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Definition of Curriculum Vitae - What's the Difference Between a Resume and Curriculum Vitae?

Updated on February 24, 2014
Curriculum Vitae
Curriculum Vitae | Source

What is a curriculum vitae?

A curriculum vitae, or CV, as it is commonly called, is similar to the common resume but has some significant differences. While these two words--resume and curriculum vitae--are often interchanged, the curriculum vitae is more detailed and asked for in certain fields.

Resumes are generally asked for with an application for most jobs. However, in certain careers, particularly in the area of academia, a curriculum vitae is the document that is usually requested.

What is included in a resume?

A resume is usually asked to be included with just about any job application. This document is expected to be a page or two long, but generally no more than two pages.

The resume should list contact information, along with education and work history. Skills related to the job applied for should also be included. References can be added, or, at the very least, "references upon request" is the generally accepted phrase used on resumes.

That is pretty much what a resume entails. It is just a basic outline of background and experience, a general synopsis that hopefully will land a person the job that is sought.

What is a dossier?

A dossier encompasses the curriculum vitae and more. If you are anticipating having to turn in a curriculum vitae, you might want to consider going ahead with preparing your dossier.

The requested materials for my dossier included my formal letter of interest for the job position, my curriculum vitae, one letter of recommendation, and a one to two page statement of my teaching philosophy.

A potential employer should inform you of what items to include in your own dossier. These items might include additional items such as your transcripts or evaluations from previous employers or students.

What should be included in a curriculum vitae?

A curriculum vitae is much more detailed than a resume. While a resume consists of only a page or two, a CV will be at least two pages, but probably more--up to even five pages.

Besides contact information, education, and job experiences, the CV goes more in depth. It includes college publications such as a Master's thesis or Ph.D. dissertation. It includes publications and presentations given, along with anything else that will relate to the job applied for.

In a complete CV, honors and awards should be included. Any professional groups and memberships should be listed. Related volunteer work should also be included, as should any other extracurricular activities that add to the applicant's job experience or even to his or her well-rounded personal character.

As in a resume, references should be added, or, at the very least, the common "references provided upon request."

Do you need to submit a curriculum vitae or resume?

If you need to submit a curriculum vitae for a job, your potential employer will certainly let you know that. A resume is asked for in in all kinds of jobs: service, business, and many more. When in doubt, it's best to submit a regular resume of one to two pages.

A CV is more particular to academic jobs, such as for teaching or research jobs. Recently, when applying to teach at the local University, I was asked to submit my curriculum vitae.

I wasn't sure what a curriculum vitae entailed, so I looked into it further. I already had an updated resume, but I did spend some time adding more details to my resume to conform to the requirements of a CV.

In the end, I did get a positive response--and a position--so I must have done something right!

Similarities and Differences between a resume and curriculum vitae

Curriculum Vitae
Contact Information
Contact Information
Job Experience
Job Experience--detailed teaching experience
Basic skills
Skills, awards, honors
Publications, presentations
References (on request)
References (on request)
1-2 pages
At least 2 pages (up to 5 or so)
For all jobs
Specific to academic jobs (teaching, research, publishing)

Make a good first impression with your curriculum vitae or resume!

Resume or Curriculum Vitae?

Which do you use?

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    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      rcrumple, glad you came by. Yep, overqualified can definitely be a problem. Good luck with your search!

    • rcrumple profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      I don't know how I missed this. Great information provided. Have been looking for months. Unfortunately, I've had to tone my resume down as most stated overqualified for applied positions. Such a strange job market at current. Thanks for the tips! Great Job!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      suzettenaples--You're welcome! Thanks for the nice feedback!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Nat--I do hope this helps with your job search. Good luck!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      KD--You're welcome! I hope this info will come in handy. I was surprised, too, to discover that CVs are supposed to be long and detailed--so UNLIKE a resume! Thanks for the input!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      teaches--I am thrilled to hear that!! I'm glad I contributed something helpful. Thanks for the input!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Hypenbird--Glad you read this! I like learning new things, too!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      6 years ago from Taos, NM

      Very interesting! Thank you for distinguishing between these two documents. I hadn't stopped to think about a CV before. Thanks for the info and for your suggestions.

    • Nat Amaral profile image

      Nat Amaral 

      6 years ago from BC Canada

      Right on! This was very helpful. Thank you very much. I had never heard of a CV. This could definitely help with my job search.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      One of my professors discussed about CVs in our class. I was surprised to see some at least 8 pages long filled with description, publications, GPA, etc. Definitely very interesting. I'll have to bookmark this for later use after I get my MFA :) Thanks for the info, Victoria!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Victoria, I must tell you that your hub is the first I have seen explain CV so well. When I was first asked to provide one, I could not find an internet information to describe the details. This is a keeper for sure. Voted up!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Mekenzie--I'm so glad you think my descriptions spell out the differences. I appreciate the feedback!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I will most likely never need a CV but it is interesting to know about one. I love learning new things. Thank you Victoria Lynn.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      You're welcome, Deb! Glad it helped!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      vocalcoach--That's funny that your'e already writing one and didn't know it! I always have put too much, probably, in my resumes, so a CV works for me! Thanks for sharing and voting!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      mary615, I never used to hear of CVs either. It's good to know the difference!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Victoria, You have written an excellent description on a CV. I have heard the term dossier and had a general idea of what it meant; this hub clarified it for me. Excellent chart showing the differences and similarities side by side between a CV and resume.

      Voted Up and Useful.



    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Ruchira, I didn't know the difference until I was asked for a CV. Then I had to find out! Thanks for sharing this!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I'm one who tends to use the terms interchangeably. Thanks for this clear explanation of the differences.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Well Iv'e been writing a Curriculum Vitae all this time and didn't even know it :) Thanks for explaining the difference between the two. Now, I must run and share this with others like me. (I hope there are others like me.) Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I learn something new every day here on HP. I had never heard of this. Back in the old days when I was job hunting, I just did a resume.

      Interesting Hub. I voted it as such, and shared.

    • Ruchira profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      There Vicki and I thought both meant the same. Thanks for enlightening me :)

      I am going to look carefully for what the employer is asking now... A CV or a Resume :)

      voted up as interesting and useful and sharing it across

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      True, Cardisa. Having both is good. I actually have different resumes that are arranged differently, depending on what kind of job I'm applying for. Thanks for the input.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Vellur, Thanks for the feedback about explaining things clearly. I was hoping for that. Thanks so much!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Very detailed information you have here. While I knew the difference (having to prepare one for an employer) I have never had to prepare one for myself. It is good to have one of both just in case you are asked to submit one.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Very clearly explained. Informative and useful, thanks for sharing.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Hi,RealH! Dossier is just fun to say! Doss-ee-aaa! You might start working on yours, girlfriend! I didn't understand what a CV was, either, until I was asked for one. LOL!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hmmm well, I have been wanting to become a spy for the U.S. Maybe I need a dossier? hahaha

      Really great hub though - I didn't really understand what a CV was!


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