Resumes and CVs - Converting Your CV to a Resume

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The curriculum vitae used for an academic job search is typically not appropriate for a job search outside of academia. In place of a CV you need a resume. In contrast to a CV, resumes focus on your experience and skills in a concise, clear manner that is accessible to employers and expected outside the academy. If you already have a CV, then the hard part of chronicling your work and educational experience is complete. The tips below will assist you in consolidating and focusing the information you have in order to convert your CV into a resume format.

Differences Between a CV and a Resume

  • Length - While a CV may be several pages in length, a resume should, ideally, be one page, and two pages only if you have extensive experience.
  • Emphasis - Rather than focusing on your coursework and research, resumes highlight work experience and transferable skills that pertain to a particular job. To this end, some project, research and/or grant experience may be appropriate to include.
  • Format - Resumes are typically structured under specific headings such as Education, Experience, and Skills.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are those skills you acquire as a student that can be utilized in work settings. The ability to clearly state on a resume what these skills are is crucial to a successful job search. To begin thinking about what skills you can offer a new employer, make a list of abilities and accomplishments that are important to you as a student and think about what general skills they involved. Some examples include your ability to:

  • Collect and analyze data
  • Research and solve problems
  • Write reports and present findings
  • Explain complex problems to a range of audiences

You can learn more about the strategic portrayal of transferable job skills at  

What Sections to Include on a Resume

  • Education - List institutions of higher education and degrees earned. You may also include GPA, Majors and Minors, Honors, and a list of relevant course work for certain jobs and industries.
  • Experience - Accurately and concisely illustrate your work and your academic experiences that are most relevant to the position that you are seeking. Highlight duties that demonstrate your skills in active voice using action verbs. Focus on your accomplishments and achievements - NOT just a summary of your responsibilities. Depending on the position, you may also choose to include "Project Experience," "Research Experience," and "Leadership Experience."
  • Activities - Any activities (such as teaching, heading a student organization, etc.) that you complete during your academic career can be transformed into work experience on a resume. You may choose to title this section volunteer work, community involvement, and/or leadership activities.
  • Skills - Think about the skills you have gained that are transferable to the workplace. These may include language, computer and managerial skills.

What Sections NOT to Include on a Resume

  • References - Names of references should be provided separately, if requested, and referenced in your resume as "available upon request." (see CCE References tipsheet)
  • Publications - These can also be listed on a separate page, or you may include a distinct section called “Selected Publications.”
  • Extensive Course Work - Only include the classes that have been most important in your education and most relevant to the type of job you are seeking.

Transforming Your CV to a Resume in a Few Simple Steps

  • Identify a resume format by looking through resume books in the Career Resource Center and the Resume tip sheet.
  • Research and identify skills and qualifications sought by prospective employers and particular job postings.
  • Generate a list of your transferable skills and relevant experience.
  • Organize your information to highlight experience and skills that are relevant to the job you are seeking.
  • Use action-oriented verbs that describe your skills and experiences in a way that will make sense to a prospective employer.
  • Streamline your document by removing extraneous information and by using clear and concise formatting.
  • Meet with a counselor to receive feedback and suggestions for revisions.
  • Revise your resume, proofread carefully, and print the final copy on good quality resume paper.

Additional Resources


Basalla, Susan and Maggie Debelius.  So What Are You Going To Do With That?: A   Guide for M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s Seeking Careers Outside the Academy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2001 (rev. ed 2007).

Furlong, Jennifer S.  and Julia Miller Vick. The Academic Job Search Handbook. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992 (rev. ed. 2008).

Online Resources

PDF icon Sample CV229.1 KB
PDF icon Sample resume converted from CV181.11 KB