Help me reconfigure my CV for a possible escape from academia!
May 26, 2010 7:29 AM   Subscribe

CV help requested: I'm an academic who's currently looking for jobs both inside and outside of academia. My CV is currently in "academic form". This means 6 pages. How long should a CV be (tech jobs, UK)? What should I cut? What's the general consensus on "straplines" starting the CV?

Currently, I have 2 pages of employment & education, complete publications list, complete list of invited talks, complete list of funding received, complete list of prizes, list of reviewing jobs, list of non-academic publications... etc. etc. Given the nature of academic life I've done a lot of short contracts and moved about a bit, so employment takes up quite a lot of space.
posted by handee to Work & Money (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Working in tech in the UK I've heard people say one side of A4 for the c.v. if possible, and if not, two sides maximum, duplex-printed.
posted by galaksit at 7:37 AM on May 26, 2010

Best answer: I'm not in the tech industry, but I have an academic CV and a regular CV. The key word you want here is "relevant" - headings like "Relevant experience", "Relevant skills", etc. This will signal to the hiring manager that the CV doesn't represent all that you've done, only the bits he or she needs to know about.

I have found that the private sector tends to look askance at academic CVs, so I would strip as many references to your academic life from the CV as possible, in favour of emphasising your skill set. Thus:

Your Name,
Contact Information

Job Profile
(what kind of job you're looking for, without being too specific - show you can think about five years down the road here)

List your skills under headings like "project management", "communications", "consulting", "administration", etc.

Relevant Experience
(Only list those jobs where you can point to how you acquired the skills listed above.)

Other Qualifications
(Membership in professional organizations, awards relevant to the industry won, volunteer jobs done relevant to the position - this is where you put strategic information that doesn't fit in the above categories)



And good luck!!!
posted by LN at 8:04 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I forgot a heading: Education (of course)!
posted by LN at 8:06 AM on May 26, 2010

Best answer: My CV (IT contractor) currently runs to 6 pages and I'm not often out of work.

I have heard people say 2/3/4 sides maximum, but of all the IT CVs I've ever reviewed for clients I can honestly say that as long as it isn't phone book sized it's the content that matters, not the length.
posted by hardcode at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2010

Best answer: Two pages of A4 is a good length (absolutely no longer). If you are strapped for space, it's okay to make your references 'available on request'. I concur with LN that keeping everything as relevant as possible (focus on particular skills you have) is key.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'straplines', but it's considered okay to have a (very brief!) 'objective' at the start of your CV to do a bit more explaining for example if you are switching careers, or in your case, moving from academia to commercial work.

For a tech CV, make sure you are including the relevant names or acronyms of technologies you have experience in along with you number of years of experience in each technology.
posted by jzed at 8:21 AM on May 26, 2010

I've worked in both areas and agree with much of the advice given. What I used was putting a brief statement of relevent skills at the very beginning. The order of the resume was something I learned empirically. A decision on whether to read further is made very quickly by an exec swamped with a pile of applicants. The order I used was contact info, skillset list, education, employment history. No publication list. The employment history should give a very brief description of each job listed. My resume never exceeded 2 pages.
Notice I used "resume" rather than "CV." You want to lessen your identification as an ivory-tower academic and more as a real-world pragmatist.
posted by Hilbert at 9:22 AM on May 26, 2010

Notice I used "resume" rather than "CV." You want to lessen your identification as an ivory-tower academic and more as a real-world pragmatist.

The OP is based in the UK, where "CV" is the usual term regardless of academic status.
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:27 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Otherwise I pretty much agree with LN. The only other advice I'd give is to give more detail on recent jobs than ones longer ago.
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:30 AM on May 26, 2010

Best answer: Here's a slightly anonymised version of my CV. My first job was in academia and i moved into the private sector (both in the UK), so i thought seeing an example might be useful for you. I also do consulting work that gets added in if relevant, but hopefully that will give you an idea of length, format, etc.
posted by ukdanae at 10:40 AM on May 26, 2010

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