Wondering whether you should use a curriculum vitae or resume? The good news is that employers typically specify whether you should send a CV or a resume. Always start by carefully reading the criteria in the job posting. Once you know what is required, it’s still important to learn the difference between a CV and resume. Understanding the differences between both of these documents will help you create the one you need like a pro.
What Is a Resume?
A typical resume will clearly present your experiences and skills as they relate to a particular position or career path. Resumes are usually no longer than a page or two in length and should be altered to emphasize the skills and experiences that are most relevant for each position you apply to. Usually, you’ll want to submit a cover letter with your resume.
How to Write a Resume
Name and Contact Information: Typically, this includes your name, address, phone number, and email address. Don’t use your current work email address, but make sure that the email address you use looks professional (e.g., your name).
Work Experience: List companies you have worked for, followed by the location, your job title, dates, and duties performed. Use specific resume words that have been proven to work, and tailor your descriptions to the job you are applying for. This means you should list only your experience that is relevant to the job. However, there are some skills and traits employers will look for no matter the job: Passion for your work, leadership skills, and a responsible work ethic are always in demand.
Education: List coursework, degrees, and programs completed, along with the educational institution and the city where it is located.
Certifications and relevant skills: Add to your skillset by listing any certifications you have earned that are relevant to your industry. You can also list special skills, such as programming languages, special software like InDesign, Photoshop, or QuickBooks, or communication skills like grant writing or press release writing. Keep in mind that Microsoft Office isn’t considered a special skill any longer — most employers will assume you have basic Office skills.
You can learn how to create an effective resume or improve the one you already have in our Resume Writing Workshop.
What Is a CV?
A CV is a more detailed view of your life’s accomplishments. They’re typically used in academic, medical, scientific, and research fields. It’s an ongoing document that needs to be updated frequently. A typical CV for a scholar in the beginning stages of their graduate school career will usually be between two to three pages. A more seasoned researcher’s CV, however, may be well over ten pages! In the curriculum vitae format, accomplishments are organized in sections and are usually in chronological order.
How to Write a CV
Name and Contact Information: Like resumes, this includes your name, address, phone number, and email address.
Areas of Interest: Include a listing of your academic, career, and research interests.
Education: List degrees earned, degrees in progress, institutions, and years of completion. Titles of your dissertation and/or thesis should also be mentioned.
Grants, Honors, and Awards: Include a list of grants received, honors achieved in school, as well as any additional awards you may have earned.
Publications and Presentations: List published articles, books, edited volumes, book reviews, web-based publications, and conference proceedings.
Conference Activity/Participation: Include both panels you’ve organized and papers you’ve presented. Also include titles of your conference papers, names of conferences, and dates.
*Note, if you’ve had a paper or panel officially accepted for a future conference, list those too!
Employment and Experience: List teaching experiences, apprenticeships, teaching assistant positions, laboratory experiences, volunteer work, leadership roles, and any other experiences that are relevant to the career you are pursuing.
Languages: List any additional language you are proficient in, and clearly note the level of speaking, reading, and/or writing. You can do this by using terms such as fluent, excellent, conversational, or reading comprehension.
Scholarly or Professional Memberships: List any professional and/or scholarly organizations you belong to.
References: List relevant professional and academic references and include full names and titles of each person. Also include addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
What Is Correct — Resume or Curriculum Vitae?
As a general rule, resumes are used in the U.S. for nearly every field. However, curriculum vitae are typically used if you’re applying for medical or scientific positions, like engineering or research, as well as in academia. If your potential employer doesn’t specify which document to send, simply consider the job you’re applying for.
If you are currently on the search for a new job, taking a course like Twelve Steps to a Successful Job Search can help give you the foundation you need to make decisions like these.