What’s the Difference Between a CV and Resume

In 2017, the words CV (Curriculum Vitae) and resume are often used interchangeably, which is confusing for many. What are the similarities between a CV and resume? What makes them different? When should you use a CV or resume? These questions will be answered, and your confusion between the two will finally be lifted.

What are the similarities between a CV and resume?

CVs and resumes are both an overview of your accomplishments, experience and skills and are used to get you an interview. From a marketing perspective, they are both advertisements for you and your work. CVs and resumes are great promotion tools, and show your best work and why you’re different from candidates applying for the same role. Also like an advertisement, they both include a call-to-action, which is your name and contact information.

The differences between a CV and resume

The main difference between a CV and a resume is that a CV focuses on your educational history and a resume focuses on achievements in your professional career.

A CV is a comprehensive document that details accomplishments, awards, honors and publications with an academic focus. A CV usually begins with and emphasizes your education history. Its length is usually two or more pages and includes a complete list of awards and publications. Nothing is cut out for the sake of space. CVs are also considered a “living document” and are updated often. An example of a modern-day CV is your LinkedIn profile. Although it usually emphasizes your work experience over your academic experience, it is updated often and because there isn’t any concern for space, it includes a full list of your experiences.

A resume is usually 1-2 pages highlights your work experience and is tailored to the role you’re applying for. If a CV is the movie of your life, a resume is your highlight reel or trailer. Resumes usually lead with work experience, and education is usually placed last. Skills and experience are usually trimmed down to show only the ones that are relevant to the potential role.

When should you use a resume or CV?

As mentioned earlier, the words CV and resume often used interchangeably, but they are used in different situations. CVs are usually used to apply for teaching and research roles, postdoctoral positions, fellowships and grants.

Resumes are usually used to apply for almost any job not in academics. CVs are often used to apply for jobs outside of the United States. But if you’re living in the U.S., more often than not when applying for a job most employers want a resume. If you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask.