Taking the bold step of leaving the relatively secure sanctuary of academia for the insecurity of commerce may seem like the actions of a mad man. After all, who would want the pressure and stress that comes with targets, long hours and the insecurity of working in commerce?

The simple truth is that (as everyone in academia really knows) there is no job security in any industry in any country today. Gone are the fantastic pension plans and lazy afternoons snoozing after a long lunch, pressure is everywhere.

When it comes to dusting down that resume, there are several changes that you may wish to consider.

Differences between an academic and a standard resume

An academic resume is a document meant to show a potential employer everything that you have done from an academic perspective for the whole of your career. People expect to see every single job post, qualification, research paper, guest lecture, and thesis. Dissertation, etc., neatly arranged into what can be a huge document, many pages long. If two words described an academic resume, they would probably be comprehensive and boring.

When moving into commerce (and increasingly in academia), the reader will want to know one thing; how can you contribute? Put another way, what can you do for me?

Demonstrating value that you have delivered for the institutions and organisations that you have worked for is essential, so how do you do that?


Start by brainstorming what you have achieved in your career to date. If you can detail 30 or so points that make you proud then you will have done well. Once this is done, try attaching a benefit to them, think about and quantify the tangible benefit that you delivered for the organisation. This could be financial (first prize) or less tangible like a productivity improvement, improvement in grades, increases in uptake of people opting for your courses, etc.

You prove your potential worth to a new employer by demonstrating how you have delivered value and benefit to previous employers. In the end, an employer cares about only one thing, what you can do for them.

Resume length

An academic resume can be any length. It isn’t uncommon for a resume to be 7, 8 or even more pages long. The simple truth is that you will be destined to fail in commerce if your resume is a length any longer (or shorter) than 2 pages long.

Why 2 pages?

In today’s (really) busy world, we all have a time shortage, people simply won’t read a resume that is longer than 2 pages and you will be rejected without even knowing why. A 2 page resume is detailed enough to be taken seriously, to tempt and entice the reader but not too brief to be dismissed. A two page resume outperforms any other length of resume, time and again.

Bullet Points

Bullet points are seldom used in academic resumes. They are definitely useful; however in a commercial resume as the reader can take in a great deal of information, very quickly without needing to read the detail. This comes back to the point I made earlier about time paucity, we all have more pressure on us and making someone’s life easier by feeding them information in an easy to digest form is always going to help.

A Career Profile/ Objective

Rarely used in an academic resume, a brief profile is essential. The profile or elevator pitch is an easy way to introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you and what you can do. These are also known as career profiles, summaries or objectives and are short introductions to a resume that outline candidates’ strongest qualities, attributes, personal characteristics as well as their ambitions. They are important because they will be the first thing a recruiter reads and can be instrumental in convincing them to take you seriously, continue to read your application and invite you to an interview.

How to write a profile

  • Introduce yourself, state your personal traits, core strengths and most relevant work experience.
  • Explain precisely how you match the employers’ requirements and can benefit their organization. To save space do not provide evidence, you can give that later in your resume
  • At the end state your career ambitions and aspirations for the future, mention the job role you are after.

How can we help you?

We are here to help you. If you think you need help with your resume, please contact us for a free resume review.

Author: Glenn Hughes

I’m a professional CV writer who also writes website content, LinkedIn profiles, helps people with bespoke job applications and more. I’ve been writing for the internet since 2009 and have many published articles.


  • Glenn Hughes

    I'm a professional CV writer who also writes website content, LinkedIn profiles, helps people with bespoke job applications and more. I've been writing for the internet since 2009 and have many published articles.

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