What’s the Difference Between a Curriculum Vitae and a Resume?



You’re in the midst of a job search.   You have a résumé, but you have heard this term Curriculum Vitae (CV) and you wonder if you need a CV instead of or in combination with your résumé.  Information on these two documents, as detailed by the Co-operative Education Program and Career Services Department of the University of Victoria, should help you understand the difference between them  and help you decide what you need for the type of work you are seeking.

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a more comprehensive document that details ALL  of your past education, experiences, and expertise, including public presentations, academic writing and professional development.  CVs are focused on academic work with an emphasis on research and teaching.   A curriculum vitae should be used when you want to highlight your background prior to a presentation, when you are applying for work and/or contracts in the academic field,  in advanced research, or in fine arts.

A Résumé summarizes your education, experiences and skills. It’s designed to introduce you to an employer and highlight your qualifications for a specific job or type of work.  A résumé should be used when applying for work, attending job/career fairs, applying for graduate programs, internships, scholarships and networking with potential employers.

Both are used to encourage an employer to consider you as an employee, a candidate for further study or the right fit for a contract, however, the key differences are:

  • CVs are focused on academic work with an emphasis on research and teaching while résumés are focused on non-academic work with an emphasis on related competencies (skills, knowledge and attributes).
  • CVs intend to deliver comprehensive information while résumés aim to summarize key information.
  • CVs are often long – containing anywhere from 5 to 20 pages.  Résumés are generally 1 to 2 pages at the most.

For tips on how to write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) see the following websites:

For tips on how to write a Resume see the following websites:

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