Blog Post February 09, 2016

The difference between a CV and a resume

Just what is the difference between a CV and a resume, anyway?

Graduate students and postdocs embarking on the job search often ask me this question. The difference is essentially threefold: they differ in length, content, and purpose. CVs have no page limit and should include all of your educational and experiential information. The words “curriculum vitae” mean “the course of your life,” so this document should include everything you’ve done. It is used to apply for research-focused positions, including faculty jobs, research positions in industry, and fellowship applications. By comparison, the resume should be limited in length to 2-3 pages, depending on your level of education and experience, and should focus directly on the job that you are applying for. As such, it can be used for all other jobs outside of those that have an intensive research focus. It often helps to have both documents handy as you embark on a job search. 

Did you know?

The Education office at The Jackson Laboratory can assist JAX postdocs in crafting or editing either document, should they need assistance.


Melanie Sinche is an educator, writer, and career counselor with more than 15 years experience working with and advising graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in university, non-profit, and government agency settings. Her work at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine focuses on the career and professional development of all trainees through the development of novel educational programming. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniesinche.