Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae: What's the Difference?

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life.” In contrast, resume is French for “summary.” Both CVs & Resumes:

  • Are tailored for the specific job/company you are applying to
  • Should represent you as the best qualified candidate
  • Are used to get you an interview
  • Do not usually include personal interests

If you are applying for both academic as well as industry (private or public sector) positions, you will need to prepare both a resume and a CV.

Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume: Format and Content

The CV presents a full history of your academic credentials, so the length of the document is variable. In contrast, a resume presents a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a specific position, so length tends to be shorter and dictated by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).

CVs are used by individuals seeking fellowships, grants, postdoctoral positions, and teaching/research positions in postsecondary institutions or high-level research positions in industry. Graduate school applications typically request a CV, but in general are looking for a resume that includes any publications and descriptions of research projects.

In many European countries, CV is used to describe all job application documents, including a resume. In the United States and Canada, CV and resume are sometimes used interchangeably. If you are not sure which kind of document to submit, it is best to ask for clarification.

Resume Vs CV
Emphasizes skills Emphasizes academic accomplishments
Used when applying for a position in industry, non-profit, and public sector Used when applying for positions in academia, fellowships and grants
Is no longer than 2 pages, with an additional page for publications and/or poster presentations if highly relevant to the job Length depends upon experience and includes a complete list of publications, posters, and presentations
After 1 year of industry experience, lead with work experience and place education section at or near the end, depending upon qualifications Always begins with education and can include name of advisor and dissertation title or summary (see examples). Also used for merit/ tenure review and sabbatical leave