Resume vs. CV: What’s the Difference?

Throughout my experience as a career coach, I’ve often seen students who are confused on the difference between a curriculum vitae (CV) (some people refer to this as Scientific CV or Academic CV) and a resume. It is important to know the difference between these two and when to use them.

CVs and resumes are used to represent your accomplishments and experiences. Typically in the US, employers expect to see resumes when candidates apply for non-academic/non-research opportunities. In short, a resume is a document used to show employers your professional achievements and the skills to perform the job. Resumes are concise and highlight your education, work experiences, and skills.

On the other hand, CVs are needed when applying for positions in research, academia, and in the medical fields. They are scholarly timelines of your work experience which are used for applying to research positions, fellowships, grants, graduate schools, etc. CVs highlight education, research/teaching experiences, accomplishments, activities and special qualifications.

Employers abroad (especially in Europe, Asia, and Australia) typically use CVs that include personal details such as age, sex, immigration and marital status. Be sure to research what makes up a CV when applying for jobs outside of the US.

Key differences between a CV and resume

When required?Required for opportunities in academia, research, scientific, medical fieldsRequired for opportunities in most industries beyond academia, research, and medical fields.
Length?Common to see multiple pages (more than 2) for experienced administrators, professors and researchers. For BC undergraduates, 2pages is fineResumes are concise. Preferably 1-2 pages long. For BC undergraduates, keep this to 1 page
What is included?Highlights educational or academic experiences, teaching and research, publications, professional development, professional credentials, grants, awards, honors, presentations etc.Highlights education, work/ research experiences, relevant skills and may include community service and leadership activities.
How is it formatted?Education section always comes after heading i.e. name and contact information.Usually after a few years of experience, education moves towards the end of the resume.
Other important differences?Always include referencesDo not include references

Which should I provide?

Many jobs in the government, non-profit and private organizations in the US require a resume. Whereas research positions and faculty packets would require a CV. Whatever you do, be sure to read instructions for what is preferred. For samples of resumes and cover letters, I encourage you to check out the Career Center’s website for various cluster formats.

—By Ama Agumeh, Assistant Director, Career Education
%d bloggers like this: