CV vs Resume: 2 main differences

Table of Contents

If you are a recent graduate trying to enter the workforce, you may be confused about the differences between a (Curriculum Vitae) CV vs Resume. This is especially true if you obtained a higher post secondary education such as a Master’s or a Ph.D. degree. If you’ve been in graduate school then you’ve been trained your whole life to write a CV.

If you have been in academia your whole life, you would have never been exposed to what an industry tailored resume entails. Spoiler alert: a CV is VERY different from a resume. Below are 2 key differences between a CV vs Resume.

2 Differences between a CV vs Resume

CV vs Resume: Differences in content

A CV is tailored for academia. It is generally used when you are applying for a research, educational, or scientific positions at an academic institution or affiliated with an academic institution. Curriculum Vitae (CV) is latin for “course of one’s life”. Basically, it should include all your accomplishments EVER.

A CV should include your education: degrees, certificates, and any courses you took. It should list any courses you’ve taught, any presentations you’ve done at conferences or guest lectures, and any awards or scholarships you’ve received. It should contain all your peer reviewed publications or any book chapters you have written. All your accomplishments ever.

Since a CV includes all your accomplishments, it is a static document. It does not need to be customized to the specific job you are applying to. The only thing you are doing with your CV is adding to it after every significant achievement.

A resume on the other hand is tailored for industry. It is used when you are applying for any job in business – basically any job that is not in academia. Resume is French for “to sum up”, meaning a resume should be a summary!

A resume should ONLY list the things that are relevant. Since it only contains things that are relevant to the job posting, a resume should be tailored for each specific job you are applying to.

A resume should highlight your qualifications and skills for the job. These skills can be technical skills or soft and transferrable skills. If your only qualification is your education, then you need to get creative in demonstrating your skills.

Related: How to write a resume with NO experience

Before you write anything in your resume, think about how it demonstrates your qualifications and skills necessary for the job. If it doesn’t, remove it. Remember, the point is to summarize. So don’t you dare list all of your peer reviewed publications in your resume!

CV vs Resume

I know it’s really hard to not include every single accomplishment you’ve had in your resume because you worked so hard for them. But not everything is relevant for the job – like your peer reviewed publications.

If you absolutely MUST include your peer reviewed publications because you can’t resist, then you can easily summarize it by saying something like “8 publications in peer reviewed journals” instead of listing every single publication.

Industry is very results oriented. Every bullet point in your resume should start with a transferrable skill, an action, and a result. If your points cannot be structured in this way, like your publications summary above, then it provides no value and should be removed or changed.

Related: How to describe work experience on a resume

If you include information in your resume that is not relevant for the job, the hiring manager will skim it and skip over it. In doing so, they will probably miss the key points that actually make you desirable for the job. DO NOT make the hiring manager work to find it!

HR and hiring managers already have to sift through hundreds of resumes to find a qualified candidate to interview. Make it easy for them to see why you are a desirable candidate by only giving them relevant information in a summary!

CV vs Resume: Differences in length

Because a CV contains anything significant you have ever done to make yourself attractive to academia, it can be variable in length and even more than 10 pages! There is not really a limit to a CV to list all of your accomplishments

On the other hand, since a resume is a summary, it should be NO MORE than 2 pages MAX! One page is even better. A hiring manager will probably not even get to the second page.

HR and hiring managers look at dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes for a single job posting. This is why the most valuable real estate on your resume is the first half of the first page of your resume. You have less than 10 seconds to capture their attention!

Related: How to write a resume with 6 tips

Leave a Comment