Curriculum Vita

Curriculum Vita Additional Documents

Resume vs. Curriculum Vita

Your resume or CV is an important tool to market your experiences to prospective employers. It is a professional written document that communicates your education, work experiences/research experience, and skills related to the type of position you are seeking.

Do you need a Resume or a Curriculum Vita (CV)?

  • Typically, a resume will suffice for assistantships, field experiences, and most professional positions.
  • Positions in clinical medicine, academia, or highly scientific professions will usually require a CV.

What is the difference between a Resume and a CV?

A Resume is usually one to two pages in length and provides a summary of how the applicant can benefit the company or organization. Resumes focus on the last 10 years of work history. There are two commonly used types of resumes:

  • Functional: A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.
  • Chronological: A chronological resume lists your work history in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent job, first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held, when and how long you held them, and if there are any gaps between jobs. This type of resume works well when you have a strong, solid work history.
  • A Curriculum Vita is used in place of a resume if you are seeking a position in an academic, scientific, or medical field. The general format of a CV is patterned after reverse chronological resumes but with more detail and information. There is not a page limit with a CV, so accomplishments are continuously added as you gain experience.


  • Create a master resume or CV that you update at least on an annual basis. Include all your accomplishments, dates of significant projects and transitions, even supervisor names and your salary for various positions. There are some organizations that will require this level of specificity, and it is a good way for you to track your career milestones.
  • Customize your document for each position for which you apply. Base your customized version on keywords from the position description, using the same terminology to help your document make it through the screening software which scans for specific terminology or keywords.
  • List the most important and relevant information first on your resume or CV.

To Get Started

  1. Make a list of your experiences and accomplishments: education and training, jobs, internships, research, projects, volunteer and leadership activities, student and professional organizations, presentations and publications, awards and honors.
  2. Begin to craft your CV by organizing these experiences into sections (see below).

Converting a CV into a Resume

For situations when a resume would better suit your purposes, you will want to consider how the skills and accomplishments from your CV are transferable, and convert your CV into a resume. Here are some ideas:

  • If your CV is research based and you are applying for a non-academic job that doesn’t require as much research, try to think about the skills you use as a researcher: maybe you are detail oriented; have the ability to process and analyze data; you have writing skills to synthesize and make your report understandable to lay audiences, etc.
  • Completing a dissertation indicates your capacity to independently manage a complicated, long-term project.
  • Your dissertation can also be a testament to your talents in writing, grant-getting, and managing complex relationships
  • You may have presented at international meetings or organized panels, conferences, or speaker series. You may have been active in graduate-student government or on other campus committees. Such experiences can indicate leadership potential, public-speaking skills, initiative, and organizational ability.
  • Use your teaching experience to your advantage. Many people outside academe do not realize the intense amount of work that goes into college teaching. Be sure that your resume makes clear that you have gained excellent public-speaking and organizational skills through your teaching. Use numbers to support your claims. For example:
    • Taught British and American literature twice a week to 2 classes of 25 students each.
    • Developed and delivered presentations on a variety of topics for audiences ranging from 25 to 150 people.
    • Built Web site that contained links related to course material and student needs
  • If you have a specific nonacademic career in mind, try to pick up a bit of related experience to put on your resume. If you are interested in teaching at the high-school level, volunteer at a local museum to work with students from that age group. If you would like to put your science skills to work in intellectual-property law, seek out an internship with your university’s technology-transfer office. Those types of experiences can make your desire to change fields credible to employers.
  • Read other people’s resumes when you can. Find out how they articulate their skills and accomplishments.
  • Conduct informational interviews to get a sense of what hiring managers in a particular career are looking for.
  • Finally, look carefully at job postings in the nonacademic fields that interest you. How do employers phrase both the responsibilities of a given job, and the qualifications they are looking for in candidates? Be mindful of that language as you craft your job-search materials.

Adapted from Mail Call / Chronicle /
By Jennifer S. Furlong and Julie Miller Vick

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