Career Advice, Jobs

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

Curriculum vitae written on typewriter

CV or Resume? Before we’re prepared to answer that question, we first need to know what exactly the differences are between the two. In six questions, we’re going to break this down once and for all, so you finally know just what the heck the difference is.

1. Wait, is a CV the same thing as a resume?


2. What does CV stand for?

Curricula vitae, meaning “courses of life” in Latin.

3. How is it different from a resume?

A CV is supposed to cover your career in its entirety. It’s Latin namesake is “expansive” for a reason. Unlike a resume, a CV is about covering all aspects of your education, work, and experience without the restriction of length. You know how resumes should be tailored for a specific job? That’s not the case with a CV, which should be inclusive of all your history, regardless of particular relevance. Another important distinction of a CV is it’s goal, as explained by the Purdue Online Writing Lab, “A more subtle but equally important distinction is that whereas the goal of a resume is to construct a professional identity, the goal of a CV is quite specifically to construct a scholarly identity. Thus, your CV will need to reflect very specifically your abilities as a teacher, researcher, and publishing scholar within your discipline.”

[Related: 5 Ways to Make your CV Say More Than ‘This is My Degree’]

4. When should I Use a CV versus a Resume?

A CV is generally most appropriate for an application for a job that requires a specific specialty. CVs are often associated with academia and scholarship.

[Related: How to Write a Resume]

5. What else would be on a CV, but not necessarily a resume?

Honors, awards, recognitions, conferences attended, research opportunities, etc. All of the things you may cut on a resume in order to save space are happily at home on a CV.

6. Does everyone need to have a CV?

No, not everyone needs to have a CV ready at hand. They’re lengthy documents that should be meticulously composed and frequently updated. If you’re in a position where a CV is not required, it’s not a necessary item in your career toolbox. However, will having a CV on hand hurt? Absolutely not. You never know when it’s going to come in handy.
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