University Career Center

Generally resume writing is subject to variability, and crafting a resume from a CV is no different. There are several things to think about when writing a resume for non-academic positions. Here's some things to ponder: 

  • What is the story you are trying to tell with this document? 
  • How do you want to highlight the transferability of your PhD skill sets and knowledge
  • Who is the audience you are trying to reach and what do you know they value? 
  • What have others done to successfully reach non-academic employers in your industry(s) of choice?

Common Questions

Do I list my Education first? 

This depends on the industry and your previous academic or non-academic experience. Generally current students be they undergrad or grad list their education first; however if you have specific relevant experience worth highlighting you may opt to move education under experience. 

Do I include my thesis title and advisor's name?

Typically you do not have to include your thesis title or advisor's name. The exception to this guideline is if your advisor is particularly well known in the industry you are targeting. 

Do I include a GPA? 

GPAs on PhD students' resumes are less common. Some industries, like management consulting, require them but most do not. 

How do I format and what do I include in my Experience section?

One objective we are trying to reach is showcasing the transferability of your academic experiences, so a strong Experience section does that while also showing the impact or outcome of exercising your skills including quantification as appropriate. Here's an example: 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 
Graduate Student Instructor, September 2011-Present
  • Developed and delivered presentations for audiences from 25 to 150 people.
  • Built web site using Drupal including links related to course material and student needs.
  • Led group discussions culminating in new teaching ideas and consensus on grading papers and tests. 
  • Supervised 50 students working on research papers.

Do I include publications and honors/awards?

You do not have to include your publications/presentations and honors/awards. This is not to say that you can't, but generally it is less expected that these would be included in the resume. We recommend having a supplemental list of publications and presentations to provide employers if they ask for it. Another common strategy is to write a bullet highlighting your publications. Something like "Wrote and published three articles based on thesis research in peer-reviewed journals." 

How long should my resume be?

We are less concerned with resume length than we are with resume content. If you have rich content and a compelling story that dictates two pages versus one that's OK. There are some employers who request a one page resume so be prepared for it, but many do not.