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Up to now, I've only applied to "public" academic positions (universities or public research centers). I have now an academic CV, that is roughly 7 pages long (2 pages of "classic" CV, and 5 pages of research experience + list of publications).

I would be interested in applying for research positions in industry. I know that if I wanted to apply for a regular position (for instance, as a software developer), only my classic CV is enough (and the long one might actually be counter-productive). However, the kind of position I'm interested in is very similar to a public research position, i.e. people there publish, applying for public funding, might even co-supervise PhD students.

So, what kind of CV should I send for such a position? Should I consider the application process as the standard public one, or rather as the standard industry one?

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In case it's relevant, it's in Computer Science, and I'm thinking of positions such as those available at Microsoft Research, IBM Research, etc.

  • The general rule of thumb is that every resume should be custom tailored to the job you apply for. Granted CVs are a bit different but the same logic applies. – bobthejoe Jun 13 '12 at 22:03
  • @bobthejoe Sure, but if there are no application guidelines for the CV, then it doesn't really help me to know what kind of CV should I send :) – user102 Jun 14 '12 at 7:54
  • So, for those in North America, the distinction would be between a CV and a resumé? – hnltraveler Jun 15 '12 at 3:32
  • @HarrisonW.Inefuku Not sure about the difference, I only use the term CV :) But I've heard that CV has an academic meaning, while résumé is general (and short). – user102 Jun 15 '12 at 10:48
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As a general rule of thumb, if the position you are applying for (1) has the term "researcher" or something similar in the position title and (2) requires a PhD (or research masters), definitely send the academic one. The fact they're looking for PhDs means they're interested in research experience, and your academic CV will highlight that much better than your industry one.

That being said, it is an industry position, so I would do my best to keep the resume two pages, and offer to send the full CV on request. Definitely include "Selected Publications" and "Selected Oral Presentations" sections, but keep it short.


One extra idea for consideration: I sent my (academic) resume to an industry position, and they sent it back asking for a short (one to three) sentence blurb describing each of my projects (at the time, my resume included work as a research assistant, graduate student, and post-doc). I ended up using that format for all the jobs I applied to, since most people have no idea what "Temporal Dynamics of the Cortico-limbic System" actually means. It's a good way to help them actually get a feel for what you accomplished and what your skills are.

  • Thanks, right now, I have a "short" CV, of two pages, with major points of each positions (project involved, number/kind of publications) and some kind of long appendix (3/4 pages), that describes in detail my research experience. But I like the idea of 2/3 sentences blurb for each project! – user102 Jun 14 '12 at 7:56
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I didn't really change my CV for industrial research positions versus academia, but I did tailor my research statement a fair bit. As I recently explained to a student, industrial research labs are often more interested in your skills, and academic positions are more interested in your contributions to an area (all these statements are "on average"). That might indicate ways to modify your CV ? maybe have a blurb highlighting your interests/skills up front for the industry position ?

  • Thanks, indeed, I might not focus enough on my skills right now, I'm going to expand this section. – user102 Jun 14 '12 at 7:57

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