Resume or CV—Which Do You Use?

Whether you’re preparing to apply for an internship, externship, clinical fellowship, or first job, you’ll need a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Even if you’re not actively looking for a position, it’s essential to have one handy, just in case.

Highly coveted positions in hospitals, clinics, and the government tend to go fast. These positions often take applications a year in advance. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by—have your resume or CV ready at a moment’s notice!

But which do you use? The answer comes down to where you are applying and your career goals.

When To Use a CV

In the United States, a CV is used almost exclusively when pursuing an academic position. As a student, a CV may also work if you are applying for a research or university clinic position, a grant, research fellowship, or admission to a PhD program.

So, what do CVs include? They often…

  • Are three or more pages used to construct your scholarly identity—length isn’t a concern and should grow as you gain experience.
  • Demonstrate your abilities as a teacher, researcher, and scholar.
  • Emphasize your academic accomplishments such as presentations, publications, academic employment, etc.
  • Have a particular order with the education section first.

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When To Use a Resume

Resumes, on the other hand, are more commonly a part of the application process. When in doubt, the job posting will tell you to submit a resume. A resume is a summary of your skills and experiences and should be no more than two pages.

It may be tempting to have one resume and use it over and over. But don’t do that! It’s best to tailor your resume to each position you’re applying to, focusing only on the skills and experiences that apply to that job. Use resume writing strategies that will maximize your chances of getting the position.

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Tips for Creating Your CV or Resume

No matter if you use a CV or resume, make sure it’s…

  • Easy to read and clearly communicates your strengths.
  • Visually appealing—use white space and clear fonts (san serif, at least 10pt).
  • Using the job description as a checklist for what skills and responsibilities to include, helping to shape the content and order.
  • Incorporating words and phrases from the job description so employers can see their “buzzwords;” helping them see you’re a good match for their position.

Finding the right position can take time. Make sure you’re using the right tools and strategies to get the position of your dreams. Start looking for jobs early and be sure to write or revise your CV or resume often.

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