Looking for jobs in the USA? Here are some top tips on academic CVs and industry resumes from Lauren Celano.
Contributor Lauren Celano
Although CVs and resumes both contain information regarding experience, accomplishments, research focus and education, these documents differ in many ways. Understanding these is critical for candidates applying to non-academic positions. Here I highlight a few of the key differences. The details provided below refer to academic CV’s and industry resumes for the USA job market.
Industry resumes: A resume is meant to simply hit the high points and be directed toward the position of interest.
Length: Resumes are typically limited to just one or two pages, and this depends upon an individual’s experience. A candidate with limited work and/or educational experience should try to stick to just one page, and a more experienced candidate can extend to two.
Format: The first page typically starts out with a summary statement(s) that tells the reader who you are, what you do and how it directly relates to the position of interest. It also includes information on experience and positions you have held, which could include undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral research along with education.
The second page could contain a skills and techniques section, peer review experience, selected awards, leadership, and papers and presentations.
In some cases, a third page could be acceptable to list additional papers, publications, book chapters, etc, if this information is relevant to the role. These examples are meant to be a general guide; ultimately the job description dictates what information should be included in a resume.
As an example, a research focused resume would contain bullet points under each experience to highlight disease knowledge and research findings, along with specific skills and techniques used. A medical science liaison resume would highlight disease knowledge, big picture impact of the research, as well as communication, writing, and teaching experiences. A consulting resume would highlight disease knowledge as well as collaboration experience (to show teamwork), quantitative skills, communication, leadership, and significant awards.
Content: A resume typically includes your home address and personal email address. Education can be listed in different areas depending upon the role applied for. An executive summary of your relevant qualifications is typically provided at the top, and this is tailored for each role. Every resume version contains the same basic information, such as position title, institution, and education, but the bullet points describing each experience are changed to highlight skills relevant to the role.
Many people reading your resume will not be an expert in your area, therefore it is important to include more general discriptions of your work, at least the high level/big picture, so that the reader can understand why the research is important and what you have accomplished.
A resume may list that you mentored and wrote/received grants, but mentees’ name and current status (i.e. Ph.D. candidate at University X) and details regarding grants, such as funding amount, funding title and date awareded are not typically included on a resume. References for industry are often provided in a separate document tailored for the specific role.
Lastly US resumes do not include a picture, personal information such as date of birth, family information or relationship status.
An academic CV is a historic and comprehensive record of education, training, employment, job related activities, publications and accomplishment.
Length: The length depends upon the experience, level of detail, and amount of information included. 4-5 pages (or more) is common. An experienced academic scientists’ CV could easily be 20 pages or more in length.
Format: The first page may include a summary /interest statement to summarize your research background succinctly. Education is typically listed next followed by positions you have held, which include undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral research, fellowships, and your current position (if different than the ones just mentioned). Positions are typically listed with the most recent first. Following this are sections for teaching, mentoring, publications, book chapters, presentations, fellowships/grants, service, and peer reviewing. The exact order of these sections depends upon the type of role you are applying for – research intensive PI position, teaching intensive position, or research and teaching position.
Content: A CV typically includes the work (academic institution) address and work email address. Education is typically listed near the top of the CV and would include institution, degree, discipline, PI and thesis title. The additional sections include details such as mentees names and current role (i.e. graduate student at University X), grants received, funding amount, and length of award, all publications, book chapters, oral, poster, and invited presentations, peer review experience, courses taught, and service to your academic and /or professional organization.
A CV typically contains little to no detail about the research performed because people reading your CV are usually very familiar with your papers and field of study.
References are usually incuded in a CV, but do not have to be in a resume.
If you have any questions for Lauren about academic CVs or industry resumes, leave a comment in the space below and Lauren will get back to you.
Don’t panic! How to make your CV look its best – a post on CVs for the UK industry job market.
CV skills with Sarah Blackford – a summery of Sarah Blackford’s talk at the Naturejobs Career Expo in London in September 2014.