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How to Convert Your CV into a Resume

Convert your CV format into a resume seamlessly with these tips. [TWEET]

As a job seeker, you may find yourself in a position where both a curriculum vitae (CV) and a resume are needed, forcing you to question which information should be omitted from your CV format and which is crucial to keep. This may seem daunting, but it’s actually easier than you would think.

The first step to turning a CV into a resume is determining the difference between the two, when to use one or the other and how to shorten information. Here are a few tips on tackling the CV to resume transformation. 

What is a CV?

CVs are detail-oriented documents that display nearly every aspect about your education, professional experience, and other career information. This is where you are the most detailed, leaving nothing to the imagination. Basically, think of CVs as a condensed book on your achievements, jobs, career, experience, skills, awards, etc.

Some of the most common elements found in a CV format– not a resume – are:

  • Presentations

  • Published works

  • Detailed explanation of training

  • Internships as a separate section

  • Information regarding the company

  • License details

The primary difference between a resume and a CV is length. CVs are several pages long, while resumes are two-pages or less. CV formats also focus on coursework and research, where resumes focus on summarizing your history. While CVs and resumes are extremely different in appearance and purpose, they can readily merge to create a shorter resume-style document or an actual resume.

Transferable Skills

One of the first methods of converting a CV to a resume format is transferable skills. Transferable skills are “soft skills” that are used in most industries and positions. For example, project management, while defined differently depending on industry, generally can be transposed into another career. Same goes for leadership, training, and development.

Look for soft, transferable skills in the CV and transfer them into the resume. Usually, placing a list of areas of expertise or core skills under the career summary works best. Format the list into no more than three columns and four rows. Use bullets, such as check marks, to distinguish the separation.

Career and Professional Experience

This is one of the trickier parts of the conversion process. CV formats tend to list every single job duty performed for the company, while resumes take the key achievements approach. It is preferable to meld the two systems. Look for the most important job duties listed on the CV. Use those and omit the rest. A good rule of thumb is to stay under five lines per paragraph.

Reword each sentence to use more active verbs, and omit most of the adjectives and adverbs. Do not use first person pronouns (I, Us, We, You, Me, etc.) or any articles (i.e. A, An, The, etc.). Next, think about the achievements and notable contributions you made on the job. List three of the most notable as a bulleted list under the description.

Education

An education section is just as important on the resume as it is on a CV. However, there are a few differences. Do not include awards, scholarships, projects, etc. unless they were within three to four years, were considered major accomplishments (i.e. national or regional levels), or they're crucial to displaying your abilities for the job.

It’s okay to list professional development, including training, awards, memberships, etc. But the point is to supplement your history, not provide a biography.

Resume Sections

Professional resume writers and designers agree that organization and format is just as important as the content. It makes reading the resume easier, and hiring managers can access the most important information within a few seconds. In fact, depending on the resume writer, most agree that a hiring manager should gain a basic feel for the candidate within ten seconds.

Here are a few sections to include on the resume:

  • Career Summary

  • Skills

  • Experience

  • Education

DO NOT include the following sections:

  • References

  • Publications

  • Extensive course work

Bringing it all Together

Transforming a CV to resume isn’t difficult, however, it is recommended to seek professional advice before submitting it to a prospective employer. Professional resume writers can critique your materials, offer suggestions and make edits. The investment is worth it. A professional, polished resume could mean the difference between winning the interview and being shown to the door.

Need help with your resume or CV? Our TopResume writers can help!

Note: This article originally appeared in The Telegraph

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!