In This Issue

Grad Student Corner

Key differences between curriculum vitaes and resumes.

By Sarah DeLozier, MA

If you’re close to graduating, you’re probably searching for future job openings right now, just like I am. Although many of us are likely seeking academic positions (e.g., assistant professor), others may be looking for non-academic positions, such as in industry or government, or perhaps even searching for both types of positions at once. As it turns out, the process of applying for jobs within these two types of careers (academic vs. non-academic) is quite different. Rather than highlighting all the similarities and differences between the two, I’d like to focus on one particular area: demonstrating achievements and abilities via curriculum vitaes (CVs) and resumes.

What are the major differences between CVs and resumes? Primarily, these differences are

  • length
  • purpose
  • layout

First, CVs are generally intended for scholarly audiences or academic positions, whereas resumes are generally aimed at a more general audience and are required for most non-academic job applications. CVs are generally all-inclusive, of varying lengths (think multiple pages without a required page limit), and track one’s overall career of academic achievements and related experiences (for example, the CV of renowned Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, currently has 43 pages. CVs often include headers such as “Publications and Presentations,” “Research Interests,” “Honors and Awards,” etc. Although some reorganizing of one’s CV may be necessary depending on the job you’re applying for (e.g., teaching institutions vs. research institutions), it will remain relatively static and won’t need much editing.

In contrast, resumes are much shorter - typically one page, or two pages at most. Rather than demonstrating your entire record of achievements, resumes are designed to concisely highlight key skills and experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for (e.g., data analyst, program development manager, etc.). Thus, resumes will change quite a bit if you’re applying for a variety of non-academic positions, even if each utilizes valuable skills you learned during graduate school.

For example, if applying for a job utilizing your statistical or programming experience, your resume would highlight key skills and experiences relevant not only to that particular job title, but also tailored towards the job requirements outlined in the individual job postings. In contrast, if applying for a job utilizing management and organizational skills, you’d want to emphasize those key skills and experiences instead. Regardless, when writing a resume, there simply will not be enough room to list all the content from your CV.

As most of us probably already have CVs in some form (it’s a simple way of keeping track of your accomplishments over the years, and is often a necessary component of applying to various scholarships or awards), I’ve compiled a list (and a few brief descriptions) below, of some of the most helpful resources I’ve found on the topic of transforming one’s CV into a resume, as well as how to make one’s CV more streamlined. Regardless of which type of career you’re seeking, I wish you each the best of luck on your job-hunting journeys.

Resume/CV header sections, “do’s and don’ts,” and suggestions for organization        

Suggestions for non-academic alternative careers – and where to look