The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae

Updated May 09, 2022 | Link to full article on The Balance Careers

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? When should you use a resume, and when is it better to use a curriculum vitae?

The primary differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are length, what is included, and what each is used for. While both are used in job applications, a resume and a CV are not always interchangeable.

CV vs. Resume: What’s the Difference?

Most resumes in the United States are competency-based: they are personal marketing documents intended to showcase the candidate’s skills, notable achievements, and work experience to the greatest advantage.1

U.S. curriculum vitae, submitted for jobs in academia, scientific research, and medical fields, are credential-based, providing a comprehensive (and often lengthy) listing of one’s education, certifications, research experience, and professional affiliations and memberships.2

What Is a Curriculum Vitae?

curriculum vitae (CV) provides a summary of your experience and skills. Typically, CVs for entry-level candidates are longer than resumes—at least two or three pages. CVs for mid-level candidates who have amassed numerous publications tend to run much longer.

Note: CVs include extensive information on your academic background, including teaching experience, degrees, research, awards, publications, presentations, and other achievements.

CVs are lengthier than resumes and include more information, particularly details related to one’s academic and research background.2

curriculum vitae summary is a one-to-two-page, condensed version of a full curriculum vitae. A CV summary is a way to quickly and concisely convey one’s skills and qualifications. Sometimes large organizations will initially ask for a one-page CV summary when they expect a large pool of applicants.

U.S. vs. International CVs

While CVs in the U.S. are used primarily when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions or when applying for fellowships or grants, candidates for international jobs may be required to submit “CVs” for almost any type of job they apply for.

International CVs

In Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia, employers may expect to receive a “curriculum vitae” (often with an attached photograph) rather than a resume. However, international “CVs” are structured and formatted more like a resume than they are an academic U.S. curriculum vitae.3

The Difference Between U.S. and International CVs

The primary difference between a U.S. resume and an international CV is that employers in other countries, unfettered by U.S. employment discrimination laws, require more personal information than one would provide on a resume in the United States.4

These details vary by country, but can include one’s date of birth, nationality, marital status, and number of children. Here’s how to structure your international curriculum vitae.

Article Sources

  1. CareerOneStop. “Why You Need a Great Resume.”
  2. Pomona College. “How to Write a Curriculum Vitae.”
  3. VisualCV. “What to Include in a CV – an International Guide.”
  4. TIC. “Tips for Writing an International CV.”
By Alison Doyle
Alison Doyle