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August 15th, 2010

Difference between a Résumé and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

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Résumé vs. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
(Photo Source: woodleywonderworks)

In the United States, résumé usually refers to a summary document of one’s professional and academic experiences and skills relevant to the type of employment an applicant is seeking.  This employment can be in either the private or public sector but is usually for non-academic positions.  For entry-level positions, the résumé in most cases should be no longer than one page.  A résumé is tailored to each specific position being applied to, leaving out non-relevant experiences and limiting the scope of the document to relevant professional and academic work completed in the past ten years.

In the United States, curriculum vitae (CV) may refer to a document that lists not only all professional and academic experiences but also all published articles, periodicals, reviews, journals, presentations, publications, honors, awards, affiliations, patents, and research experience going back further than the past ten years.  This document is mainly used when applying for accredited, academic, research, scientific and other educational and licensed authoritative positions as well as when applying for grants, assistantships, and fellowships.  The length of this document is usually much longer (three pages or more) as it is a much more all-inclusive document of your academic and research achievements as well as your experience and skills.

In other parts of the world, résumé and curriculum vitae (CV) are used interchangeably.  In other countries when asking for a curriculum vitae (CV), an employer may want you to include your marital status, gender, ethnicity, nationality, date of birth, sexual orientation, religious background, and other information that is considered private, inappropriate to ask for, and against the law in the United States due to anti-discrimination statutes.

Even in the United States, the terms résumé and curriculum vitae (CV) are starting to become more synonymous than in the past, so it is good to check with the employer or institution you are applying to what the specific requirements are for the document in question.  For example, many law schools will not ask for a résumé and some may even tell you not to send one; however, unless specifically asked not to send a résumé, sending a law school résumé is a good idea.  In general, law school résumés should be no longer than one page in length and should mirror the entry-level position résumé format while including as much experience that can be directly related to law school as possible.  Other graduate and post-graduate programs may require the longer, more in-depth curriculum vitae (CV) structure.  The point is different types of educational institutions and organizations will have different parameters regarding what credentials need to be on your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV), so be sure to verify what type of content will be expected with the specific program for which you are applying whether either term is used.  With some research, you may find that even though their website calls for a curriculum vitae (CV), they may only really want a one-page résumé or vice versa.