The Difference between a Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

"Curriculum Vitae" (CV) is a Latin term meaning "Course of Life." A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides details about one’s professional experience and education. However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one will distribute the CV within the U.S. or internationally (external to the U.S.).

U.S. CVs

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) targeting positions in the U.S. is typically longer than a resume and focuses on credentials related to your field. It is an ideal opportunity to optimally convey your qualifications when targeting science-based (e.g., medical, dental, research) or academic (e.g., lecturer, tenure-track professorships) positions. It is most appropriate if you possess relevant credentials, such as...

  • an advanced degree (typically doctoral level)
  • research accomplishments or scholastic activities
  • publications, dissertations, or manuscripts under review
  • fellowships, internships, or residencies

If one is changing careers or does not possess the above-listed credentials, a resume is likely more appropriate. A resume will utilize a focused summary of qualifications that quickly conveys your skills and experience as they relate to your current career objectives. For additional details about resumes, see The Most Effective Resume Formats

International CVs

Internationally, a Curriculum Vitae is the equivalent of a resume developed for distribution in the U.S. However, these documents often contain personal information that is excluded from resumes. This personal information may include nationality, date of birth, marital status, or other factors that can vary from country to country.

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