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Convert Your CV to Resume

CV vs resume, what's the difference? Thinking what to do after grad school and applying to MSc or PhD jobs? Make sure not to make these common mistakes in your academia to industry transition.





CV vs resume, what's the difference? CVs have several advantages over traditional resumes as they're more focused on showcasing an individual's accomplishments related to academia. However, when applying to non-academic jobs, it's better to reformat the document completely in order to highlight relevant skills.


Here are 3 common mistakes people make when converting their CV to resume.



Leaving in publications


Although publications serve as the focal point of anyone in academia, they're not as important in the majority of industries. A resume is a concise version of your career journey and what you can accomplish. When a hiring manager reads your resume, they typically envision you carrying out the same tasks to deliver some sort of value to the company. You have to remember that they also have obligations and are looking for someone to make their job easier. Would a paper on Drosophila melanogaster apply to someone in healthcare project management? Probably not. Instead, remove the publications to make room for more applicable points to impress the hiring manager.


This situation does change when the job description calls for writing skills. In that case, use your fruit fly paper to convey how well you organize and communicate, but do so under a bullet point rather than an entire section. Once again, this saves precious space on your resume!


For positions (such as medical science liaison jobs) that require a high degree of knowledge of a specific subject, retain your publications by appending them to your application. Many job portals have the ability to append additional documents, so submit them separately from your resume and cover letter.



Being too technical


Another common problem when converting your CV to resume is focusing on details rather than accomplishments. Does the hiring manager need to know the exact chemical inhibitors you used in your postdoc? Rephrase your achievement to get rid of information that may bog down the hiring manager in boredom. This is often the main obstacle candidates have to consider when looking at differences between CVs and resumes. A great tip is to always think about the soft skills you have learned with each technical project. You may have used those inhibitors, but it's likely that the experience itself exposed you to project management skills - so try to put those instead!



Not showing meaningful outcomes


This ties in nicely with the previous point. Whenever you add a bullet point to your resume, ask yourself "Why does this matter for this position?". This is a good check to see if what you're writing is applicable. If you feel stumped, this is an excellent opportunity to try and reword your points. Focus on how you made your supervisor's life easier or if you were able to show off your transferable skills. For instance, instead of "developed new method to look at deterioration of adult stem cell function", try "reduced protocol length by 70% for 6-person team through innovative approach". As you can see in the final version, quantifying makes your statements powerful.



Thanks for reading this week's post! If you're struggling in rewriting your CV or want a professional look at your changes, take a look at our resume services. As always, take advantage of a free resume assessment at The Academic Blueprint to see if you're hitting the above points as you're converting your CV to a resume.