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I spent - quite unsuccessfully - hours of researching the internet for the following question and I am hoping to get some advice here.

I am soon finishing my PhD in computer science and I decided to leave academia for the industry (not industry research).

I am not clear about what to include in the CV. I currently structured it like this:

  • Education
  • Work experience (including teaching positions and internships)
  • Selected Honors, Awards & Fellowships
  • Programming Skills
  • Selected journal publications
  • Selected Workshops, Schools & Conference Talks

which in its current version results in a two page CV.

I am neither sure about the ordering of the above items as well as the importance of each.

For example while I have ten publications I only mention two of them in the CV. On the other hand I mention about eleven Workshops, Schools & Conference Talks. I think this is not the right balance. On the other hand I am not sure how much companies (like Facebook, LinkedIn, ...) care about theoretical publications. I also do not mention any research visits I did.

So my question is, what academic information do you include in a CV for non academic positions and how important is each of the items?

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5  
In chrisstucchio.com/blog/2012/leaving_academia.html on academic CV versus resume. –  Piotr Migdal Feb 24 at 11:25
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Many universities have a career services office which can provide advice to students on preparing a resume or CV. That might be a good way to get personalized advice. –  Nate Eldredge Feb 24 at 14:19
    
A gut feeling kind of comment: a two–page CV isn't really too long, as long as you place the important things up (what you've done as opposed to what you were talked at about) on the front page. I'd say hiring managers don't toss a CV based on length as much as pay less and less attention over time. –  millimoose Feb 26 at 2:32
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9 Answers

up vote 31 down vote accepted

The current structure of your CV looks like an academic CV to me. You put too much emphasis on the academic credentials. You definitely need to rewrite it.

What the industry (not industry research) companies are looking for are your skills and experience. They are not interested in how many publications you have or how many conference talks you gave. They are interested in how much you know about solving problems so that you can help them to make money.

I would suggest you to emphasize your programming skills, the contents of your publications (what kind of problems you solved in those papers), the internships, etc.

Don't under-estimate your teaching experience. Emphasize it. Many hiring managers had told me that they like the teaching experience on my resume. I asked them why. They said I must know how to communicate because I can teach. Knowing how to communicate to others is an essential skill in industry.

Good Luck!

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I felt compelled to sign in and +1 this for teaching experience. I am in a similar position, and my CV was in ok shape, but I had completely discarded my teaching experiences, and what better proof of communication skills than teaching. Thank you –  user1207217 Feb 26 at 0:05
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I am not sure if you are writing a CV for particular position or a CV to put on a web-page. A common advise is to fit the CV to the particular position (What makes a good CV? section) you are applying for. So lets assume that you are writing something like your CV template.

In such a template I would suggest to put as much papers, experience, skills and relevant information as you can think of. This may significantly shorten the time of CV preparation for any particular position in the future.

Later on, when you will prepare a version of your CV for particular job, you will delete all points which are not relevant as you want to keep your CV as short and as relevant as possible.

So to answer the question: you should put that academic information which is relevant to the application. In some jobs, it can be relevant that you are able to write long texts, in some others that you are able to lead a group of people, speak in public or your innovative thinking and so on. So put everything now and choose the relevant content for each CV later.

If you feel that the list of the conference talks, or the papers is way to long you can include only 5 the most important or the ones which can be easily checked. In case you really want to emphasize the quantity of your work, put list of the papers/conferences on a separate paper or provide a link of such information in the accompanying letter or mail.

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I don't see any reason to omit your publications, since in your proposed ordering they are at the end. You definitely want to indicate your programming prowess as soon as possible. It might also help to insert a line above the Education section indicating your areas of expertise and interests. This is useful for bots that look for keyword matches.

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tl;dr: The industry hiring process is entirely different from academia. You'll have to adapt but it isn't that hard.

Note: It's not clear from your answer whether you're in the US or elsewhere so please translate my US-centric answer to fit your situation.

I received specific advice on this subject when I was doing the same thing years ago. It's a variant of "speak to your audience":

  1. A one-page resume is for the human resources filters.
  2. A detailed CV is for the people with whom you want to have a detailed conversation.

The human resource filtering problem is a serious one. From the point of view of HR, everyone in the world is applying to the job, regardless of experience, requirements or even location. HR might not even know what all the technical jargon means but they're looking to filter that pile down as fast as possible.

So, you need to write the one-page resume carefully to fit the position description and set of requirements. Yes, they're looking to see if you've ever held paying work and who they can call to confirm that. However, they're also looking for certain called out buzzwords and key points.

For example, if they use the phrase "required experience elements" in the position description, make sure that your resume has a bold "Experience elements:" section. If the description asks for "Java", make sure your resume describes your use of Java for each position or project that you list.

In short, the resume is all about taking away their excuse to say "No."

The CV is an entirely different thing. Someone who's interested in your CV knows a lot about the details of the position and wants to have a detailed conversation with you. With the CV, you have the ability to reduce a lot of the friction: you're already volunteering plenty of the "tell me about this project..." content up front.

Here's what I did:

  1. Rewrite the resume from scratch for every job, tuning the words to fit the position description. It's not that onerous: it's only a page.

  2. Offer the CV in correspondence. These days, I would probably point them to LinkedIn or careers.stackoverflow.com

  3. If I was called in for an interview, I would brought several paper copies of my resume and CV tucked in to my portfolio of previous work.

Repeat all of the above far more times than I like to remember and eventually you find a paying job....

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This. Even with substantial experience working in the field, 1 page resumé is quite possible. Your detailed CV is nice but shouldn't be given to the HR folks. The only time I'd give the CV first is if I had a personal contact in the company; then I'd either ask that person which they preferred (the overview or the detail). HR reads a ton of resumés for every job; make sure the few points they really care about (from the job description) are clearly marked in the resumé, so a non-technical person can understand you're clearly qualified. –  Joe Feb 24 at 15:23
    
@Joe, another great example. Your personal contacts are likely already asking for your CV so that they can market you internally inside the company. –  Bob Cross Feb 24 at 18:07
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You may find the website Versatile PhD helpful, as it provides guidance on how to transition from an academic research track into the non-academic market.

The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that you need to stop thinking in terms of the incentive structure of academia (i.e., firstly publications, secondly grants, positions, and awards) and start thinking in terms of skills that you can offer.

This usually means you need to organize your resume in terms of employment or projects and the skills and competency you demonstrated therein. If you have project management skills (supervision of research assistants, for example), programming skills put to use in projects, or other skills (meeting deadlines, working collaboratively with others, etc.) these are the things to emphasize as bullet points under jobs/projects rather listing out academically-valued output (pubs, presentations, grants, visits, etc.).

Also, if you're applying for entry-level jobs in industry, I see no reason why your resume should be longer than one page. If you have an online presence, you can always have a longer CV online that possible employers can look at if they're intrigued by what you have to offer from your short-form resume.

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I'll just add a few points a couple of friend as recruiters told me.

The Interviewing process usually goes through HR first, believe me, they could not care less about your publications.

That is the short form CV, is the one you usually give out first. And since is HR people who will be looking at it first, you have to put emphasis on WHAT tools you know how to use.

For example:

  • My research consisted on the optimization of distributed systems

That is mute for an HR, and more than one TI manager. But if instead you rewrite.

  • During my research, I used extensively tools like HADOOP and JAVA in a team setting, using collaboration systems like Github (even saying subversion might not help at all).

Both sentences are saying the same, but in the second one you are specifying which tools did you used.

Remember that academic buzzwords like "parallel computing" , "probabilistic inference", etc. Do not mean much for many recruiters. They care about the tools, and how long have you worked with them.

If you have a github repository with some examples, that might help them as well (I'm assuming you are a programmer)

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Assuming you're looking into joining a Dev Shop, I'd ensure that your CV includes your engineering skills.

What do I mean by engineering skills?

Which source control tools are you familiar with? Which test frameworks have you used? Have you used any CI tools (i.e. Hudson)? Which Agile methodologies do you use? Have you contributed to any open source projects? Do you have a github account so that interviewers can see your code?

There is a perception that developers from Academia tend to be a little light on these skills, so it's important to ensure your CV describes them.

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Since others have this covered fairly well, I'll add only this: make sure that your main bullet points are recent!

Here's a few examples:

When you're applying to colleges, they want to know what you did in high school. They don't care about K-8(in the US). They want to know extracurricular activities, standardized test scores, etc.

When you're applying for grad school, they want to know what you did in college. What's your overall GPA, what's your major's GPA, GRE scores, extracurricular activities, undergrad research positions, internships, etc.

When you're applying for your fifth job in your career, they want to know what you did at your previous jobs. They may still be interested in knowing your Alma Mater, graduation date, and GPA, but they're less interested in all of the details. You've had 4 jobs since college, and they want to hear about your successes in those jobs.

Likewise, when leaving academia for industry work, they will want to hear about your grad work first and foremost. Others have mentioned the kinds of information you should include - such as skills - so I won't say much other than to say these look good:

  • Education
  • Work experience (including teaching positions and internships)
  • Selected Honors, Awards & Fellowships
  • Programming Skills

Teaching experience can easily translate into communication experience. Communication is a great skill to have in the industry, and if you're able to communicate with technical and non-technical folks alike, that is a huge advantage.

Honors, awards and fellowships are proof that you're not lazy, that you're motivated, have initiative, etc.

On the other hand, your last two bullet points about publications and workshops probably won't gain you much, if anything.

In short, make sure to highlight your accomplishments in college, nothing earlier than undergrad, and focus on your graduate years.

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If you already have industry experience, then highlight it prior to your academic achievements. Given that you don't have any industry experience, exploit your PhD thesis as an actual project in term of how did you manage, designed, developed and why it is significant especially to industry. It automatically qualifies as a project if it was not in theoretical computer science, otherwise you need to justify how the theoretical aspect is valuable for industry. From this point of view, you can add your PhD time frame as your work experience and demonstrate that research was actually working on a project. For many tech companies, even personal pet projects are considered valuable, so in that sense a good research project is invaluable.

Your CV should flow from a Summary, Skills, Experience and then Education. Remember, the industry is interested in your computer science skills not your qualification. The final and probably most important point is that you should aim for organizations closer to your field or at least the jobs which are closer to your skills rather than applying to every single developer/analyst position.

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