|  March 24, 2014

What’s the difference between a resume and a CV?

If you’re wondering the difference between a resume and a CV you’re not alone. This is a question I have definitely googled before so if that’s how you’ve landed on the site we have that in common.

When you apply for most jobs these days (within the US) the company is likely asking you to submit a resume. But sometimes you might see a company requesting a CV… or giving you the option to “submit your CV or resume” like the below.

CV or resume

So what’s the difference between a resume and CV anyway? To start out – let’s get the official definitions:

  • CV is an abbreviation for curriculum vitae which is defined as an outline of a person’s educational and professional history, usually prepared for job applications (via dictionary.com).
  • A resume is defined as “a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.”

Here are 3 key differences between resumes and CVs:

  • Length – The biggest difference is probably the length. Resumes are true summaries and unless you have many years of experience, should generally be one page long (here’s why). When people use the term CV, they may be referring to a longer explanation of your experience (especially in the case of for academic, education, scientific or research positions). You have room to elaborate a bit more and give “the story of your life” in a way.
  • ContentAbout.com says CVs should include “a summary of your educational and academic backgrounds as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other details.” A resume is going to be a more straightforward education/experience/skills mix.
  • When they’re used – CVs are not very common in the US for the majority of professions but the academic world is an exception. For most other jobs, resumes are the preferred type of document for recruiters to review.

Bottom line – within the US, outside of academia, you should most likely submit a resume. They’re shorter, intentionally focused on summarizing your relevant experience for a job, and are what recruiters are used to dealing with.

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