Let’s start with the general understanding that resumes
are tailored public relations documents for industrial
positions and many government lab positions. Each one
is structured and organizes its content for each specific
position using keywords and insight into the industry
you are applying to.
CV’s are designed to interest reviewers principally in
academia, but also in certain governmental laboratories,
for five specific elements:
- technical expertise in sought for area(s)
potential to be a leader
- communication skills to grasp, inspire and convince
- creativity and originality
new concepts and approaches
- productivity: “hard work often trumps intelligence”
trained with and surrounded by excellent scientists
impressed individuals by whom they were surrounded.
KEY DIFFERENCE: BREVITY
While resumes are characterized by brevity, clarity,
specificity and being easy to read, CVs need to be
clear, specific and display remarkable communication.
The key difference that stands out is brevity.
How can you do this when the resume includes
extra sections, the objective and highlights ? Well
it behooves you to get more information about
the job description and laser focus the sections to
show how you meet the requirements.
WHAT SHOULD BE CLEAR AND STAND OUT?
From the initial paragraphs of this entry, the resume
needs to clearly point to a strong match the the position
needs using keywords in a brief document.
Other supporting documents can be included in the
file, but they will not carry as much weight in the
initial review. The initial review will target the middle
third of the first page. It helps that getting there there
are no distractors, like unexpected information (not
an American citizen for a security clearance required
position, for example).
Remember ATS Applicant Tracking Systems are
more commonly used to screen these files.
The CV is more nuanced in that it will be closely
read for several elements. Each of the five elements
will be weighted differently and it will be assessed
by a committee. Length is less of a concern if it is
easy to read and has all the desired sections.
Let me share areas where I sense the need for
improvement in a recent resume:
1. Page 1 does not contain keyword-rich match
of skills and abilities that match a job description
2. Undergrad GPA listed– 3.22, too low to include.
3. Does not highlight sufficiently working at a top tier
4. Weak verbs used in the EXPERIENCE SECTION
namely, performed, contributed to, studied
5. Four pages long. No Internet presence in heading.
1. Long paragraphs
2. No references (note: include in CV, not in resume)
3. Teaching Philosophy missing
4. Research Interests not listed, areas for future work
5. Missing a strong commitment to teaching, although
beginning elements of mentoring and TA roles are