant publications (these should be placed towards the end).
- Be careful using acronyms or abbreviations, even if it seems obvious for your industry. Human resources staff will likely take the first look at your resume and may not have content knowledge.
- If you have substantial experience and want to emphasize that in your resume for an industry position, place the Experience section before the Education section. If your experience is limited, however, it is best to put your Education section first.
- Keep personal information (photos, age, marital or health status, race or ethnicity) off your resume.
- Translate your academic experience to the nonacademic audience. Industry contacts may not understand what it means to be a teaching assistant (TA), a postdoc, or graduate research assistant. Use descriptions about those experiences- rather than, "taught biology," use "taught undergraduate courses on topics ranging from XYZ to XYZ."
- Avoid using jargon that is specific to your field.
- Proofread, proofread, and then proofread again.
Make an appointment with an ICC advisor to review your application materials.