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Depending on the purpose – applying for a job in industry or your application for an MS or a PhD or applying for a research or teaching position at some university or research lab – you will need to create a Resume or a CV (Curriculum Vitae).
Both the documents details your qualification for they differ in extent of details, audience they are written for and their formats.
When to use a Resume
In the US and most of other countries for non-academic positions, your potential recruiters in most of companies, expect resumes.
Resumes are 1-2 page summaries of your experience, educations, skills and achievements.
Your recruiters would hardly spend 1-2 minutes scanning your resume to get a quick sense of your background and experience.
Hence your resume should be concise with enough white space on the page to make it easy for your recruiters to quickly scan them.
When to use a CV
You will use a CV to apply for academic, scientific or research position. You will also use CV when you apply for a fellowship or grant.
A CV is a longer synopsis of your background. It could vary from 2-6 pages, covering:
- academic background
- teaching and research experience
- awards, honors, accomplishments and recognition
- publications and presentations
- internships and project work
- professional qualifications and certifications
- work experience
Guidelines for Preparing a Resume
- Do not exceed two pages.
- Re-evaluate your experience. Think creatively about how your academic experience can be translated into the necessary skills for a non-academic environment.
- Consider mentioning about skills of project management, leadership, teamwork, effective communication, and meeting deadlines.
- Choose action verbs to describe your experience. For example starting your experience with “Responsible for handling 50+ client calls per day …”, “Exceeded sales goal by 7% …” or “Trained 5 junior team members on compliance procedures …” tells your experience in terms of outcome i.e. what was the result of your experience, activity or job role.
- Put your strengths first.
- List your professional experience or your degree first, depending on which is most important for a specific position.
- Include a well-written job objective; state the type of position and work setting you are seeking, skills or abilities you possess, and long-term goals.
- Be sure that your resume supports your job objective.
- Emphasize skills and accomplishments.
- List relevant presentations, publications, and papers, but not all.
- Tailor your resume to the job that you want to apply for. First look at the description of the job and highlight the experience and skills that seem important. Then, look at your resume with fresh eyes, and consider how you can better incorporate the skills you’ve noticed in the job description.
- Create several versions of your resume: a print version (ready to print and handout to your network or interviewers), a scannable version (limit the italics and other word processing treatments), and a plain text version (a plain text file or Text-Only document can be copied and pasted into online applications)
- Have someone proofread it.
Guidelines for Preparing a CV
- The order of topics in a CV format is flexible.
- Arrange sections to highlight strengths for the position you are seeking.
- Elaborate on accomplishments and skills within categories.
- List items within each category chronologically, the most recent appearing first.
- Include additional headings when appropriate to reflect certifications, workshops, seminars, publications etc.
- Present information in an easily accessible and attractive style.
- Use language and acronyms recognized in your field.
- Avoid using bold, italics, underlining, lines, or graphics. Use all caps for emphasis.
- When sending CV over email, state your objectives and career interests in the first few lines itself so that your target audience get sufficiently interested in your email to read your entire CV. You may attach CV as a pdf file or cut-and-paste the CV content into the text of the email message, which makes it easier to read on a mobile phone.
- Highly your desire to desire to study independently, which is among most valued qualities by admission officers.
Skeleton of a Resume
Resume tailored for a consulting role that mentions following skills in its job description: problem solving, flexibility, people skills, communication and leadership.
Phone | Email
STATEMENT OF PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVE
Describe clearly and succinctly in one sentence why you are applying for the position, summarizing the type of position you are seeking, where you want to work, and what aspect of the field you are interested in.
Employers use summary statements to weed out the clueless from the savvy. Here are some examples, striking the right balance between breadth and specifics:
- Seeking challenging position as computer programmer incorporating skills in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data mining
- Desire position in management-consulting organization requiring outstanding verbal, analytical, and teamwork skills
- Position as analytical chemist in semiconductor manufacturing company, specializing in transmission electron microscopy
QUALIFICATION AND SUMMARY
In 2-3 bullet points, describe your most important qualifications that usually include the most important skills for the job you are applying to, years of experience, credentials or areas of specialization.
Mention in reverse chronological order Name of institution (PhD, master’s, bachelor’s), location of institution and year of graduation, department or major and academic honors (i.e., distinction), and any professional certificates or accreditation or minors
Don’t mention the titles of your theses (that might go in work experience but only if applicable), the name of your adviser, your GPA (if it is requested, often along with GRE/SAT scores; list it/them separately), and your high school
List three to five work experiences or jobs that highlight the set of skills that is most desirable to the employer, highlighting how you made a difference by citing specifics, and using quantifiable measures of what you did. For example, don’t just say you TA’d a lab section; tell employers that you “taught introductory laboratory chemistry to 23 students.
You should use action verbs in an active past or present tense. For example, rather than saying “was responsible for operation, maintenance, student training, and certification of users for x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, 1992-1995,” say “maintained and operated x-ray fluorescence spectrometer; trained and certified 44 students over 3 years.”
If you are just out of college with little work experience, you can write about something particularly notable in college. For example, I was the technical director of a theater on campus.
To write your experiences, follow this format:
Job title | Name of the organization | Location (city, state) of organization, and year of employment (nobody cares about months)
Something which is not covered already. For example, computer skills and foreign-language skills might come here.
WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE
Your hobbies, date of birth, your marital status, the number of children you have, and salary requirements.
Option, but highly effective if you have some great references. Mention about your reference’s full name, job title, place of employment, relationship to you, full address, phone number, and e-mail address
Skeleton of a CV
Phone | Email
Indian Institute of Science | Bangalore, India
Date | MS, University Name
Date | B.Tech. University Name
Date | Graduate Student, Indian Institute of Science
Accomplishments, Thesis, Experiments, Publications
Date | Undergraduate Student, Bangalore University
Accomplishments, Thesis, Experiments
Date | Teaching Assistant, Indian Institute of Science
Course taught, advising, mentoring
GRANTS / AWARDS
Your name, author2, author2
Date | Title of the aticle, journal
Write in chronological order, but if the most are recent not relevant use a subheading such as “Relevant publications”. Other subheadings could include “Peer reviewed”, “In Progress”, and “Conference Proceedings”.
CONFERENCES AND PRESENTATIONS
Include at least two academic referees who have given you permission to be included in your CV.
Name | Page 1 of X
- Harvard University: Resumes and Cover Letter for PhD students. Check-out for list of action verbs to use to describe your experiences and sample resumes.
- Rice University: CV and Resume for Grad Students. Check-out for sample CVs.
- How to Spin 1 Resume Bullet 5 Different Ways. Check-out for how to present same information in 5 different ways, depending on what your potential employer is looking for.
- The Cover Letter: Door Opener Par Excellence. Check-out for tips on writing a cover letter.