C.V. & Cover Letter Tips

Resume Length

The only rule with regards to the length of your resume is that you should always have a one page resume, except when you can’t. Employers spend only thirty seconds reviewing your resume, so you should condense and summarize your experience as efficiently as possible. The only time to have a longer resume is if you need a curriculum vitae for an academic position, or the rare occasion that you need an addendum with all of your publications and presentations.

Job Descriptions

When writing a job description, try to boil the job down to its essence. Each responsibility may be important, but what is the main role and what are the support functions? Your next employer will probably be able to make assumptions about some of the responsibilities you have, so focus on the ones that show what makes you unique. Our FourthWrite advisors are experts in crafting winning job descriptions that hone in on your strengths.


Use the present tense for any current employment or experience, although you should use the past tense when discussing a past achievement or award for that current entry. Beyond that, all your wording should be in past tense.

Incorporating LinkedIn

LinkedIn is used by many employers to do additional research before calling candidates, as well as to verify information before your interview. Ensure that your future employer finds the correct profile by including the link to your LinkedIn. Of course, there are always exceptions and industries where it doesn’t make sense to include it; our FourthWrite advisors can offer guidance in this regard. The content of your LinkedIn profile should complement and expand upon the content presented in your resume. Whereas your resume is a summary of your most relevant experience, the freedom of unlimited space on LinkedIn gives you the ability to go into greater detail, including links to projects, extended information on research or publications, and a wider range of your skills, interests, and community activities, as well as less relevant employment.

Resume vs. CV vs. Curriculum Vitae

In the United States, a CV and a resume are virtually interchangeable, unless one is applying for a job teaching at an academic institution. In that case, the applicant needs an actual curriculum vitae, which is an extensive description of achievements, career history, experience, and education. In all other situations, a CV and resume mean the same thing: a brief, easily scannable summary of experience relevant to the job at hand.

FourthWrite Professional offers tailored services for executives, students, and professionals who want to improve their resumes, C.V.s, and cover letters.