Curriculum Vitae or Resume: What's the Difference?

While many people use resume and curriculum vitae (CV) interchangeably, their formats are quite different and they are not intended for the same audience. Which type of jobs encourage a resume? Which typically prefer CV?

Determining what type of employer will be reviewing your application will determine whether you submit a resume or a CV.

A resume is used when applying to business, industry, government, or non-profit jobs. Usually one to two pages, a resume should include your name and contact information, education, and work experience listed chronologically. It should be a summary of your most relevant professional experiences tailored to the particular job or position you would like to acquire.

The main purpose of a resume is to get an interview. Hiring managers review hundreds of applicants so your resume should be concise and clear. A polished resume is your first chance to make a good impression on potential employers.

A CV is typically for fellowships, grants, scholarships, or jobs in academia. The CV should be fairly detailed and cover your life’s accomplishments including teaching and research experience, publications, awards, presentations, and affiliations. You should also include academic areas of interest, education, employment experience, and professional references.

Unlike a resume, a CV does not have a page limit. On average, a CV is two to three pages in length, but will continue to grow throughout your professional career.

Final Pointers:

  • Be conscious of formatting. Make sure spacing is consistent within the document.
  • Stick to common fonts, such as Times New Roman or Arial, you do not want to distract the reader or make the information more difficult to read.
  • When listing experience, use chronological order with your most recent position first.
  • Seek out examples. Modeling your resume after an individual who shares your discipline and interests may be beneficial.
  • Look to any document formatting system you use (such as Microsoft Word) or online for free resume templates. Much like the font, use something simple and straightforward.
  • Don’t put sensitive personal information such as your Social Security number on your resume or CV. It can put you at risk for identity theft.