Resume vs Curriculum Vitae

Resume vs Curriculum Vitae: Understanding the Difference

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When it comes to job applications, one of the most important documents to submit is a comprehensive summary of one’s education, work experience, skills, and accomplishments. This document is known by two terms: resume and curriculum vitae (CV). Although the two are similar in terms of content, they have different formats and purposes.

This article will discuss the key differences between resume and curriculum vitae.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a one- to two-page document that highlights a person’s work experience, education, skills, and achievements. It is typically used for job applications in industries that prioritize practical skills and experience, such as business, marketing, and customer service. A good resume should be easy to read, concise, and tailored to the job description.

Resume Format

A resume typically follows a chronological or functional format. A chronological resume lists one’s work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent job. This format is ideal for applicants with a consistent work history and career progression. On the other hand, a functional resume focuses on one’s skills and accomplishments rather than work history. This format is suitable for those who are changing careers or have gaps in their employment history.

Resume Content

A good resume should include the following sections:

Contact InformationName, address, phone number, and email address
Professional Summary/ObjectiveBrief statement summarizing career goals and qualifications
Work ExperienceList of work history, job title, company name, employment dates, key responsibilities, and accomplishments
EducationList of educational background, degree(s) earned, institution name, and graduation date
SkillsList of relevant skills and abilities such as computer skills, language proficiency, and technical skills

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a CV, is a comprehensive document that provides an in-depth overview of one’s academic and professional background. It is typically used for academic or research positions, grants, and fellowships. A good CV should be detailed, thorough, and tailored to the specific position.

CV Format

Unlike a resume, a CV has no specific format. However, it should include the following sections:

Contact InformationName, address, phone number, email address
Personal StatementBrief statement of career goals and qualifications
EducationAcademic qualifications, degree(s) earned, institution name, graduation date, academic honors/awards/publications
Professional ExperienceWork history, job title, company name, employment dates, key responsibilities and accomplishments
Research ExperienceResearch experience, grants, fellowships, publications
SkillsRelevant skills and abilities such as computer skills, language proficiency, technical skills

Resume vs Curriculum Vitae: Key Differences

ResumeCurriculum Vitae
Typically 1-2 pages in lengthCan be several pages long
Emphasizes work experience and skillsEmphasizes academic and research experience
Focuses on specific achievements and accomplishmentsFocuses on publications, research projects, and academic achievements
May be tailored to a specific job or industryTailored to a specific academic field or institution
Often used for non-academic job applicationsOften used for academic and research positions
May include a summary or objective statementTypically does not include a summary or objective statement
May include a list of professional referencesMay include a list of academic references
May include a section for technical skillsMay include a section for teaching experience
Uses concise bullet points and action verbsUses detailed descriptions and academic language
Generally simpler and easier to readGenerally more detailed and complex

Which One to Choose?

The choice between a resume and a CV depends on the nature of the job or position being applied for. If you are applying for a job in a practical field such as business or customer service, a resume is likely the best choice. However, if you are applying for an academic or research position, a CV is the more appropriate option.

It is also important to consider the expectations of the employer or institution. Some employers may prefer a specific format or length for the document. Therefore, it is important to research the employer or institution and follow their guidelines.

Tips for Creating an Effective Resume or CV

Regardless of the type of document, there are certain tips that can help make it more effective:

  1. Tailor the document to the job or position: Use keywords and phrases from the job description to show that you have the necessary skills and experience.
  2. Highlight your accomplishments: Use specific examples to demonstrate your accomplishments and how they relate to the job or position.
  3. Use strong action verbs: Use active voice and strong action verbs to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments.
  4. Keep it concise: Use bullet points and short sentences to make the document easy to read and concise.
  5. Proofread and edit: Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure the document is well-organized and easy to read.


In summary, a resume and a curriculum vitae are two different documents that serve different purposes. A resume is typically used for job applications in practical fields, while a CV is used for academic or research positions. Understanding the differences between the two documents and tailoring them to the specific job or position can increase the chances of success in the job search process.

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