CVs versus Resumes

Published: Tues., April 16, 2019

As you prepare to apply for jobs, you need to prepare a CV or resume. While you may have created one of these documents before, there are some important differences.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

In the US, CVs are exclusively used by those in academia. If you are applying for faculty jobs (and sometimes for other positions at a university), you will likely be required to submit a CV. As a CV should include most if not all of your academic and professional experiences, it can be lengthy. Most CVs for graduate students at graduation will probably be 4-7 pages. Since there is no page limit on CVs, you should make sure to include details about your work experiences.

What you can include:

  • Current contact information (phone number, email, mailing address, and, if relevant, website)
  • Education
  • Research Experience
  • Teaching Experience

    Make sure to include details about what you taught, for how many students, and what your responsibilities were.

  • Professional or Work Experiences (only if relevant to the position)
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Service (to the Profession or the Community)

    This can include everything from serving on committees in the college or departments or mentoring undergraduates, to larger service or leadership activities and commitments.

  • Honors and Awards
  • Grants awarded to you

What shouldn’t be included:

  • High school or Undergraduate accomplishments (except your undergraduate degree)
  • Personal information and photos
  • Work experience not relevant to the field or position, especially if short term (e.g. working as a cashier at a grocery store for 5 months)


Resumes are used in industries and fields outside academia. Typically, these are short and only 1-2 pages long. Focus on relevant work experiences and skills for the position you are applying for.

What you can include:

  • Current contact information (phone number, email, mailing address, and, if relevant, website)
  • Education
  • Relevant Work Experience

    You should include some description of the job(s) and what you did. You can usually do this with a few bullet points under the listing

  • Relevant Skills/Training
  • Service or Volunteer Work, especially if related to the job
  • Honors and Awards, especially if relevant to the job

What shouldn’t be included:

  • Presentations and publications (unless relevant to the position)
  • Details of every job/experience
  • Short term jobs that are not relevant to the field (e.g. bartender for a summer)

Other common questions

Should I include references?

Generally, no. For many academic positions, they will ask for references in the application system separately. On resumes, you have little space, save this space for what’s important. If and when they need these, they will usually ask you to provide them later.

How much personal information should I list?

Usually, not much. Internationally, it is common to have a photo or information like marital status on the resume. In the US, this is not only not normal, employers generally don’t want this information because it could open them up to potential bias in their decision making. On resumes, people sometimes include a hobby or two.

Should I tell them my immigration status?

Probably not on the resume or CV, but they might ask elsewhere on the application. If they do, be honest. If you are worried about how to respond, talk to ISSO about OPT or other options.

If you want a consultation on your CV or resume, you can schedule one here.