Understanding and Evaluating Associateship Opportunities
What is the Difference: Resume vs. CV?

Course Author(s): David G. Dunning, MA, PhD; Robert D. Madden, DDS, MBA

What is the Difference: Resume vs. CV?

A typical resume is a general and concise introduction of your experiences and skills as they relate to a particular position you are seeking to acquire. As such, resumes have to frequently be modified for each position for which you are applying; thus, emphasizing those skills most pertinent for the position. For example, you would not submit the same resume for a position as a director of a community health center as you would for a position as a practicing dentist in a group practice. Obviously, different skill sets need to be emphasized for each career track.

A typical resume will include the following sections:

  1. Name and Contact Information
  2. Education
    • List all your degrees, dates, and educational institutions attended.
  3. Work Experience
    • Name of companies or organizations you have worked for, location of each, dates, job title, and duties performed.

The information written in each section should be organized chronologically. Resumes are usually no more than one page in length and are accompanied with a cover letter. A cover letter provides a permanent written record of the transmittal of the resume (what is being sent, to whom it is being sent, and who sent it).

A CV, in contrast, is a detailed overview of your life accomplishments, especially those which are most relevant for the position. It is wise to view your CV as a living document that will frequently need to be updated. In the beginning of your career, the CV will likely be fairly short, perhaps two to three pages in length. A more seasoned applicant may have a CV that may run into double digits. Like a resume, the information in the various sections is typically provided in chronological order.

A typical CV will include the following information:

  1. Name and Contact Information
  2. Areas of Interest
  3. Education
    • List all degrees earned or in progress
    • Institutions attended accompanied by dates
    • Dates of graduation for each degree earned
  4. Grants, Honors, and Awards
  5. Publications and Presentations
    • List all published articles and books
    • List all presentations given at meeting or conferences
  6. Employment and Experience (including leadership experience)
  7. Scholarly or Professional Memberships
    • Include offices and positions held
  8. References
    • List all persons who write letters of recommendation for you, include their contact information (or indicate “Available upon request”).

Regardless of whether you are submitting a resume or a CV, it should be neat and easy to read. Use common sense in formatting. There is no universal guide as to formatting, but many examples and templates are available online. You should print preview the document to make sure it is not misaligned. You will also be able to evaluate the consistency in use of space in the document.

As far as fonts and font sizes, it is recommended you use something easy on the eyes such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial when creating a resume or CV. Remember: you do not want the reader to be distracted from the content; you want them to read it. You want them to easily focus on your accomplishments. A size 10-12 font is also recommended.

It is always a good idea to have someone read your CV or resume. Is it easy to read and grammatically correct? Does it present well to the reader? Is it consistent in listing of content? If photos are used, are they easy to view? Are the photos appropriate for the content of the document? A personal professional photo is recommended.