Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Converting CVs to Resumes

How do I begin?  

Whereas a CV is an exhaustive document of academic performance, a resume focuses on accomplishments, experience, and skills in a concise manner. 

1. Cut content that is irrelevant to most job searches. This can include:
  • Academic awards and scholarships
  • Courses taken
  • Dissertation/thesis topic(s)
  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • References

2. Create new content by identifying each professional role you have held, highlighting responsibilities, skills used or developed, and positive outcomes. Some general tips: 

Shift your focus from product to process


Instead of describing what you taught/ researched/ etc. explain how you managed these tasks.

Translate academic language into more generalizable terms.


Use buzzwords found in job descriptions, such as:

·      Teach → Train, Coach, Mentor

·      Courses → Educational or Training Programs

·      Class or student(s)  → group

Aim for a balance of depth and breadth


Look to the job posting for cues as to what skills and experience are most relevant to a given position. 

Tip: As you read the posting, highlight key details & required skills/ areas of expertise.

Build this section up as much as possible.

·      Qualifications listed first are generally of a higher priority

·      “Required” experiences are crucial if you want to make the first cut

·      “Preferred” experiences are a prime opportunity to gain a competitive edge

Review, rephrase and reorganize


Review to identify errors and extraneous information, and reflect to identify areas for improvement: 

·      Is this the most effective presentation of your skills, talents, experience?

·      Does this demonstrate your ability to fulfill the requirements of the job?

·      Does this pique the reader’s interest? Encourage them to want to know more?

Tailor your resume for each position


Put yourself in the employer’s shoes → Connect your experiences to their needs. Use keywords and strategic section titles.

Use terminology from the job posting and the industry/ field you are targeting.  

Tip: If you don’t know the industry terminology, reference a 101-level textbook from the field.

Replace generic section titles with more informative and appealing section titles (e.g. work experience→ training experience)

3. Consult a career coach or another post-academic from outside your program. An individual who is fluent in the language of academia and the language of your target employers can help you:

  • Determine where you need to use more generic, nonacademic terms
  • Describe experiences in a way that more effectively appeals to nonacademic employers
  • Identify additional aspects of your experience that will strengthen your resume

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  • Liberal Arts Career Services

    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508