The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae
What is the difference between a resume and a CV? When should you use a resume, and when is it better to use a curriculum vitae?
The primary differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are length, what is included, and what each is used for. While both are used in job applications, a resume and a CV are not always interchangeable.
CV vs. Resume
Most resumes in the United States are competency-based: they are personal marketing documents intended to showcase the candidate’s skills, notable achievements, and work experience to the greatest advantage.
U.S. curriculum vitae, submitted for jobs in academia, scientific research, and medical fields, are credential-based, providing a comprehensive (and often lengthy) listing of one’s education, certifications, research experience, and professional affiliations and memberships.
What Is a Curriculum Vitae?
A curriculum vitae (CV) provides a summary of your experience and skills. Typically, CVs for entry-level candidates are longer than resumes—at least two or three pages. CVs for mid-level candidates who have amassed numerous publications tend to run much longer.
CVs include extensive information on your academic background, including teaching experience, degrees, research, awards, publications, presentations, and other achievements.
CVs are lengthier than resumes and include more information, particularly details related to one’s academic and research background.
A curriculum vitae summary is a one-to-two-page, condensed version of a full curriculum vitae. A CV summary is a way to quickly and concisely convey one’s skills and qualifications. Sometimes large organizations will initially ask for a one-page CV summary when they expect a large pool of applicants.
What to Include in Your Curriculum Vitae
Your curriculum vitae should include your name, contact information, education, skills, and experience.
In addition to the basics, a CV includes research and teaching experience, publications, grants and fellowships, professional associations and licenses, awards, and other information relevant to the position you are applying for.
Start by making a list of all your background information, and then organize it into categories.
Review a Sample CV
What Is a Resume?
A resume provides a summary of your education, work history, credentials, and other accomplishments and skills. There are also optional sections, including a resume objective and a career summary statement.
Resumes are the most common document requested of applicants in job applications.
A resume should be as concise as possible. Typically, a resume is one page long, although sometimes it can be as long as two pages.
Resumes often include bulleted lists to keep information concise.
Review a Resume Sample
CV and Resume Writing Tips
Whether you are writing a CV or a resume, there are a few helpful rules you should follow. It's important to show the hiring manager how you are qualified for the job, what you have to offer the organization, and why you'd be a terrific candidate to interview.
Match your resume or CV to the position. This is most important when writing a resume, but it applies to a CV too. Make sure that you highlight your education, work experience, and skills as they relate to the particular industry or job.
In a CV, for example, if you are applying for a job in education, you might want to put your teaching experience at the top of your CV. In a resume, you might include only the work experience that relates directly to the job you’re applying for. You can also include keywords from the job description in your resume or CV. This will show the employer that you are an ideal fit for the position. Here's how to match your qualifications to a job.
Use a template. You may want to use a template to structure your resume or CV. This will give your document a clear organization, which will help the employer quickly see your qualifications and experience.
Proofread and edit. No matter whether you use a CV or resume, you need to thoroughly edit your document. Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Make sure your format is uniform—for example, if you use bullet points in one job description, use bullet points in all your job descriptions.
How to Write a Successful Resume
- Choose the right format for your needs. Your industry, experience, and desired role will inform your choice of resume format—e.g., chronological, functional, or combination. See sample resumes, organized by occupation and industry, here.
- Write for both robots and humans. Your resume needs to get past the Applicant Tracking System and grab the attention of the human being on the other end. These resume writing tips will help you craft a document that appeals to both software and the company's Human Resources department.
How to Write a Successful CV
- Know what to include and how to format the information. These sample CVs provide a helpful guide; this piece offers tips for writing your very first CV.
- Choose an appropriate format. Make sure you choose a curriculum vitae format that is appropriate for the position you are applying for. If you are applying for a fellowship, for example, you won't need to include the personal information that may be included in an international CV.
U.S. vs. International CVs
While CVs in the U.S. are used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions or when applying for fellowships or grants, candidates for international jobs may be required to submit “CVs” for almost any type of job they apply for.
In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect to receive a “curriculum vitae” (often with an attached photograph) rather than a resume. However, international “CVs” are structured and formatted more like a resume than they are an academic U.S. curriculum vitae.
The Difference Between U.S. and International CVs
The primary difference between a U.S. resume and an international CV is that employers in other countries, unfettered by U.S. employment discrimination laws, require more personal information than one would provide on a resume in the United States.
These details vary by country, but can include one’s date of birth, nationality, marital status, and number of children. Here’s how to structure your international curriculum vitae.
CareerOneStop. "Why You Need a Great Resume." Accessed May 17, 2020.
Columbia University Center for Career Education. "What is a Curriculum Vitae?" Accessed May 17, 2020.
Pomona College. "How to Write a Curriculum Vitae." Accessed May 17, 2020.
CareerOneStop. "Types of Resumes." Accessed May 17, 2020.
VisualCV. "What to Include in a CV - an International Guide." Accessed May 17, 2020.
TIC. "Tips for Writing an International CV." Accessed Jan. 25, 2020.