3 Key Differences Between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Resume

Ever wonder what the differences are between a resume and a CV?  Now you don’t have to!  This quick to read article breaks down the 3 main differences and shares when it is appropriate to use either format.

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A curriculum vitae (also known as a CV) and a resume both reflect a person’s skills and experience, but they are vastly different documents. Here are three important distinctions between the two.

Length of Resumes and CVs

Resumes are typically one or two pages long, depending on how much experience a candidate has. To keep a resume to one or two pages in length, it is necessary to omit older positions and details as time goes on. On the other hand, a curriculum vitae grows longer over time as new information and accomplishments are added. A curriculum vitae can be two pages long, or it can be upwards of a dozen. There are a couple of reasons for the difference in length. One is that resumes often use short phrases and bullet-point formats, while a curriculum vitae goes into more depth.

Typically, education is the first portion of a curriculum vitae, including a listing of all degrees earned or in progress; areas of academic interest; and thesis and dissertation titles and descriptions. With the exception of recent graduates, however, resumes tend to list education last.

A curriculum vitae also includes sections listing teaching and research positions; works published; presentations given; grants, awards, and other honors received; scholarly and professional affiliations; and a list of references.

When to Use a Resume or a CV

A good resume is concise, highlighting select experiences and accomplishments, while a curriculum vitae is instead a complete catalog of a person’s educational and professional background. The purpose of a curriculum vitae is to provide a comprehensive look at a person’s experience, while a resume is intended to provide an at-a-glance overview (one study found that recruiters spend just six seconds reviewing a resume).

Where Resumes and CVs are Most Common

Resumes are more commonly used than curriculum vitae in most fields in the United States. Academia and research are notable exceptions; fellowship and grant applications also sometimes request that applicants submit their curriculum vitae. In most other parts of the world, however, curriculum vitae are used more often than resumes.

Because a resume and a curriculum vitae serve different purposes, job candidates should consider having drafts of both written and ready to use.

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