What is the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV)?
A resume is a one-to-two-page document that lists your experience and education in a concise form. Often your resume will only receive thirty to sixty seconds of attention, and so it must convey the most relevant information in an easily grasped format.
A CV usually contains three or more pages and, in addition to the items on a regular resume, can include separate sections for your teaching experience, research, publications, presentations, grants and fellowships, professional affiliations, associations and licenses, awards and any other information relevant to the opportunity for which you are applying for.
When do you use a CV rather than a resume?
A CV may be required when:
- applying to graduate or professional school;
- applying for research positions;
- providing information related to professional activities (e.g., applications for professional memberships and leadership positions, and presentations at professional conferences);
- creating proposals for grants or fellowships;
- applying for academic positions, including:
- elementary or secondary principals, superintendents, deans of schools,
- institutional research positions,
- teaching, research, and upper-level administrative positions in higher education.
Though the CV has traditionally been limited to those who have completed a Ph.D. (or are pursuing one), many more employers and organizations are asking for CV's from their applicants with only a Masters or even a Bachelors degree.
A CV should only be used when specifically requested. If you have any uncertainty about whether to submit a resume or a CV for a particular position, don't hesitate to call the organization and ask which they would prefer.
Cover letters - your CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter which focuses on those skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the opportunity at hand. The cover letter is your opportunity to draw out key abilities on which you want the reader to focus. Though you often can ignore the "one-page cover letter" rule, you still must be concise and focused in your letter.
Critiques and proofreading - always have your CV and cover letters critiqued by both an experienced career advisor and by someone with experience in your field of expertise. In addition, be sure to have all your application materials carefully proofread.
Possible Sections To Include In Your CV
- NOTE: These are suggested categories, and most CV's will not include every category included below. Just as with a resume, you should tailor your CV to the particular opportunity for which you are applying.
- You have a great deal of flexibility in the choice, naming and placement of your categories. While your heading and education will usually be listed first, other categories can be place in virtually any order, based on your strengths and the requirements of the position or opportunity.
- Heading: Name, address(es), phone number(s) and email address.
- Education: list academic degrees, beginning with the degree most recently earned or in progress. You may wish to include the title any thesis or theses you have written, using the format appropriate to your discipline (check with a professor in your field if you do not know the proper format).
- Certifications: list all relevant certifications and the year received.
- Honors and Awards: Receipt of competitive scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships; names of scholastic honors; teaching or research awards.
- Relevant Experience: Listing of positions (part-time, full-time, volunteer, temporary and permanent) related to the type of work sought. The section of your CV is written following the same principles of a strong resume -- list accomplishments as well as duties; use action verbs; wherever possible, quantify accomplishments. List in reverse chronological order.
- Other Experience: Groupings of other experiences (including volunteer work and/or internships) can enhance your CV. Your experience can also be broken into other categories such as: Teaching, Counseling, Administration, Volunteer, Community, Internship, etc. Entries within each section should be in reverse chronological order.
- Give bibliographic citations (using the format appropriate to your particular academic discipline) for articles, pamphlets, chapters in books, research reports, or any other publications that you have authored or co-authored.
- If you have more than a few publications, you would generally divide your publications section into sub-categories.
- In fine arts areas, this can include descriptions of recitals, performances and art exhibits.
- Presentations: Give titles of professional presentations (using the format appropriate to your particular academic discipline); name of conference or event; dates and location; if appropriate in your discipline, also include a brief description. Presentations should be listed in reverse chronological order.
- Areas of Expertise: Particularly appropriate when applying for teaching positions.
- Grants Received: Include name of grant; name of granting agency; date received; title or purpose of research project, etc.
- Professional Associations: Memberships in national, regional, state, and local professional organizations should be listed Also list significant appointments to positions or committees in these associations. Student memberships in professional associations are appropriate.
- Recent/Current Research: Description of research projects recently conducted or in progress. Include the type of research and a brief description of the purpose.
- Institutional Service: List institutional committees you have served on, including offices held, student groups you have supervised, or special academic projects you have assisted with.
- Courses Taught: List the names of courses you have taught, institution and dates where taught, and brief course descriptions.
- Community Involvement: Appropriate and relevant volunteer work, church work, community service organizations, etc.
- Educational Travel: Names of countries, dates, purpose (typically, only include if relevant to the position/grant for which you are applying).
- Qualifications or Skills: A summary of particular or relevant strengths or skills which you want to highlight. Typically, this is not included as a separate section, but addressed in other sections. Occasionally, however, it may be appropriate to list special computing, language or laboratory skills.
- References: Optional to end vita with statement "References Available upon Request." If you are responding to an advertisement that asks for references, include those requested on a separate addendum sheet. More information on references.
Sample CV's and CV templates
The best resource we know of is How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae, by Acy L. Jackson, Kathleen Geckeis, and C. Kathleen Geckesis, 2003, McGraw-Hill Companies, available for use at the BC Career Resource Library.
Public Health CV Template
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Adapted, enlarged article inspired by Colorado College Career Center publication.