Within the United States, most employers will ask for a resume. However, when applying for a U.S. postdoc or faculty position in academia or a position outside the U.S. you may be asked for a CV, or curriculum vitae. Below briefly explains the difference between these documents and how you may convert one to the other. Review our CV to Resume Conversion Guide for more information.

  • Content: A CV describes all of your relevant experiences to an academic position, including teaching, research, and mentoring. This document is unlikely to change substantially among applications. In contrast, a resume highlights experiences relevant to a particular job and is often modified when applying to different positions.
  • Emphasis: A CV presents a thorough description of all your academic work, including research and teaching. A resume prioritizes only relevant experiences and highlights transferable and technical skills. Resumes are results-oriented, providing quantitative, measurable details when possible.
  • Length: A CV is a comprehensive picture of your academic history and may vary in length; it does not have a page limit. In contrast, a resume is concise and strategic: usually 1 page for Undergraduates, 1-2 pages for Master’s students, 2-3 pages maximum for PhDs and postdocs. Some employers will accept only a 1-page resume, so be sure to check.
  • Language: Usually a CV uses titles and nouns to describe your tasks, responsibilities, and the functions you performed, while a resume uses action verbs to highlight skills, experiences, and achievements.
  • Extracurricular or outside activities: Often a CV will not contain activities unless they are directly relevant to your academic research and teaching. A resume will strategically highlight activities if they demonstrate key transferable skills valued by the employer.

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