I recently defended my Ph.D. dissertation (Information Systems) and now it's time to apply for some positions. While I would love to stay in academia, my current highest priority is to find a good job in IT and/or management consulting. Since I've designed my coursework with partial industry (consulting) focus in mind, most of the courses that I've taken during my Ph.D. program are very relevant to potential work in a consulting environment. I've read this related question, but it has only academic focus, hence my question.

Currently I'm working on converting my former resume into two CV variants: one, focused on industry/consulting (updated and improved resume), and another, focused on academia (CV per se). My strategy is to include (mention) the relevant (practically, full) Ph.D.-level coursework into the industry/consulting CV variant and exclude that information from the academic one. What do you think of this strategy? Also, I'm interested whether it is beneficial to include my master's level coursework into the industry-focused CV. Any other advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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    Related question: CV for leaving academia after PhD. – scaaahu Apr 27 '15 at 4:30
  • @scaaahu: Thank you for the link. Somehow I missed that question and it seems like a useful one (will review). However, answers there don't cover the main point of my question: arguments for or against inclusion of Ph.D.-level coursework into a CV. – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 4:36
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    To answer your question title: Does it make sense to list Ph.D.-level coursework in industry-focused CV? Yes, if the coursework is relevant to the company business. – scaaahu Apr 27 '15 at 4:37
  • @scaaahu: Thank you, again - I suspected that this is the case. I just wanted to know, if there are any situations, where one wouldn't want to include such information. – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 4:39
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    That depends. Generally speaking, you don't want the CV you send to an industry company too long, as opposed to CV sent to academic institutions. So, it's up to you. As long as the info on the CV are useful, include them. But, don't make it too much. – scaaahu Apr 27 '15 at 4:43

My first job after my PhD was as a consultant. I suggest being selective with respect to what, and how much of your coursework to include.

Your degree speaks for your potential, and there is little use adding too much detail that is implied by it (in particular if you graduated from a reputable school). You want your CV to be one page only, so don't clutter it.

Begin with a brief executive summary, which generically could read like "Information system PhD with strong skills in (insert - say, system programming/data analysis/...) and communication (from X years as a teaching assistant)." Find something jazzy that you think fits you.

You can add relevant course work experience in a "skills" section, as appropriate, and further add anything valuable under "awards and honors" (if nothing else fits, don't shy away from mentioning performing well/near top/top of class in course work). It's also ok to maybe highlight some particularly relevant coursework (with grades). It would definitely help if your thesis work (which you should summarize) could be linked to the typical consulting job (bringing structure where little was before). At the bottom of the page, add three academic references if any of your faculty might be known in industry.

Two more points: I don't remember what the person's job name and description was, but in my case, I found someone at my school who proof-read my CV with lots of feedback (my initial version sucked badly). Secondly, you tend to read to de-emphasize your academic background in industry (eg, "list it after professional experience"), but this is simply not true for at least 2-5 years, depending, as your PhD will stay your greatest achievement for a while.

Take it with a grain of salt as I've been out of this for a while. Best of luck!

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    Excellent advice (+1; acceptance is TBD, based on overall feedback). Much appreciated. And thank you for the wishes! I will need some luck, for sure :-) – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 5:31
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    As someone who has reviewed job applications and interviewed candidates in industry, I would be interested in the dissertation topic, and in courses that are particularly relevant to the job. – Patricia Shanahan Apr 27 '15 at 8:25
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    I agree with @Patricia on a thesis summary. My old formulation didn't make that clear enough, so I edited it in specifically. – gnometorule Apr 27 '15 at 9:20
  • @PatriciaShanahan: I appreciate your comment. I'm certainly leaving dissertation topic intact and will consider keeping relevant coursework in the industry-focused CV. I'm not sure about the names of my dissertation committee members, though. As I understand, only relevant publications should be kept, but I have none so far (dissertation per se and citable research software will be in corresponding sections; papers in preparation don't count IMHO and will be listed in the academic CV). – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 18:27

There is more than one type of industry, and you should adapt your presentation accordingly. One major flag is whether they ask for a CV or a resume, and you may want to explicitly clarify which.

Industrial jobs with a strong R&D component (such as at the company where I work) will often want a CV. For those jobs, keep the full academic CV, but also add in a "Skills" section near the top where you can talk about what else you learned that's not reflected well by the publications, etc. on the rest of your CV. Don't bother listing individual course names---the reader probably won't be able to meaningfully evaluate them---but your goal here is to demonstrate the breadth and flexibility that is likely to be necessary in the broader scientific community.

Other jobs are more "normal industry" and just want to know about your job-relevant skills, and will want a resume. Don't give them a CV, give them a 1-page resume, summarizing your skills, goals, etc. They too will likely not care about the individual classes, but rather what you can claim as skills as a result of having taken them.

  • Excellent advice (+1). Much appreciated. – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 18:30

The structure of a CV might differ from a country to another, but the real goal of a CV is always the same: to get you a job interview (and not to describe yourself).

As a result, for an industry CV, everything that is in favor of you getting the job interview can be helpful in your application and coursework definitively should be included. Whether you want to add them in the "Education" or "Skills" section is up to you but keep in mind that you must stay concise (e.g., just give a list of intelligible coursework titles). If some of them are particularly relevant to the job, you can add further details but the cover letter might be a more appropriate place for that.

Finally, about adding or omitting the coursework in an academic CV, just ask yourself the same question: Will it help me to get an interview? So you might want to consider if the skills (technical, management, etc...) developed in the coursework are pertinent for doing or conducting the research and teaching aspects of an academic position.

  • Excellent advice (+1). Much appreciated. – Aleksandr Blekh Apr 27 '15 at 18:29

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