The Difference Between A Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The Difference Between A Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The differences between a resume and curriculum vitae (CV) are often misunderstood. Some employers use the two interchangeably, but there is a definitive difference between the two regarding both length and the content included. Here is the difference between a resume and a CV, so you know which one is appropriate when submitting your job application.

What is a resume?

In the United States, resumes are the dominant application document that most candidates must submit while applying for a job. A resume is a competency-based document that illustrates a candidate’s experiences, skillsets, and education. Resumes briefly (one of two pages in length) provide an overview of a candidate’s qualifications. A resume typically includes:

  • Work experience
  • Achievements
  • Soft and hard skills
  • Certifications
  • Education
  • Professional affiliations or memberships

A resume accompanied by a cover letter will be the most common documents requested by employers in the United States.

Resumes are pretty cut and dry with the information you will provide. However, some optional sections, such as a resume objective or hobbies, may be included if they bolster your application and are relevant to the position.

What is a curriculum vitae (CV)?

On the other hand, a curriculum vitae is more applicable for academic positions, scientific research, and medical fields in the United States. These are more comprehensive documents containing research experience, publications, awards, extensive education backgrounds, projects, and everything else a resume includes.

CVs are lengthier than a resume and can be as long as three pages for an entry-level position and much longer for a mid-level role. But like a resume,  you must tailor the contents you provide in your CV to the role. You want to include any of the above information that is relevant to the program or position to improve your chances of receiving an interview.

When to use a CV or a resume?

Resumes are the staple job application material in the United States unless you apply to academia or medical positions. However, CVs are much more common in other countries. In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect a CV instead of a resume. If you are applying for an international job, you will likely submit a CV instead of a resume, but the job posting will probably tell you what documents the employer expects.

Do you need more job search advice?

As remote work becomes the new normal, it will be easier for Americans to apply for international positions. Thus, it is essential to understand the difference between a resume and a CV. If you are looking for more job-search advice, review our candidate resources to soar above the competition!