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What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

Vicki from Antonelli College asked: 

What is the difference in a curriculum vitae (CV) and a regular resume? Also, can skills and qualifications be combined into one informative section at the top of the resume or CV?

HI Vicki –

Great question!  There are significant differences between CVs and resumes.

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the resume format used by academic professionals to summarize their qualifications for employment in higher education as a professor, lecturer or other academic professional. It is comprehensive and therefore usually quite long and detailed. It is an informational document.  Some professors’ CVs can be up to 50 pages long.  Newly minted PhDs will typically have CVs that range in length from 3-10 pages.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a marketing  document used my non-academic professionals to present their qualifications for non-academic employment. Your resume should be focused on delivering a specific and relevant message about you to your target audience. It should help the reader understand you and your qualifications in relation to the types of opportunities you are seeking.  Most entry-level professionals should limit their resumes to one page.  Experienced professionals will sometimes have resumes that exceed one page.

The goal of a CV is to offer a comprehensive picture of the candidate. The goal of the resume is to offer a targeted picture of the candidate.

The following chart summarizes the differences.

Capture

If you are seeking academic employment, use a CV. If you are seeking non-academic employment use a resume.  PLEASE NOTE – The terminology is different in other countries. In some countries the words are interchangeable.  In the US, they are not.

Can skills and qualifications be combined into one informative section at the top of the resume or CV?

It is very common to see summaries of qualifications and or skills at the very beginning of a resume.  It is not as common on CVs, which typically begin with an Education Section.  The samples in our Resume Gallery present a variety of options for listing skills and qualifications at the top of your resume.  Following are a couple more examples:

Qual Summary

Summary 3

Skills 1

Skills 2

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