Are you torn between using a resume and a CV? You are not alone. Many job seekers find themselves between a rock and a hard place when applying for jobs. They often don’t know whether to write a CV or a resume. So, what is the difference between them? When is it appropriate to use each? We answer all these and more questions here.
The best way to differentiate between a resume and a CV is to think of a CV as a fancy word for an extensive professional resume. This is because a CV is more detailed than a resume.
A CV is used for academic positions while a resume for most other career paths. In some cases, you may also use a CV for jobs outside of academia. For example, when applying for a Chief Analyst at Microsoft.
Table of Contents
Difference between resume and a CV
Below is a summary of the main differences between a resume and a CV:
- Length: A CV has several pages. While it is recommended to keep it short, it has more pages compared to a resume. This is because it is more detailed.
- Emphasize: A CV focuses more on your research, academic accomplishment, publication, and teaching. On the other hand, a resume focuses more on your skills, qualifications, and work experiences that make you stand out.
- Audience: Often, an academic committee will read your CV. Your resume may be analyzed by applicant tracking systems, employees, HR employees, or any other authorized person.
Converting your resume to a CV
Now that you know the differences between these two crucial documents let’s see how you can transform your resume into a CV. The best way to do this is by first scanning for relevant sections of your resume that are transferrable to your CV. Not every section you have in a resume qualify to be in a CV; that why it is advisable to start by scanning your resume. Use these simple steps to transform your resume to CV:
- Research and identify work and professional experience in your industry and jobs of interest.
- Next, come up with a list of your transferable sections.
- Take a look at various CV samples. There are many CV samples online that can make your work easier.
- Depending on the format you settle on, customize your CV in the best way possible. For the best experience, consider the most recent CV formats. Besides, remember to use action verbs to describe your skills and experiences and adhere to the instructions given. For example, instructions regarding formatting your CV.
- Improve your document by removing irrelevant and extra information.
- Proofread and remember to keep an up-to-date copy.
- Although not necessary, find an expert who can give feedback and a way to improve your CV.
What sections to include in your CV
Here are the sections to include in your CV:
Located at the top of your CV, a CV profile highlights the main points of interest to a potential employer. For instance, you can add two bullet points. One that states your field and year in the program, and the other detailing your relevant experience.
In case you have nothing to add (if a recent graduate you will have nothing to add), write something that will wow employers. For example, you can say you are ready to gain interest in gaining additional experience in your profession.
- Research experience
Here, list any form of research you have under your belt. For example, if you are in science, you would list lab experience. If in humanities, you could list library research.
What about when you have less research to list, or there are similarities in your experience? If you find yourself in such a scenario, use a single category like “Experience” or “Professional Experience.”
- Professional training
Go ahead and list any professional development seminars or workshops you have participated, and/or pedagogical or technological training related to your profession.
Include any professional publication you have. For example, you can list your creative writing pieces, published poetry, academic blog, research papers, or book reviews. Remember to include sufficient information about your publication so that readers don’t have a hard time finding them.
Here list guest lectures, paper presentations, experience as an organizer of professional events, or as moderator. You can as well add upcoming presentations if they have been accepted. Remember to add the title of your paper or lecturer, event name, and dates.
- Honors and awards
These can be professional or undergraduate awards, community awards, or teachings awards. You can also include travel and research grants. In case you have no award to list, consider listing membership in an honors society, graduating with honors, or making the Dean’s or Provost’s honors list for certain terms during your undergraduate career.
- Professional or community service
Go ahead and list committees or boards you have served. You can also list any leadership positions you have held. For example, the president of a fraternity or sorority. Additionally, you can list your volunteer experience or other community involvement. Skip this category if you have nothing to add.
You may have seen samples online that have a section or separate page for references. It is not mandatory to have this section or page. Just include a line at the bottom of your CV stating that you have references available if requested.
It is a good idea to keep an up-to-date copy list of references.
Take a look at some other possible categories you can include on your CV.
- Languages (in case you are fluent in a language other than English)
- Professional affiliations (list national associations related to your field),
- Skills/Certifications/Licenses (are you proficient in any relevant software programs? Do you have a teaching certification, or are you a certified translator?), Research interests (list your primary areas of specialization within your field).