Résumés and CVs are not the same – they address different audiences and serve different purposes. A résumé should tell a potential employer “My skills can help solve your challenges, and here’s proof.” Here are some things you can do to help persuade an employer.
- Move your educational degrees to the bottom of the résumé. Many people who want(ed) to be professors cannot bear to do this; leaving it at the top tells an employer you are more concerned with educational achievements than with work.
- Unless your educational institution and department are competitive advantages for the non-academic jobs for which you are applying, use a non-academic email address.
- Do not treat your résumé as a repository of every single thing you have every done, which academic CVs often are. Do not make potential employers wade through everything you have ever done to find what is critical to understanding how your skills can help them solve their challenges.
- If you have academic publications, list only those relevant to the job you are applying for.
- If you have presented at conferences, list only those relevant to the job you are applying for. You can, however, discuss your presentations in terms of presenting complex material to senior people and persuading audiences.
- If you have classroom teaching experience, discuss it in ways that make sense to your potential non-academic employer. Here’s a guide to that translation. You do not hve to list every class you have ever taught (see 3 above).
- If you have done volunteer work (grad student union roles, political organizing, volunteer charitable work) that has given you skills and it is relevant to your application, include it in your résumé. You need not label that work with the scarlet V for volunteering. Skills are skills, no matter how you got them.
- You need not have the paragraph at the top of your résumé stating what kind of job you are looking for: everyone wants a challenging job with interesting colleagues that uses their skills. Call out your best skills in the summary paragraph at the top of the résumé and indicate in your cover letter why you are applying to that job.
- You need not have the sentence “references available on request” on your résumé; employers assume they are.
- When you think you are done, have a couple friends from the non-academic working world reas your résumé to check for academic jargon.