What Is the Difference Between a Resume and an Academic CV?

Putting together an exceptional resume or academic CV is an important part of the job application process. Both of these documents are designed to provide potential employers with insight into a person’s qualifications or skills. This guide is designed to help professionals currently seeking employment understand the difference between a resume and academic CV so they know which one is the best to submit during the application process.

The Purpose of a Resume

Resumes are concise documents, usually one page or less in length, that are used to highlight a person’s qualifications and skills. Generally speaking, these documents do not go into too much detail and simply highlight a person’s past experiences. Ultimately the purpose of a resume is to help a potential employer understand what sets a person apart from other candidates applying for the same position.

The Purpose of an Academic CV

When it comes to the difference between a resume and academic CV, a CV is designed to provide employers with an extensive knowledge of a professional’s past experience and work, mainly within their academic field. Typically, these documents include many details about a person’s past experiences teaching, doing research, or fulfilling other responsibilities in academia.

Since these documents are much more detailed than resumes, they are usually at least one page in length and can be as long as necessary to outline a person’s entire experience with higher learning. Although generic CVs are approximately two pages in length, most academic CVs are between four and five pages long. Compared with a resume, professional experiences are also outlined in chronological order, and instead of altering the document to correspond with the open position’s requirements, they remain static and are added to over time.

Deciding Between a Resume and Academic CV

Professionals with both a resume and academic CV may wonder which document they should submit when applying for an open position. Generally, if the position is industry-related, a resume should be submitted. For example, if a person is applying for a position as a nurse or software engineer, a resume would be most appropriate.

Comparatively, if the position is for a fellowship or teaching role, an academic CV should be submitted. This way potential employers are fully aware of the candidate’s past experience in the world of higher learning.

Tips for Writing a Successful Academic CV

Although professionals writing a resume and academic CV should carefully outline their skills, abilities, and experience, there are a few guidelines candidates should particularly follow when either putting together or refining their academic CV:

  • Include their experience in the academic field starting with the oldest and ending with the newest
  • List the institutions they attended or worked at, the titles of the courses taken, and the levels of any classes taught
  • Include the most recent and prestigious publications they have contributed to first and then work down to less important or significant papers
  • List any roles or positions they have held within an academic office or institution
Those applying for a job in an academic field should also include the names and addresses of at least two references on a separate page.

Resume Requirements

Since resumes are less detailed, the requirements are less stringent. To put together a successful resume, job applicants should make sure they include qualifications and past career experiences as they relate to the job they are applying for. They should also list brief bullet points explaining what they learned in each position or the skills they demonstrated under each one. Additionally, those applying for a new job with a resume should make sure this document is as streamlined and organized as possible so it catches the attention of potential employers.


Knowing whether to submit a resume or an academic CV can play a large role in a job seeker's ability to successfully obtain a new position. Before applying for a new job, professionals should carefully consider which document would best fit the situation.

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