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Resume Writing

Convert CV to Resume: Complete Guide

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And Why Should You Even Bother?

A US-style resume highlights all your critical job skills to potential employers… in North American companies. But what if you apply to a non-US company or for work overseas? Would you know how to turn your resume into a CV, and does it even matter?

Some job seekers need to turn a resume into a CV or a CV to resume. This is because employers in the US and Canada expect job applicants to submit a resume. The only exception is for academia, in which case candidates must present a CV. But most countries outside North America ask for the CV format.

This article explains why the resume/CV format matters and how submitting the wrong file can lose you that precious interview. You may post the perfect resume, but if the hiring manager asked for a CV, well, you’ve got no hope of an interview.

Before we look at converting a resume to a CV, we need to examine the different styles.

When to Turn Your Resume into a CV

The difference is hidden in the names. CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, a Latin term that means Course of Life. While the word resume is French and translates to summary. This table shows why those names matter and when to use which document.

RESUME VS Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Typically, one page for entry-level job seekers but can be longer for older, more experienced applicants. LENGTH Multiple pages (no restrictions). A CV should be as long as it needs to be.
Summary, employment history, education, skills, certifications, and any volunteer work. SECTIONS Publications, awards, research writing, education, presentations, and anything else that tells your life story to date.
A concise Summary of vital skills, primarily those relevant to the advertised position. DETAILS A comprehensive history of educational and occupational qualifications, plus any life achievements, including awards.
Accepted format by most industries in North America. FIELDS Recognized format for many international companies, and in North America for academic and research positions.

This short video compares the differences between resumes and CVs in more detail.

Forget Resume Vs. CV, Have Both

Jobseekers often use resume and CV interchangeably as they’re both files used to apply for employment. But now you know that’s where their similarity ends. It doesn’t matter how impressive your document is, either. If a job ad asks you for a CV, and you send in a resume… or vice versa… you’ve wasted your valuable time by applying.

If you’re ambitious and open to job opportunities, you should know how to turn resume into CV or how to convert CV to resume. It makes perfect sense to have both.

Did you know that the first hurdle in the interview process is non-human?

Why You Can’t fool Applicant Tracking Systems

It’s true; if you apply for a job online or to a large company, there’s every chance your CV or resume will meet the dreaded Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) first.

Here’s what you should know about ATS filters:

  • 75% of active recruiters use some form of ATS today
  • The job search firm, Preptel, found that ATS blocks 75% of all resumes

Resume to CV the Easy Way

Now, you might be thinking it’s overly complicated, with too much work and insane competition. The only true part is the completion. Even so, most people fail to reach the hiring managers’ desk through ignorance rather than bad luck.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO FALL INTO THE SAME TRAP.

There are two secrets to turn resume into CV. One is to know what to include and what to leave out. The other is not to overcomplicate the content. Instead, please keep it simple and be mindful of the document’s readability factor.

What content you add depends on your age, achievements, and work history. Either way, it’s a box-checking exercise, and we’re going to walk you through each section.

Knowing how to convert a resume to a CV the right way is well worth the time. It also gives you a far better chance of passing those ruthless ATS filters.

How to Turn a Resume into a CV in Easy Steps

Your resume already has some of the information you need for your CV. The other data you will have to add. You then follow a set format and simply fill in the blanks.

The how to convert resume to CV 12-step checklist.

1 Save your CV in the proper file format ✔️
2 Copy your heading ✔️
3 Include all educational details ✔️
4 List relevant work experience ✔️
5 Add any honors/recognitions/awards ✔️
6 Include any research projects ✔️
7 List your presentations ✔️
8 scholarships, grants, or bursaries ✔️
9 Give details of licenses & certifications ✔️
10 List your associations ✔️
11 Copy any voluntary work ✔️
12 Provide references ✔️

OK, now let’s run over each point in a little more detail.

Save Your New CV to the Correct File Format

Before converting resume to CV, decide on the document type and format. First impressions matter as there are no second chances, and competition is fierce. Whether you’re replying to an ad, sending out unsolicited resumes, a missionary resume, or a resume for retiree returning to work — the document format matters in all cases.

The Safest File Format For CVs and Resumes

How you save your document is not simply a matter of personal preference. First, check the job ad to see if it specifies a document type. If it does, be sure to follow those directions to avoid instant rejection. If it doesn’t mention a format, your safest bet every time is to save the new CV as an Adobe PDF file.

Copy & Paste Your Resume Header

Copy and paste the heading details from your resume into the top of your new CV.

Quick Tip: Some employers may ask for extra header information, e.g., date of birth (DOB) and gender. First impressions matter, so always check what details to add when applying for jobs.

Include All Educational Details

Include all your college educational details in this section, plus any post-graduate degrees you have. Be specific here and add the name and location of schools/colleges, the degree type (add any honors, too), and graduation dates.

When Your Educational Background Is Less Than Impressive

What should you do if you’re an ideal match for the job but lack the educational criteria? The answer is to ZOOM IN on why the employer should still consider you. You can do this by adding a short yet concise summary paragraph under the CV header.

A 2019 study looked at the top four things employers really look for in a potential candidate. The results below are in order of priority, and they may surprise you:

  1. Potential (45%)
  2. Knowledge & experience (37%)
  3. Personality (16%)
  4. Education (last at only 2%)

So, your summary should expand on your strengths, enthusiasm, potential, experience, and positive attitude as per the above criteria.

CV Tip: Never say you’re good at something without backing it up. Be concise but specific.

You don’t want to leave the educational section blank, though. Talk positive about what education you do have, but emphasize your occupational qualifications instead.

List Relevant Work Experience

Copy your work experience from your resume and paste it into your CV. Keep the order methodical, i.e., job title, position, company name, address, achievements, and your primary responsibilities.

Add Any Honors/Recognitions/Awards

Add any professional honors, recognitions, or academic awards to this section. You’ll want to include the name(s) of institutions/organizations that gave the prize(s). Also, add brief details about what you did to earn those commendations.

Include Any Research Projects

This section is only necessary if you’re applying for research-based positions, for example, academia, science, healthcare, etc. It should include the names of the organizations, dates, the research carried out, and any findings.

List Your Presentations

Copy and paste any presentations listed in your past resumes here, or remove this section if you haven’t done any. Presentations should include dates, locations, and the names of the workshop, event, conference, and any co-presenters.

Scholarships, Grants or Bursaries

List any scholarships, grants, or bursaries, including the names and amounts received. It’s also useful to mention what positive influences the funding had on your life.

Provide Details of Licenses & Certifications

This section is instrumental if you hold professional licenses and or certifications relevant to the position you’re applying for.

List Your Associations

Associations have the potential to make your CV stand out. Moreover, they can help to highlight your integrity and dedication to causes. These memberships can be professional, student, fellow, or associate

Copy Any Voluntary Work

Copy & paste any voluntary positions from past resumes into this section. Include the type of work, your role, title, and date ranges.

Provide References

You can add any relevant references here from your resume(s). They can include current or former managers/supervisors, co-workers, academic advisors, professional mentors, etc. Alternatively, you can opt to put, References on request instead.

That’s it, the first draft is complete, but you’re not quite done—yet.

Review Your CV, Then Review It Some More

You might think your new CV makes a fantastic read and needs nothing more. However, it’s a good idea to put it away for one or two days and revisit it with rested eyes. You’re almost certain to make tweaks to the original draft. Recheck spelling, grammar, sentence structure, details, and readability more generally.

Consider constructive feedback by letting others read and comment on your new CV.

How to Convert CV to Resume

Turning a CV into a resume is easier than turning a resume into a CV. That’s because there are fewer details needed in the converting CV to resume process. All you do is copy the relevant sections from one file to the other and manually type in any missing data. Your resume must still stand out, even though it’s a shorter document.

And remember this; your resume—unlike your CV—is not a static file.

How to Turn a CV into a Resume That’s Relevant

Some of the resume details stay the same, while others need to change to match the job. A general document is unlikely to get past the ATS filters. So, once you turn CV into a resume, always make sure the information you add is relevant to the position.

Thus, converting a CV to a resume can be done in one hit. But you may still need to tweak it each time you apply for a job, so it relates more to the role.

Also: check these helpers to know more about resume creation.

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