A CV (curriculum vitae, roughly translated to mean “life’s work”) and a resume are both used to apply for online teaching job opportunities, but they have distinct differences in terms of length, content, and purpose. Most schools who are hiring online adjunct instructors will ask for a CV, although there are a few who may ask for a resume (do they probably mean to say CV? Yes, but if it is clear they want a resume, that is what you will want to provide). Therefore, you may want to have both “versions” of your work history at the ready when firing off applications.
Here are the main differences between a CV and a resume:
Length of a CV vs. a Resume:
CV: Generally, a CV is longer and more comprehensive. It can be several pages long and includes detailed information about your education, work history, publications, research, academic achievements, and other relevant professional activities. In other words, it is your “life’s work” unfolding across multiple pages. Most schools want CVs (vs. resumes) because they want to see the work that went into creating your subject matter expertise. They don’t want to take your word for it, they want to literally see it. They want proof that you are an expert through the things you have done over your career. Put succinctly, a CV shows, it doesn’t not tell.
Resume: A resume is typically shorter and concise, usually limited to one or two pages. It focuses on summarizing your relevant work experience, skills, and accomplishments, specifically tailored to the job you’re applying for. It is the business card or the elevator pitch version of your CV, if you will. If it is clear that a school wants a resume, they are wanting to thumb through their candidates quickly to get a general sense of their appropriateness for the role.
Differences in Content
CV: A CV includes comprehensive information about your academic background, such as degrees earned, research work, academic projects, presentations, and teaching experience. It also includes details about any publications, awards, grants, conferences, and affiliations with professional organizations. Again, we are showing everything that has gone into creating your subject matter expertise with a CV. If you are wondering “should this go in my CV?” The answer is probably yes. With some exceptions – padding one’s resume with associations you used to belong to but don’t anymore or with a very long list of non-certificate seminars you attended is frowned upon. But if it’s meaty and vital and integral to your career story, it probably should go in.
Resume: A resume emphasizes your professional experience, highlighting relevant work history (including teaching experience, online and off), job responsibilities, achievements, and skills. It may also include a section on education, but the emphasis is on work-related accomplishments and qualifications. Here, if you ask yourself “should I include this in my resume?” the answer is probably “no.” Or “yes, but touch on it briefly.”
The Purpose of a CV vs. a Resume
CV: CVs are commonly used in academic, research, and scientific fields or when applying for graduate programs, fellowships, or academic positions – hence their popularity in the world of online teaching. They are more suitable for roles where a comprehensive overview of your academic and professional background is necessary – like a role where you must be a subject matter expert. As in an online adjunct professor.
Resume: Resumes are the standard document for job applications in non-academic fields, private sector jobs, or industries where specific skills and experience are more relevant than academic qualifications. They may also be something a school asks for if they are not wanting to deep dive into a series of multi-page CVs in their job search. However, it is important to note that eventually a CV will be needed, since accrediting bodies will often review faculty member profiles to determine a school’s eligibility for continued accreditation. This includes their CVs (which prove their appropriateness and validity in the role they hold as subject matter expert).
Format vs Style:
CV: CVs often have a more structured and formal format, presenting information in reverse chronological order (newest first) and providing extensive detail. No bells and whistles, nothing overly stylized. It should be scrollable from top to bottom and not include columns. With a CV, the reader’s eyes should move from far left to far right and scroll continuously from top to bottom, like one would read a regular word processing document.
Resume: Resumes are typically more tailored/stylized and can be presented in various formats, such as chronological, functional, or combination styles, depending on the applicant’s work history and job application requirements. They can use color and images, and sections can be formatted within columns. There won’t be a lot of bullet points or extraneous explanations of things on a resume; it’s a “just the facts, ma’am” or “at-a-glance”-type of document.
Let Us Help You!
Need help crafting a CV? Or expanding your resume to better represent your “life’s work?” AdjunctWorld can help through our asynchronous, online, 4-week, instructor-led course titled OnRamp: A Practical Guide to Landing an Online Teaching Job. This course offers instruction on online teaching CVs as well as a personalized CV review. It covers all elements of your application (i.e., cover letter, Statement of Teaching Philosophy, interview strategy, etc.) and provides helpful information on the online teaching job landscape. Leave class with all of your questions about finding online teaching work answered. See our Course Description and FAQs Page for more details. We’d love to have you join us for our next cohort!