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by Rob Porter | October 25, 2022


Nowadays, any serious job search includes the use of online job search engines such as Indeed or CareerBuilder. While creating your profile, you might have noticed that you’re given the option to upload a resume or a Curriculum Vitae (CV). For some, this may be the first time they’ve ever heard of such a thing-so, what is a CV? How does it differ from a resume? Who should be using a CV? Today we’re going to give you the answers to these questions and more; so, without further ado, let’s get started.

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides an overview of a candidate’s experience and skills; however, the typical CV is often much longer than a resume and also includes very detailed information about a candidate’s academic background, awards and achievements, research experience and publications, and any relevant professional affiliations and memberships.

The length and depth of detail provided in a CV makes it suitable for use when a candidate is applying for jobs in academia, medical or scientific fields, or in high-level research positions. Additionally, a CV can be used when an individual is applying to a fellowship, or seeking a grant. A good rule of thumb is that a resume is “competency-based,” while a CV is “credential-based.”

Confusingly, there is a difference between a CV that is used in the United States, and a CV that is used in most other areas around the world. If a candidate is applying for an international job, they’ll most likely be required to submit a CV rather than a standard resume; however, in this context, the CV is structured more similarly to a standard resume, often includes a photograph of the candidate, and typically features personal information about a candidate such as their date of birth, marital status, nationality, and more.

Should I Use a Resume or a CV?

If you’re applying for a job as a university professor, a doctor, or in a high-level scientific research field, a CV is the way to go. If you’re looking for a little more flexibility in your job search, there is no harm in preparing both a resume and a CV. Try to look at it this way-your resume can be customized to meet the requirements of the job you’re applying for, and is therefore more versatile, while a CV is a static document, and is inflexible.

If you’re applying for an international job, a CV is all but required as in many areas around the world, a CV is synonymous with a resume. Even if you live in the U.S., you may be required to include the aforementioned photograph and personal information in your international CV, as countries outside of the U.S. aren’t required to adhere to the laws put in place by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

If you’re unsure of whether to use a resume or a CV for the job you’re applying for, you can ask the hiring manager what the company or facility’s preference is. Additionally, if you’re using a recruiter, they should be equipped to advise you whether or not you should use a CV.

The Bottom Line

To summarize-a CV is used for jobs in academia, scientific and medical fields, international jobs, and for applying for fellowships or grants. A standard resume is used for everything else, so in most cases that’s the route you should go on your job search. If you’re looking for some sage advice on preparing your resume, we’ve got a wealth of information and tips collected in our blog, so take a gander here.