CHRISTINE HOLMES: I'm glad to see all of you awake today. Before we start, I want to let you know we are going to videotape the program today, which is the first time we are actually doing that. We have had some people in Geneva. And now we have the New York City campus. And people are really interested in hearing the program.
The camera will only be focused on the speaker and on myself. They will not focus on you at all. If you want to ask a question and you don't want that question to be in the videotape, let us know. And we will make sure to take it off. Or we can just turn off the camera at that point.
So if you have an issue with that, we certainly will do everything we can to take it off. So I just wanted you to be aware of that. I'm not particularly looking forward to being videotaped. It should be an interesting experience today.
So I'm Kristin Holmes. I'm the director of postdoc studies here at Cornell. And I see a few familiar faces, which is great. And I'm going to do part of the presentation. And my colleague, Anne Poduska from Career Services, will also be speaking today. So we will try to stay within an hour and leave time for questions at the end.
So I always love starting this presentation with my favorite comic, Jorge Cham, who always has wonderful comics about different aspects of graduate student and postdoc life. So that's basically what you think of what a resume is. How do you convert or you go from a CV to a resume? I do have a tendency to agree a little bit with him.
So disclaimer before we start-- opinions vary. You are going to talk to-- you might be talking to a few of us. You might be talking to your advisor. And we might give you slightly different suggestions for your document. And that's OK. You also will have different suggestions depending on your field because a resume and a CV are field related.
You need to end up with a document you are happy with. It's your document. It is your professional life. You need to make sure that the document is what you want it to be.
And we are all looking for something specific. So the way I'm going to look at your resume, the way your advisor will look at your resume, the way an employer will look at it will be different. So just be aware of that. As I mentioned earlier, resume do vary by fields. And you need to have as many people as you can read your document. The most important thing is to make sure that you have no errors in it and it's as perfect as it can be.
So what are we going to discuss? We are going to talk about why you have a resume instead of a CV. What are the differences between a resume and a CV? Which one should you use and when? And what are the different types of resumes? And we will go through an exercise and show you different types.
So why do employers look at your resume? Well, that's how they find out who they are going to interview. So basically, a resume is to get you in the door. A resume is to get you the information you need to get to the company and get an interview.
I also should mention if any of you want a PowerPoint, just send me an email. And I'm happy to send it to you. And we put them up on our website also.
A resume will also help the employer develop interview questions. So when they are looking at your document, it will really help them direct in what direction they want the interview to go. And that's out they are going to find out what your transferable skills are. What are you going to be able to do for the company?
Again, there are no right way to write your resume. There are a lot of guidelines. But there is no way where all of us are going to say, yep, that is the only way you should do it. There are many ways of writing a resume. And there are also different way of writing a resume, which I will talk about in a little while.
The only wrong resume is one that is not accurate in terms of typos and also in terms of information. So make sure that all your resume is absolutely perfect.
It's a living document, such as is your CV. With your CV, every time you do something new, you update it. Or you should. So if you're not doing it yet, make sure that you do that.
Every time you have a new presentation, every time you have a publication going out, every time you have new skills, that should go in your CV. Same thing with your resume. Your resume will constantly change. Even though I'm not looking for a position, at least once a year I look at my documents and update them just to make sure that everything is correct.
It's a reflection of you as a professional. So when we don't know you and we just get information about you, that's really what we see about you-- is your resume.
So what do you need for a resume to be as effective as can be? It has to appeal to the reader. It has to be very easy to read. We want to find in that first page of your resume all of the information that we need to know about you.
It has to be error free. And you are going to hear me say that over and over during our one hour here. You can't have any typos. It has to be absolutely perfect. And it's going to show how valuable you are to the employer. Lots of information into a one- or two-page document. It's not an easy document to write.
So applying for position-- so you need that resume to apply for position. That's how you are going to get the interview. I often think of a resume as a marketing tool because that's what it is.
When you are looking at a brochure for a new computer or for a new piece of equipment, if we are looking at a new employee, that's a brochure-- is your resume. It's looking at the information and see if we want to hire that person the same way you would for a brochure for a computer to see if you want to buy that piece of equipment.
So employers hire people who have demonstrated interest, understanding, and an aptitude for the role they recruiting for. And that's what they need to find in the resume. They need to find that you have the skills necessary or that you have the ability to learn the skills if you don't have them yet and that you have the interest, that you're not jumping from place to place, that you have a focused interest in that position.
And fit does matter. When you are applying for a position, you really do need to make sure that you're the right fit for that position and that your documents are the right fit for that position. You will find yourself writing multiple resumes because one document might not fit every job you're applying for. So you are going to have a number of documents for the different positions you are applying to.
Generally with a CV, you have one document. You have a CV. You use it for everything where you need a CV-- job application, fellowship application, submitting papers. A resume is slightly different.
So basically, you need to do your homework. When you are applying for a position, you really, really need to look at the position you are applying to. And I know it sounds very simplistic. But really read the position description. Look at what they are looking for. And really use a description to target your resume. You really need to use the wordings that they are using. You need to see the vision of the position and write your resume around that.
Research the business. If you're not familiar with a company that you are applying to, do your research. Do your work. There are a lot of databases out there where you can actually do that research, Hoovers being one of them. Hoovers is one of my favorite database where you can find a lot of information about companies.
And if you know someone, use your network. If you know someone who works in that company, get in touch with them. Find out what the company is about, what type of employees they are looking for. What is the culture of the company? So there is a lot of work done around looking for a position, writing your resume, applying for those positions.
So now we're getting down to the basic of what a CV and a resume are. So CV-- where do we use it? In academia, as you know. You have been using your CV for years now. You're all graduate students or postdocs. That's the document you're most familiar with.
It is also used for employers outside of the US. So CV will be used everywhere, academia in the US, the exception being US federal government, international organization in the US, development consulting firm, and think tank, where you still will use a CV.
The resume is being used by the private sector, basically by industry. A resume is only used in the US. You don't see a resume outside of the United States. It's really a document only used in this country. And it can be used for government and nonprofit aside from the exception I just gave you. National lab-- it depends. Sometimes they use CV, sometimes resumes.
So what do your CV and your resume have? Your CV, as you know, is a full list of qualifications. It has absolutely everything you have done up to reason, up to a certain point-- but every poster you have presented, every presentation you have done, every paper you have written, all of your awards, all of your positions, of course, including teaching. Your resume is a summary of your qualification. So you are really going to distill to what is important for the position you are applying for.
CV can be as long as you want it to be. I have seen CVs that are 25 pages. A resume-- one to two pages. So if you are looking at books about resume, very often you will see that it will tell you not more than one page. At your level, it's very difficult. So going to two pages in my mind is perfectly fine.
And style. Style for CV is not very important. It is very important for a resume. You need a very clean, clear document. And when you only have two pages, you really need to be very clean and very clear.
So the CV and the resume. CV focus, as you know, on your history of your education and accomplishment. It includes a lot of nouns. It has a tendency to be longer. Of course, it's academia. We have always a tendency to be longer in academia. You have one version of it.
A resume-- it will focus on demonstrating your skills and abilities. And that's what's key. The CV is really showing you as a person and what you can do. And now you are going to be an independent researcher. You generally use it to apply for a faculty position.
The resume-- you are using it to show a company what you are going to do for them. So it really is a very different focus, very, very different focus. The resume will include a lot of action verbs. And if you look the books that we just gave you, there is a great list of action verbs in that book. So if you didn't get one before you came in, make sure you get one.
And all of those are also in the Career Services website. And sometimes it's really easy to get stuck in the same verb. I know I have a tendency to do it. You don't want to use "manage" five times. So that list of verbs can be useful.
And it must be concise-- again, two pages maximum. You need multiple pages, each tailored to different audiences, especially if you are looking at applying for different type of position. So you could be a scientist applying to a chemical company. But you also might be thinking about applying for a consulting position. Those would be very, very different documents. So you really need to target the position and the type of companies you are applying to.
So one question that we are often asked is, what do you do if a company is asking for a CV? Because you will see that fairly often, where a resume or CV are used. And you are not sure what they are looking for.
In that case, I would actually do a hybrid of a CV and a resume. So you could have a document that might be a little bit longer with all of your publications. But you still would need to focus on your skills. So it will be more of a skill-based document than a full document showing all of what you have accomplished.
So what is not on your resume? And I've mentioned that briefly. You are not going to show all of the presentation of all of the poster you have done. You are really going to be looking at what is important for the position you are applying for. So you might not talk about all of the research experience you have done when you were an undergrad maybe. So you really need to be judicious in how you target that document.
So how do you convert a CV to a resume, which is what we are all here today for? You are, of course, going to have your education in both documents. But it's going to be a little bit more concise in the resume. You are going to have a summary.
I have objective statement there with a question mark because, again, that's a question that often came up. Do you need an objective statement in a resume? And we'll talk a little bit about that.
Unless you have a very, very powerful objective statement or there is a reason you are explaining why you are going from one thing to another, I don't think it adds much. So if you're just telling them you are looking for a position in a chemical-based company, that's really not giving us anything about you. So you don't really need that statement.
In your CV, you are going to have all of your clients and all of your awards. In your resume, you only want to have selected ones. So really look at what you have accomplished. Or you may not even need to have any grants or awards depending on what you have.
In your CV, you will have your research experience, your teaching experience, your practical experience. In your resume, you are really going to be talking about the experience that relates most to the job you are applying for.
Again, publication and conference presentation-- in your CV, you will list every single one of them, which is how some CVs end up being 25 pages. In your resume, you will just do select. So if you have attended some prestigious conferences, absolutely put them-- and you were a presenter, of course. But otherwise, if it just was something you attended that didn't really have much of an impact, it might not be needed in your resume.
In your CV, you will have your languages. In your resume, you want to focus more on the skills. What is your fluency in those languages? In your CV and your resume, you both want to have your computer and technical skills, again, focusing on the position.
You do not need to have references in your resume, which in your CV you generally have. In your resume, you will ask for the company to ask you for references, which could happen after you have had an interview. A CV, again, is not targeted. The resume is very targeted by positions.
So I briefly mentioned the objective statement and if you need it. It's really up to you. And again, it is your document. It's up to you if you wanted. If you can come up with a very powerful statement that shows what you have done, you certainly can have one. Otherwise you don't really need it in your resume. And that's an example for a plant scientist of a statement that could be useful as opposite to the first one, which is not really giving us anything about you.
So how is a resume structured? We have three basic format for resume-- chronological, functional, and combination. Most of the resume that we-- very often, the resume you will see or the one you see most often is chronological. We see a lot of function resume also for people in your field or if you are looking at going in a slightly different direction. We don't see many combination of resume. But the one you are probably most familiar with is chronological.
Information is presented in a reverse chronological order, same as your CV, actually. It's always reverse chronological order. It highlights your progressive work experience. It's very easy to see where you started, where you are now, and how nicely it all fit together.
And it's really better for people who have strong experience in the field, which at this point in your career you probably all have. You have your bachelor, your PhD, graduate research assistant, postdoc now if you're a postdoc. It's generally a fairly linear move. It's less effective if you're changing career or if you do not have as much work experience. As being student and postdoc, you do have a lot of work experience-- not in industry, but you certainly have a lot of research experience.
And older but relevant experience could also be overlooked. So I know some of you might have got a bachelor's degree, might have worked for a few years, came back to get your PhD, then did a postdoc. That experience could kind of get buried because it's so much further down. And we have example of a chronological resume in the page 58 of the career guide.
Functional resume. That's where you group all of your skills. Your experience is grouped by skills. So instead of doing everything in a chronological manner, it will be grouped into skill set, which is really good if you are looking at transitioning to maybe a little bit different career.
So you can group it by leadership skills, communication skills, technical skills, research skills depending on what you are looking at. And the title and date of the experience would be listed at the top or bottom of the resume. So you still are going to list, of course, your work experience. But you will not go as much in detail there.
And again, it's good for people who are changing careers, who have little work experience, or gaps in their employment. So if you took a break maybe and came back, that can also be a good format to use. It can be a little bit confusing because sometimes it can be difficult to follow what your career has been, what your career path was. And again, you can look in the page 46 of the career guide. And you will see an example of the functional resume.
Combination, as the name is mentioned, is going to be a combination of functional and chronological. Experiences is given in reverse chronology. But it is of arranged by the type of experience. And we really don't see many of those type of resume, not as many of them. It will accentuate your skills.
And it allows you to draw a parallel between your skills and what they are looking for in the job ads. It is helpful if you're applying for a wider range of jobs. It can be difficult to fit your experience in one category. It may be hard to see how you all fit in that type of document. And again, page 47 of the career guide.
So very often, I compare a resume to the first page of a newspaper, which not many people read the newspaper anymore. First page of a website, I should start saying. If you find interesting topic on the first page, you might read the second page. And then you might read the cover letter.
So you really, really need all of the most important information on the first page of your resume. You want them to keep on looking at your document. You want that employer to really look at you and really want to interview you.
Always list your responsibilities from the most important to the least important. So under your job experience, you are going to have bullet point. Or you are going to have a listing of your accomplishments. Make sure the most important one is first because that's what we will read first.
Use clear and easily understandable language. You don't know who is going to read your resume first. It could be an HR person. So you need to make sure that we can understand what your experience is about.
Use those action verbs. As I mentioned earlier, we have a list of action verbs in the career guide. Start each sentence with an action verb. It will make your document so much more powerful.
Be very careful about your past tense and your present tense. So anything you are doing currently, whether you're a graduate student or a postdoc, will be present tense. Everything before the position you are in right now needs to be in the past tense. So make sure that you do that.
And don't go for a tiny, little font just to try to put more things in the resume. Let me tell you, as you get older, your eye starts going. That's part of easy-to-read document. It does need to be big enough.
Again, it's a marketing document. A resume is really a marketing document. It's not a history document. Your CV is a history document. It is a document that's going to get you an interview. And then from the interview, hopefully you will get a job.
You need to target it for the position. You really, really need to have different resume for different positions. I will nearly say one resume per position if you are applying for positions that are different enough.
Use a job description. Read it over and over and over. Highlight it. Really use the document to help you target your resume and your cover letter. Look at what they are looking for, and that's what you need to have in your document.
And proofread, proofread, proofread. That document needs to be absolutely perfect. You cannot have any mistakes in it. Have as many people as you can read it. Have your colleagues read it. Have people like in Career Services and/or myself read it. If you're a postdoc, you can come to me. If you're a graduate student, go to Anne.
Have your advisor, of course, read it. Anybody you can think of-- partners, spouses, children, friends. And it's actually good to have people who are not in your field read it. Because if they say, I really have no idea what you're talking about, you need to look at that document again. And I'm going to pass the mic to Anne.
ANNE PODUSKA: Great. Thank you very much, Christine. So Christine did a wonderful job of illustrating the differences between CVs and resumes. And I'm going to build a little bit on what she said in terms of targeting your resume for the position.
You might be wondering, what does that really mean? What does it mean to really highlight my skills to show the employer what they're looking for? And so the best way to do that is to look at the job ad. And for our discussion, we're going to be a little bit more general. We're going to talk generally about what skills employers want.
So there's been some studies out there about what employers look for in their employees. Some of these things probably aren't too surprising. They want people who know things. They want people who are professional and are ethical. They want people who can communicate and can work in teams and that they have critical thinking abilities and that they have a sense of social responsibility.
And so I wanted to share with you a sample resume. And we're going to talk a little bit about how in a resume you could show these things-- where is the pointer? That is not it. OK-- these things in the blue box.
So as you can see, for Miko, it seems as though she might be in the chemistry department. And she's done probably some experimental chemistry. She's done some synthesis. She's done some studies. She supervised some undergraduate students. And she also co-organized a conference.
And so my question to you is, from these first two technical bullet points, are there any opportunities to demonstrate content knowledge, professionalism, or any of these things in the blue box? Any ideas?
ANNE PODUSKA: OK, so content knowledge. And what is that content knowledge that she would be conveying?
ANNE PODUSKA: Excellent. So that can be very helpful if the employer is looking for someone who has that direct experience. Excellent. Are these two experiences-- do they reflect teamwork, communication, critical thinking, any of those? Yes.
ANNE PODUSKA: Absolutely. Absolutely. Anything else? Any other ideas? You have your brow furrowed. Do you have any questions? Is this exercise a little confusing?
AUDIENCE: I'm just trying to think how she could rephrase to get more of them in. You definitely can [INAUDIBLE].
ANNE PODUSKA: OK. So you're very smart. You're getting to the next step. That's exactly where we're going. Why don't you imagine? So what are you trying to imagine? What are you trying to get these bullet points to fit? Communication, teamwork?
AUDIENCE: I'm in the chemistry department, too. So you have to talk to people and calculate how she would convey teamwork in there.
ANNE PODUSKA: Sure. So what would be an example? So you say you have to work in teams. What would be an example of how she had to work in teams for these two things?
AUDIENCE: Doing photoluminescence and other types of studies. Did she have to work with another team? Did someone else help to analyze data, those types of things.
ANNE PODUSKA: Exactly. So you'll notice what you did. You're hypothesizing. You're guessing. That is not explicitly listed here. And so that's something that we'll talk about in a little bit more detail. So if your employer is asking you for specific experience in synthesizing metal organic frameworks, these bullet points are great.
But let's say you're applying for a job. And it's important to have maybe a scientific background. But they want to understand how you work in teams. Then you can rephrase these bullet points to reflect that.
And so to me, I've thought that certainly the content knowledge, the critical thinking, also the oral and written communication. Maybe in terms of doing the synthesis or conducting the studies, maybe she had to talk to people and explain what she's doing. Or maybe she had to get help from experts that way.
So let's move on to the next one, supervised two summer undergraduate students. Where could Miko show any of those points that employers might be interested in? Once again, you can use your imagination if you feel like it's not written there.
AUDIENCE: Well, it shows a certain amount of social responsibility.
ANNE PODUSKA: OK. And why?
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] through a process of learning [INAUDIBLE].
ANNE PODUSKA: Exactly. And so what would be demonstrations of that learning process?
AUDIENCE: That would be transferring normal skills [INAUDIBLE].
ANNE PODUSKA: So for example, maybe showing them how to work equipment or maybe reading through their lab notebook and giving them comments or maybe having them demonstrate skills back to them or that type of thing. Yep, exactly. So social responsibility-- that one can be a little bit difficult. Any other thoughts?
AUDIENCE: Oral communication.
ANNE PODUSKA: OK. And what would be an example of oral communication?
AUDIENCE: To explain things to students and make sure they really understand what you want them to do.
ANNE PODUSKA: Excellent, excellent. So explain students to them what you would like them to do, exactly. And then the last one, organizing a conference. What could that reflect? Anyone in the back have any ideas?
ANNE PODUSKA: Teamwork? OK. Can you give an example of how teamwork might be represented?
AUDIENCE: You're co-organizing so that you have people work as a team.
ANNE PODUSKA: Great. So what would you be doing teamwork to do? So co-organizing a conference-- what would you need teamwork to do for the conference?
AUDIENCE: Maybe delegating responsibility to a bunch of people and [INAUDIBLE].
ANNE PODUSKA: Great, so delegating responsibility. Maybe you needed to brainstorm maybe the agenda or speakers to invite. Absolutely. Those are all great.
So the take-home point is that it's really important to make sure you tailor your bullet points so they closely align with what employers are seeking. So for this experience, if the employer is looking for someone who has actually co-organized a Gordon research conference, great. You might not need to change it very much-- or if the employer is looking for someone with a specific background. But the chances of you finding a position that exactly matches your PhD experience-- probably very low. So what we're going to talk about is how can you tailor your bullet points, essentially what you were trying to do.
And this is just an example that if you're thinking about, OK, I had this experience. I served on the PhD admissions committee for my field. After reviewing applications, I wrote a summary analysis of each applicant and gave a brief presentation about each candidate to the five-member faculty committee.
So let's say that I wanted to highlight my analytical skills. What I would do is I would start off with this action verb, "analyzed." And then I could say, 15 student PhD application essays and academic records.
So here I mentioned how many student applications I looked through. I showed that I could analyze both written material and I could analyze the data from their academic records. And I analyzed it in accordance to criteria. So I'm really good at understanding what someone wants and figuring out if the student's application matches that.
And then the next thing that I included is I made recommendations to a five-member admissions committee that were ultimately accepted. So here I'm making recommendations. I'm problem solving. I'm saying, I've looked at all this data. And I came to these conclusions. And this is what I think.
And there is hints of teamwork because I'm saying that there's a five-member admissions committee. There's also hints of oral communication. But I didn't decide to elaborate on that. And this is just an example. There's many, many different ways that you can write bullet points. But this could be one approach to highlighting analytical skills from this. Does this process make sense? OK.
If instead I wanted to highlight my oral communication skills, I would instead start with a different action verb, "wrote." And I am saying that I wrote a summary analysis of 15 student PhD application materials. So here I'm highlighting the fact that I can summarize information. I can look at many different things and come up with a succinct explanation.
And you'll notice that I didn't go into details about the application essays or academic records. I could have put that in there. But I just chose to leave it out. And then another way of highlighting my communication skills is that I'm showing that I gave an oral presentation about each candidate to the admissions committee.
So you can see that each one of these descriptions represents this example. But you're highlighting different skills. So do you have any questions about this? Can you see where this-- yes.
AUDIENCE: What's a good length of bullet points? Maybe this will be clearer when you see a resume in general. But the four lines for bullet points seems like a lot of words for talking about one thing. Is that a good length?
ANNE PODUSKA: That's an excellent point. So whenever I talk to students about making a resume, I just remind them that when you write a resume, people are reading it vertically. When you read a book, you're reading it horizontally. Resumes-- because you're scanning it, you read it vertically.
And so if you have a bullet point and it extends for four lines, it's very, very hard to actually scan through it. Because if you're just scanning on the left, you don't get these nice highlights of the action verbs. Instead you have to sort through all this other stuff. So just a good rule of thumb is one line is good. Two lines-- that's OK.
If you get into three, for me personally, I find it very hard to scan through. And if it's that long, you probably need to break it up into two bullet points anyway. Or maybe it's extraneous information. So that's really good. And for this, this is a little bit long. I don't know if you would actually put it on a piece of paper if it would be four lines. But that's a fantastic question.
So one thing that you need to be careful about when you're writing, when you're tailoring bullet points to an experience, there might be a problem with doing that. Can anyone think about what might be some potential problems? Nothing. OK.
Well, one potential problem is that if you get very excited, for example, talking about your research experience, and you talk about your communication skills, your teamwork skills, maybe how creative you are, and you get caught up talking about all the different aspects of your experience but you don't mention that you're doing research, you forget that core bullet point that tells about your technical skills or summarizes a whole experience, that can be a problem because people might be very confused.
They'll say, you're doing research. You say that you're a graduate research assistant. But you're not listing research as one of your bullet points. So I recommend that when you are tailoring these bullet points, make sure that there still is this one core bullet point that captures your whole experience. And then the additional bullet points can highlight the other aspects that are relevant to the employer.
OK. So now it's your turn to translate your experiences into bullet points. And we're going to turn off the recording so you can talk amongst yourselves and you can feel comfortable. And if you have any other questions, we're not going have the recording on anymore. So feel free to ask any questions in complete confidentiality within this room.
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This workshop will help you create a professional résumé from your multi-page academic curriculum vitae (CV).
After the workshop you will be able to:
Recognize the difference between a résumé and a CV
Understand when you would use a résumé or a CV
Know when to would use a functional résumé versus a chronological résumé
Understand how to write a résumé
This is part of the Graduate School Professional Development Workshops series.