In the United States, a CV describes an individual’s entire academic achievements and experience. In other words, a CV is a record or history of academic achievements—and there is no page limit. A resume for graduate students, on the other hand, is typically a one- or two-page document that lists the selected skills and experiences that are relevant to a particular job or internship of interest.
In general, a CV is more commonly used in faculty and research-focused jobs as well as in fellowship applications, while a resume is used in non-research focused jobs such as business, non-profit, and government agencies. Sending the appropriate document—either a CV or a resume—tells employers that you can distinguish the differences between academic and non-academic environments and that you can adapt your skills to either environment.
Check out the page on CVs in the Resumes Module in Canvas.
Converting a CV to a Resume
Do not exceed two pages.
- Think creatively and broadly about your experience:
- Do not limit to either "work" experience or "academic" experience. Think about your course projects, volunteer experience, and any freelance projects that you have done. Both paid and unpaid experiences are valuable!
- Brainstorm how your academic experience can be translated into the necessary skills for an environment outside academia.
- Consider transferable skills rather than discipline-specific knowledge such as project management, leadership, teamwork, and communication.
- Use the following resources to brainstorm:
- Use OptimalResume to review templates and sample resumes.
- Look at the Chronicle of Higher Education's CV Doctor that illustrates the differences between a CV and a resume.
- Consult Versatile PhD’s Career Finder to see examples of how PhD students translated their CV into a resume for their first non-academic position.
- Check if your resume passes the following test:
- Do I include action verbs that can show my transferable skills?
- Are the skills that I present on my resume relevant to the job or internship that I apply for?
- Can the employer/reader easily see the skills or experiences that I intend to highlight?
- Can the employer/reader visualize my experience based on my bullet-points?
- Do I include language that is related to the employer/reader (e.g., industry, company)?