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What's The Difference Between A Curriculum Vitae & Resume

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

If you’re not familiar with some of the major differences between a curriculum vitae and a resume, join us in our quest of finding the answers to all the questions that will help any job seeker apply for a job properly, and increase their chances of landing a job. One of the smartest things career seekers can do, is hire a top-quality producing professional resume writing company in Phoenix Arizona.

We’ll explain just how different a Curriculum Vitae and a resume are, when to use which, and what your potential employers expect: a CV or a resume, so read on.

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Biggest Differences Between A Curriculum Vitae (CV) & A Resume

There are three main differences between a CV and a resume: length, format, and purpose.

  • Length: While a curriculum vita usually expands to 4 or more pages, resumes tend to be much shorter in length, typically one to two pages maximum.

  • Format: Although the information found in CV's and resumes matches to some extent, a CV is formatted in such a manner so that it includes a comprehensive list of the applicant’s education history, a list of publications, volunteer work, memberships, references, awards, honors, etc. Resumes, on the other hand, focus on providing detailed information about the applicant’s work history and relevant contributions they’ve made in that regard.

  • Purpose: Curriculum vitae's have a general purpose of highlighting one’s academic accomplishments, while resumes are more focused on a candidate’s skills. Aside from this, CV's are used to apply for grants, fellowships, research, healthcare, academic positions, etc., while resumes are used for obtaining a job in all other industries and companies.

Who Should Have A Curriculum Vitae?

As we previously covered in the Purpose section of Curriculum vitae, anyone looking to apply for academic, international, research, education positions or grants and fellowships should have a Curriculum Vitae. Aside from this, where you live can also indicate the type of documentation you should send to your potential employer. Namely, a resume is accepted as the primary application document in the United States and Canada. However, if you live in the UK, New Zealand, or Ireland, a Curriculum Vitae is everything you need to apply for a job - whether this is an academic or a non-academic job position.

Do Employers Expect A Resume Or Curriculum Vitae?

When it comes to your potential employer’s expectations as to what application document you should send, in most cases the employer will clearly specify whether they want a Curriculum Vitae or a resume. In case they don’t make any requirements to what type of documentation you should apply with, you can choose the application format based on your place of residency, following the rules from the paragraph above (a Curriculum Vitae for mainland Europe, and a resume for the USA and Canada).

Should You Use the Same CV/Resume When Applying for Different Job Positions?

Now, there’s another important thing to consider when applying for a job: should you alternate your job application in any way when applying for different job positions? Namely, resumes are typically tailored according to the job position you’re looking to get. This means that each new job position will require of you to modify your resume according to different job requirements. Your work history and different skills and accomplishments will not be the same for all job roles, so you’ll need to make the adjustments accordingly. As far as Curriculum Vitaes go, they are considered static and in not much need of moderation of any type. In case your work experience expands, you can always add the newest job experience at the top of your work history.

Should You Include A Cover Letter with Your CV and Resume?

Just when you thought we’ve covered some of the most important information in regard to Curriculum Vitaes and resumes, we dare add a cover letter. So, should you consider sending a cover letter along with your CV or resume? Yes, you should unless otherwise stated. A resume followed by a well-written cover letter can help you add specific details to your general qualifications, and increase your overall chances of getting the desired job position. The same goes for CVs. An engaging cover letter can help your potential employer decide whether to take a look at your CV or not, so make sure your cover letter is well-written, free of mistakes, and a creative and straightforward description of why you should be selected for a specific job position.

To sum up, the biggest differences between a curriculum vita and a resume can be seen when comparing these two application documents side by side. CVs are usually long, and resumes are more concise and shorter; CVs heavily stress expertise, while resumes focus on skills and contribution; CVs are defined as comprehensive, and resumes as concise and to-the-point.

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