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 

  • Emphasize skills
  • Used when applying for a position in industry, non-profit, and public sector
  • Is no longer than 2 pages, with an additional page for publications and/or poster presentations if highly relevant to the job
  • After 1 year of industry experience, lead with work experience and place education section at the or near the end, depending upon qualifications
  • CV

  • Emphasizes academic accomplishments
  • used when applying for positions in academia, fellowships and grants
  • Length depends upon experience and includes a complete list of publications, posters, and presentations
  • 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