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What is the difference between a resume and a CV? What do they typically include?

Curricula Vitae (CVs) versus Resumes

What this handout is about

This handout explains what a curriculum vitae (CV) is, how it differs from a resume (the word УresumeФ may also be spelled УrésumeФ or Уrésumé.Ф), and how you can decide which one to use.


Before you start


To decide whether to submit a CV or a resume, you will need to determine which of them most appropriately fits the criteria provided by the employer, grant agency, or scholarship or internship committee who will be reading your application. Often, the application instructions for a particular position will state whether a CV or resume is requested. If you are unsure, it is worth your time to contact the agency and ask which would be most appropriate for the position.


What is the difference between a resume and a CV? What do they typically include?


LetТs start with a quick overview of resumes, since they are more familiar to most American writers than CVs. A typical resume is a general and concise introduction of your experiences and skills as they relate to a particular career or position that you are aiming to acquire. As such, a resume may have to be altered for each position that you are applying for so as to emphasize those skills and experiences most relevant to the work. Resumes are usually no

more than one page in length. They are often accompanied by cover letters, which provide a permanent written record of the transmittal of the resume (what is being sent, to whom it is being sent, and who sent it).

A typical resume will include the following information:

Name and Contact Information: your residential address might be most appropriate,

especially if you do not want your current employer to know that you are looking for another job!

Education: a listing of your degrees or certifications and educational institutions or programs.

Work Experience: names of the companies or organizations that you have worked for, the location of each company, the dates worked, your job title, and duties performed.


In contrast, a CV is a fairly detailed overview of your lifeТs accomplishments, especially those most relevant to the realm of academia. As such, these documents have their greatest utility in the pursuit of a job in academia or research. Because academic researchers are often working on and completing many projects and teaching responsibilities simultaneously, it is wise to think of a CV as a living document that will need to be updated frequently. A typical CV for someone in the beginning stages of his or her graduate school career might only be two or three pages in length, while the number of pages of a more seasoned researcherТs CV may run into the double digits.

In both CVs and resumes, information within sections is usually organized chronologically.



A typical CV will include the following information:

Name and Contact Information: contact information for your current institution or place of employment may work best, unless you do not want your colleagues to know that you are job-hunting.

Areas of Interest: a listing of your varied academic interests.

Education: a list of your degrees earned or in progress, institutions, and years of

graduation. You may also include the titles of your dissertation or thesis here.

Grants, Honors and Awards: a list of grants received, honors bestowed upon you for your work, and awards you may have received for teaching or service.

Publications and Presentations: a list of your published articles and books, as well

presentations given at conferences. If there are many of both, you might consider having one section for publications and another for presentations.

Employment and Experience: this section may include separate lists of teaching

experiences, laboratory experiences, field experiences, volunteer work, leadership, or other relevant experiences.

Scholarly or Professional Memberships: a listing of the professional organizations of which you are a member. If you have held an office or position in a particular organization, you can either say so here or leave this information for the experience section.

References: a list of persons who write letters of recommendations for you, which includes their contact information.



Types of resumes

There are three different kinds of resumes: chronological, skills-based, and a combination of the two. Each type serves its own purpose as explained below.


The chronological resume lists past and present experiences in reverse chronological order. Present experience is usually listed first, using present tense verbs, then all other experience is listed in reverse chronological order using past tense verbs. This is by far the most common type of resume.


Skills-based resumes base resume sections around specific skills related to the job. For instance, if you are applying for a teaching job and you have relevant teaching experience, plus other work experience unrelated to teaching that would make you a good fit for the job, you might include a section on "Teaching Experience" and a section on "Other Work Experience." This method helps clearly highlight relevant experience using section titles in addition to job descriptions, and is a great way to pull out keywords.

Skills-based resumes can also allow you to combine related work and other experience through the skills-based headings. In the above example involving a resume for teaching, you might list your extracurricular tutoring experience in the "Teaching Experience" section instead of in the "Other Experience" section of a skills-based resume.

Skills-based resumes prioritize experience description order based on relevance to the job, rather than chronology. Use a skills-based resume if your previous job experience does not necessarily fit with the job you are applying for. The sections labeled with skills will help show your employer how your past experience is relevant to the job.


The combination resume is the type of resume we most commonly see in the Writing Center. Combination resumes might include some skills-based headings, but list experience in each section in reverse chronological order. Combination resumes allow you to show your audience your recent relevant experience, while also taking advantage of keywords, which is good for online resumes that might be found via search engines.



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