Biomedical Graduate Education

From 7 Page CV to Single Page Resume

By Julia Sosenko & Timothy Ring
BGE Career Strategy & Professional Development

For most positions in research and academia, a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is requested and is the best document to highlight your past experiences, education, and publications. When it comes to the private sector and industry, however, a resume is often required. These are typically restricted to a single page, although some positions do not specify a page limit. If this is the case, try to keep it to two pages at the most if you are a recent graduate (0-5 years of work experience) and more importantly, make sure all the information included is relevant.

If you already have a CV, but now need to create a short resume, here are some general tips: 

First, when working on a resume:

Make sure to save multiple copies. Create one master resume that includes all of the experience that could be relevant (much of which are on your CV, excluding some items mentioned below.) From there, save a new copy of this document as a resume for the position to which you are applying, and decide what to keep or cut in the resume based on that particular position description.

What to exclude:

You can absolutely bring these up in interviews though.

  • Conferences attended
  • Abstracts
  • Posters presented as a list (although, you can highlight that you presented your research in a bullet point under a research position!)

What to include:

  • Some of your publications (i.e. 1 or 2 if you are limited to a short resume length) 
  • Experience you have working in the private sector or the field to which you are applying 
  • If you have no direct industry experience, analyze the skills you have gained from your prior work and see how applicable they are to this new position. This requires a thorough review of the job description for which you’re applying. Once you’ve identified key skills, you can draw upon a reservoir of your research, professional, and educational experience. Each of these types of experiences can even be presented as their own section on your resume. If you’re stumped as to what you should include, see this post on transferable skills for specific examples. You might be surprised just how much of your experience in the lab can translate to the world of industry!
  • Awards or honors you have received that you feel are relevant and portray you as a more complete applicant. If you are a particularly prolific award winner, make sure you format smartly using multiple columns or a horizontal listing to maximize the amount of space that one or two pages provides.

You have a lot of flexibility with your resume. You can pick and choose specific experiences, skill sets, or awards you have in order to make yourself look like the best candidate for the job. The key is to align your previous background with the job’s duties and company’s ideals. By tailoring your resume to the position and emphasizing the most relevant skills you have, you can leave a lasting impression on recruiters and hiring managers.

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