“When employers sift through a giant stack of applications, we look for excuses to end the relationship quickly. Don't give us one” (Miller).  As an academic, you most likely have been slotting all your achievements and experiences into a CV that has probably grown to at least five pages long. If you never got around to writing a CV, then for you, writing a resume will actually be easier than turning a CV into a resume. This is a laborious process, but one that is absolutely necessary.
How are CVs and resumes different?
The most visible difference is the length. Educational employers like to read, so 5-7 pages is normal for a CV. But nearly all other types of employers expect a document that is 1-2 pages, 2 pages being the absolute maximum length. This cannot be stressed enough. A postacademic who gives a potential employer a resume that is longer than two pages in length will handicap themselves immediately. If you think it will help you get a job, a creative or longer resume can be uploaded onto LinkedIn (like a portfolio).
Why is a longer resume so undesirable?
Two reasons: non-academic employers aren’t going to take the time to read through a multi-page document. They are likely to spend 15 seconds looking over your resume on the first pass, trying to weed out half the applicants. Secondly, they expect you to tailor your resume to the position, only giving them the information that is directly relevant, not a summary of everything you have done. In other words, “It’s not about you. It’s about the job." Think of a resume as a tightly focused argument about why you are qualified for this job.
So, the top 3 most vital questions to ask yourself about your resume are:
Are the 3 most important facts about me on the first page?
Are they directly relevant to the position?
Are they clear?
Avoiding the First Cut
Identify your strengths for them. Don’t make potential employers look for the connections between your experience and the position—do the work for them. Keep in mind that jobs don’t go to the most qualified applicants, they go to the best applicants, those who make the hiring manager’s job as easy as possible.
Pro tip: To phrase your strengths in language that will resonate with the employer, use industry keywords. To identify these if you don’t already know them, get a 101-level textbook about the field and get the keywords, or copy them directly from the job ad.
Organize logically and hierarchically. Again, don’t make the hurried person scanning your resume strain to figure out how to make sense of its internal elements. Use section headings that are relevant and not novel or idiosyncratic.
Use “gapping” language. Use sentence fragments, bullet points, lead with verbs. No complete sentences. No first-person pronouns. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to skim.
Use consistent fonts, style, layout. Remember principles of parallel construction and basic design—more important elements should be placed above less important ones, similar elements should be formatted identically, etc. For fonts, Calibri, Cambria, or Geneva are all good, but be sure that you use 10-point or larger.
No obvious errors. Grammar and spelling count. Get at least two pairs of eyes on your resume just to check for mechanical correctness, no matter how impeccable your writing skills or how many times you’ve revised it.
Specific Sections for Resumes
Name, address, email, phone, LinkedIn profile URL, perhaps Twitter handle if your tweets are professional
Only make it the first section if relevant, otherwise put it at the end
Institution, Degree, Field, Date
Expected date if ABD
Reverse chronological order of institutions; no need to list all if not relevant
Include relevant professional training: seminars, pedagogical workshops, computer training, continuing education, certifications, licenses, etc.
Pro tip: Identify some areas of knowledge you’d like to build up and seek out education about them, particularly educational paths that will produce some kind of credential: a portfolio, a certification, etc.
IMPORTANT—build up as much as possible
Non-academic experiences are important, will likely be more highly regarded by resume readers than your “Service” section by CV readers
Experience to highlight (no matter how lowly or how long ago)
- Administrative or managerial experience
- Collaboration, especially outside of academia
- Writing for a range of audiences
- Project management
Internships, volunteer experience
Focus on skills and outcomes
Include only if relevant
List hobbies and interests
Choose carefully, match to the culture of the organization
CV sections to include only if relevant
Include only if applying for educational or training position
Do not organize according to classes taught
Use 3-5 bullet points highlighting relevant achievements
Only include a few highlights if applying for a writing or research job
Use general terms for research and publications
Focus on skills used in creating the final product, including research methods; topic may be irrelevant
Include recent blogs, social media
CV to Resume Sample
Here is a sample CV to resume conversion. In this situation a PhD candidate in English wants to convert her CV into a resume for the National Curriculum Specialist position described below.
National Curriculum Specialist
Marketing | Austin, TX
The National Curriculum Specialist assists with pre-sales curriculum presentations, product demonstrations, sales training and enablement for the nationwide sales force.
Serves as one of the primary presenters for sales briefings.
Assists with development of sales tools and internal sales training as needed.
Serves as a resource to assist account executives and associates with preparations for their own sales presentations.
Curriculum Specialists will work primarily in their geographic quadrant of the company, but will support other areas as needed.
Must be a self-starter and possess the ability to develop in-depth product knowledge and the communication/interpersonal skills to interface within the organization and all levels of school personnel.
Skill in the use of presentation hardware and software.
Work independently with a minimum of supervision
EDUCATION / KNOWLEDGE:
Bachelor’s degree in education or related field is required. Master’s degree in Education or related field is preferred but not required.
Educational experience as a classroom teacher/administrator within a school district
Must have previous sales or training experience and the ability to present with minimal presentation time.
Extensive travel required.
Necessary changes to convert the information on the CV to bullet points more appropriate for a resume include:
Eliminating teaching experience, presentations and publications, and committee work that is not immediately relevant to the position
Shortening the length to 1 or 2 pages at maximum
Minimizing some details to make the information more easily readable and understandable to a lay audience
Incorporating keywords from the job ad
Highlighting experience that is especially relevant, including curriculum design, presentations, management, collaboration, and teaching diverse populations