Resume versus CV

When it comes to applying for a job or academic program, two terms that often come up are resume and CV (curriculum vitae). While these documents share some similarities, they are not interchangeable and serve different purposes.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a concise document that highlights your professional experience, achievements, skills, and education relevant to the position you are applying for. Resumes are typically two to three pages long and include sections such as:

  • Contact Information
  • Target Job Title
  • Summary
  • Areas of Expertise
  • Professional Experience
  • Education
  • Professional Development
  • Certifications
  • Licenses

Resumes are tailored to a specific job and are meant to show how your experience and skills match the requirements of the position. The days of the one-resume-does-all are gone. They are typically used in the United States and Canada for job applications in the private sector.

What is a CV?

A CV, on the other hand, is a comprehensive document that details your academic and professional accomplishments, such as:

  • Education
  • Research Experience
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Awards/Honors
  • Professional Memberships

CVs are typically longer than resumes and can be several pages in length. They are used primarily in academia and research fields, as well as in some countries outside of North America.

Key Differences between a Resume and a CV

Length: Resumes are typically two to three pages long (one page if you’re a recent grad with little to no work experience), while CVs can be several pages long.

Content: Resumes focus on professional experience, skills, and education related to a specific job. CVs provide a comprehensive overview of academic and professional accomplishments.

Structure: Resumes typically follow a chronological format, while CVs are organized based on categories such as education, research, and publications.

Purpose: Resumes are tailored to a specific job and are meant to show how your experience and skills match the requirements of the position (what Applicant Tracking Software aka ATS parses for). CVs are used to showcase your academic and professional achievements.

Which one should you use?

The document you should use depends on the purpose of your application. If you are applying for a job in the private sector, a resume is typically the appropriate choice. If you are applying for an academic position or a research grant, a CV is usually the preferred document.

In some cases, you may need to provide both a resume and a CV. For example, you may need to submit a resume as part of your job application and a CV as part of your academic portfolio.

While both resumes and CVs share some similarities, they serve different purposes and should not be used interchangeably. Understanding the differences between the two documents can help you create the appropriate document for your application and increase your chances of success.


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