What is the Difference Between CV and Resume? What is Academic CV?

Curriculum Vitae or CV is Latin for "course of life." It acts like a resume (which is French for 'summary'), except it is more commonly used among professionals in academic, medical, and research settings. Both CVs and resumes serve similar purposes, namely to:

  • Provide specific and relevant information to the employer/hiring manager
  • Present you as the best possible candidate for a vacant job position
  • Land you an interview

If you are applying for both academic and non-academic positions, you need to prepare a CV along with a resume, although you only need to submit one depending on the job or company you are applying to.

So how does a CV differ from a resume? The primary distinction between a CV and resume is the length-while a resume must typically be limited to one page, CVs are at least two pages long, and can go on for as many as ten pages. Another huge difference is the intended audience for each. As mentioned, CVs are designed for the academe, while resumes are for hiring managers working in a non-academic environment. Regarding format, here is a table that details their differences.



Focuses on academic achievements.

Emphasizes skills.

For seeking fellowships, grants, teaching/research/post-doctoral positions.

For applying for a job in the private, public, or non-profit sector.

Typically, two pages long or more, but may be extended to accommodate presentations and publications.

Usually just one page, maximum two pages long.

Includes complete information on education, such as course/subject, name of advisor, dissertation title, summary, and more.

Includes work experience and education which may differ depending on the job being applied for, as relevance is a key factor.

A CV is one of the most potent weapons that a college student can have. Especially if you have no paid job experience, a CV can be an efficient way to make yourself marketable to potential employers while still in school. If you must know why you need to have a CV, here are six reasons.

1. A CV Helps You Get to Know Yourself

The job market in the academic world can be just as competitive as the real world. It can get even more difficult to capture your targeted job position if you don't fully know yourself and your capabilities. Your CV defines you professionally, giving you a good idea of who you are and where your career is heading. Your CV reveals a lot about you, and you'll learn more about yourself in the process. You can identify your goals and your strengths. Additionally, it can also help you understand what you're good at, whether it's leadership, organization, multi-tasking, or service, among others. With a high level of self-awareness, you not only benefit your career but your personal life as well.

Along with the personal information you put in, the language you use will also play a significant role in you understanding yourself, and in like manner, your future employer understanding you. For people who enjoy their work history, they won't just list their responsibilities, but will also include more detail about their designation and highlight particular successes.

2. A CV Can Get You into Clubs and Organizations

Joining a student organization can impact your student experience in a hugely positive way. Likewise, they can also prove invaluable to your chosen career path. What's great about joining a student org is that you get to sharpen essential life skills like planning, management, and organizing, and you get to do so in a safe environment where making even a huge mistake won't necessarily matter too much. Everyone is there to provide each other support, so there's no reason to fear messing up or being wrong.

Most college clubs and societies are headed by professors and leading students. A well-constructed CV lets the heads of these school communities know if you qualify or are a perfect fit for the organization's mission, vision, and culture.

3. A CV Showcases Your Academic Achievements

A good CV accurately highlights your education, skills and experience. Are you on the Dean's List? A scholar? Have you won any grants for your academic efforts? Has any of your research work been published? Academic achievements such as these are the industry equivalent of promotion or salary increase on the job. Use your CV to show off the extra work you put in at school, as these can prove invaluable to the workforce or organization you want to be a part of.

4. A CV Demonstrates that You Are an Interesting Person

Do you have any extra-curricular activities that you enjoy? Do you volunteer or mentor at any institution or organization? Any passion that you may have outside of school can make you appear extremely well-rounded in a hiring professor's eyes. Personal abilities can contribute to your portfolio as examples of your work. Let your CV serve as your documentation for these.

5. A CV Permits You to Work While You Study

An increasing number of students are looking to take on a work-study job. This isn't surprising if you consider the sorry state of the student loan debt in America. Many school departments can use the extra help, and if there's pay, you get to earn money while gaining job experience on campus. In addition, the experience you gain becomes even more useful if you find work that's based on your particular area. Similar to becoming a member of a club or organization, a work-study job links you to more networking opportunities and references, which can be equally valuable as earning.

6. A CV Expands Your Resume

As a working student, you will develop leadership and life skills that you can take with you in a future career. And those experiences you gain? You only serve to make your resume look even better. There's no arguing that employers and hiring managers are impressed by applicants with active academic life. By showing them that you participated in, or better yet, led-a college organization, a research group, or academic team, they will know that you are a hard worker and can handle responsibilities.

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