Curriculum Vitae vs Resume

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Many job seekers are familiar with the standard resume used to apply for jobs in the U.S., but they may not be quite as familiar with the curriculum vitae (CV).  The curriculum vitae is another tool that can be used as a part of the job search.  Job seekers should be aware that these two terms refer to somewhat different presentations of their history and experience, and they should not be used interchangeably.

What is a Resume?


A resume is a concise summary that focuses on specific aspects of a candidate’s work experience and education.  This document tends to be limited to one page in length, though in some instances a second page may be included (if it is warranted by extensive experience or education). 

The resume is the standard tool used for job applications in the United States, and it is often accompanied by a cover letter when used to apply for jobs.  Both the resume and cover letter can be adapted to highlight the qualifications an employer would find desirable in applicants for an open position.

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a more detailed description of your education, academic record, areas of interest, awards, honors, research projects, scholarly publications, presentations, teaching experience, volunteer work, certifications, professional memberships, and references.

  It is sometimes referred to as an “academic” resume. 

A CV usually runs at least two pages in length, and it is very common for a CV to include up to five pages if the candidate has an extensive professional history to report.  In some instances, it can be even longer.  The CV is considered a comprehensive document and can be used for application to a wide variety of positions without the level of tweaking that is required of resumes.

  It is important that the CV is updated regularly so that it includes all professional honors and awards.

Similarities: CV and Resume

1. Both present information about a candidate’s education, training, and skills.
2. Both provide a candidate profile to a prospective employer
3. There is no single correct format for either document

Differences: CV and Resume

1. Length (a CV is several pages in length while a resume is usually limited to a single page)
2. Target (a CV has an academic focus, while a resume does not)
3. Summary of history (resume) vs. a comprehensive report that includes every detail (CV)

When to Use a CV

When might you need to compose a CV while working in an animal career field?  You might need to use a CV when applying for any international positions, jobs in academia (especially for college professors), medical jobs, graduate school, or research and development positions.  You might also need to have a CV available when seeking grant funding, fellowships, or awards.

Final Word

It can be beneficial for a job seeker to keep both a resume and CV on file so that they can readily apply for opportunities as they become available.  It may also be beneficial to create a hybrid document that includes some aspects of a resume and some aspects of the CV.

  Creating these documents can help job seekers focus on the big picture that includes all of their experience (CV) as well as the most important aspects of that experience (resume).

Career seekers hoping to work internationally or in academic roles will find that a quality curriculum vitae will play an important role in their job search.  Ensuring that the CV is up to date and includes all relevant history will ensure that a candidate enjoys the best job prospects in their field of interest.