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Resume vs CV: What do you need?

If you will be applying for a position in the U.S, know that a résumé and CV are distinct documents, with unique formats and content. It’s important to know the difference so that you do not make the mistake of submitting a résumé when a CV is expected, or vice versa. Here’s a quick comparison-contrast of the two documents.

What is a résumé? 

A polished, competitive résumé will help you secure an interview. You must be able to make a good first impression at-a-glance!

Typically you will submit a résumé when applying for a job in business, industry, government or the non-profit sector. Use it for speaking engagements or with an outside group that needs a summary of your work & accomplishments, not a full CV.

  • A résumé is a summary of your work, academic and volunteer experiences.
  • Normally 1-2 pages long.
  • Flexible format options; evolves with experience. Focus on knowledge, skills, abilities and duties performed.
  • Customized for each position sought.
  • As your career progresses, include only last 10 years of work experience

What is a curriculum vitae, vita or CV? 

A professional CV is essential to document a progressive career. It will be used for academic job applications, promotion and tenure, networking, consulting, grant applications and award nominations. In fact, you should submit a CV for all professional positions in higher education (e.g., staff, postdocs, students) as well as for fellowships, assistantships, grant applications and award nominations.

CV is a comprehensive record of your “life’s work:”

  • There is no page limit
  • Less flexible format; standard sections.
  • Focus on accomplishments in education, work, scholarship and external funding.
  • New sections added as career progresses
  • Include your entire academic career included (nothing dropped).