Professional Development Guidebook

Professional Development Guidebook


Putting Together Your Effective Resume

CVs Versus Resumes – Know the Difference!

When you uncover a job opportunity that aligns with your skills, you will need to put together a resume to include with your application — and a resume is NOT a CV!

Many academic positions require a CV from candidates — but for almost every other job, especially industrial jobs, you will be writing a resume.

What Should The Resume Do?

The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job — it is to get you an interview.  You have the top half of the first page to get the hiring staff's attention, so you need connect the dots as clearly and concisely as possible between your own skills and those described in the job description.

You should also be prepared to write a separate resume for each job you apply for. 

What Makes a Resume Effective?

An effective resume draws specific attention to your skills, rather than titles or degree information. Therefore a skills based resume is the best format for communicating relevant information to an employer. 

Difference At A Glance

CVs are:

  • comprehensive - they include most professional relevant details of your life
  • general - they do not specifically emphasize a particular area of experience or expertise
  • lengthy - a CV can be several pages long

Resumes are:

  • limited - they describe a limited subset of your expertise
  • focused - they include skills and experiences that are relevant to a specific job description
  • short - ideally a resume is one page long (two pages maximum)

Cover Letters

Contrary to what you may have heard, the cover letter is an extremely important part of your job application packet. Cover letters are your opportunity to reiterate the ways your experience and skills qualify you for the job, and to challenge employers' preconceived notions of you.  They are also a perfect way to address details of your resume which may look strange to an employer--such as employment gaps, or a background which is quite different from the one being sought in the job description.  

So compose your cover letters with the same care and consideration as you would put towards your resume or CV.  Because nothing will turn an employer off more quickly than a poorly written or bland cover letter.

How to Write An Effective Resume
A 5-minute tutorial on turning a standard CV into a skills-based resume.

Resumes and Cover Letters
Watch this clip for great advice on writing a compelling resume or CV.