CV vs Resume: What’s the Difference
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>>Hi. My name is Amanda Dumsch.
And I’m a Career Counselor in the Office
of Intramural Training and Education
at the National Institutes of Health.
Today, we are going to be talking about the differences
between a resume and a CV. These words are often
used interchangeably. So, it can be confusing
to know when and how to use each document.
In this video, we are going to be going over these differences
of these two important job search documents.
The confusion over resumes and CVs is often compounded
by the fact that there is not a standard resume or CV template.
Your documents will and should look different
than your lab mates. While there aren’t
formal rules to follow, there are certain
expectations for each document. CVs are often the norm in a
scientific research environment. So, most scientists are familiar
with the basics for creating a CV.
Therefore, creating a resume can be a bit more challenging.
A lot of scientist’s resumes end up looking a lot like a CV.
And when placed in an applicant pool with resumes,
this CV will stand out as odd and out of touch.
It’s important to understand the key differences
between these documents and take the time to convert your CV
to a resume when the position calls for it.
So, when do you use a resume versus a CV?
If you’re unsure, ask the hiring manager or pull your network
and do informational interviews with people who are working
at that company or in that industry.
Generally though you use a CV when applying to academic,
government, or research positions.
A CV is often the preferred document for grants
or fellowship applications as well.
Use a resume for everything else especially if you are applying
to industry positions. As noted in this chart,
some other key differences are the length and formatting
between the two documents. As opposed to CVs, resumes are
often shorter, more concise, and highly tailored
to the job at hand. Resumes for post docs range
from one to three pages. But try to keep yours
on two pages. The general rule of thumb
is one page for every eight to ten years of experience.
CVs are often long because you include your full
publication record. Generally, you omit this
section from your resume. Another option would be to note
a group of selected publications but choose the most recent
and/or the most relevant. The purpose of a
resume is to use it as a targeted marketing tool
whereas a CV is often seen as an ongoing academic
and work history. One of the key differences
between a CV and a resume is the
content of what you include. On a resume, it has to be
very succinct and relevant to the reader or the
position at hand. You only have space
for a few key sections such as a qualification
summary, education, experience, and skills where as on a CV
you may include a wide range of professional accomplishments
and activities in sections like awards, grants,
conferences, poster presentations, and
your full publication list. For both documents, it is
important to be genuine. But this is not the
space to be modest. These documents are often
the only introduction you get to present to a potential
employer. So, take the time to
review them often. Other key differences
between a CV and a resume are the
page length and design. As noted before, for a CV, it’s
virtually unlimited length, however, it should
remain focused still. For a resume, try to keep
it at one to three pages. The design is also
a key difference between a CV and a resume.
Resumes are highly formatted. You want to maximize
all of the white space on that document
whereas with a CV, there is very little formatting,
but it still must be clean and easy to read.
You don’t often see bullet points on a CV.
Your lab and your publications often speak
for themselves on a CV. This is not true for a resume.
So, you must include bullet points on your resume
under your experience section. Don’t assume that your
lab or job title is enough to convince the reader that you
are qualified for the position. On a resume, you should be using
strong, active verbs and numbers to highlight your
accomplishments in a quantitative way.
As an example, don’t just say you taught a lab section.
Employers want to know specifics like the fact
that you designed lesson plans and taught introductory biology
to 54 undergraduate students. Remember these key factors
when you’re creating your bullet points for your resume.
There are some universals for both documents.
For both a resume and a CV, you should omit the following.
Personal pronouns. When you’re creating your bullet
points, never say I or my team or any other personal pronoun.
It can feel awkward, but you sort
of speak in the third person. Additionally, you don’t need
to label or your documents. I often see people label their
document, Curriculum Vitae or Resume, at the top.
That’s unnecessary to include. Lastly, you don’t
include references on either your resume or CV.
Generally, this is a separate document entirely.
It’s not even necessary to say references are
available upon request. It’s assumed you have
a list of references to provide when the time comes.
If you have any specific questions about the differences
between a resume and a CV, don’t hesitate to be in touch.
You can email me at [email protected]

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