Hmmm… A resume? CV? Something in between? All of these?

Hmmm… A resume? CV? Something in between? All of these?

Do I need a resume? Curriculum vitae (or CV)? Something in between? All of these? If you are in graduate school, your best bet is to prepare both. If you are pursuing academic positions only, a CV may suffice. However, if you are interested in non-academic or alternate-academic positions, you most likely will need both.

A resume is a snapshot of your skills and intended to highlight your key abilities and experiences. For example, as graduate students, it is likely that you have developed research skills. Research skills translate into your ability to identify, investigate, and creatively solve problems. Linking this skill to your experiences, such as working on a research grant or in your thesis or dissertation research, is the foundation of a solid resume. I recently talked with employers in non-academic settings who hire graduate students, and all of them emphasized the importance of a well-structured resume for those with graduate degrees. CVs are often too much information, too academic, and too overwhelming. This feedback underscores the importance of having an informative yet succinct description of your experiences in a resume. Learn more about how to transform your vast skillset into a strong resume.

A CV is a comprehensive statement of your educational background, research and teaching experiences, and service activities. A CV is the standard representation of credentials in academic settings (and in some non-academic settings too). Using the traditional headings of education, research, teaching, and service, a chronological order (most recent first) of your experiences are provided in depth. A good place to start is by reviewing examples from your mentors or others in your field, which likely are publicly available online or you can ask (always nice to ask!). It is important to start working on your resume early on in your graduate career to get in the habit of updating the document regularly as you gain new experiences.

Recently, there has been discussion about a hybrid version of a resume and CV that allows for more depth (as in the case of the CV) but with an emphasis on a timeline of your experiences and skills reflected in a resume. For more information, consult this excellent “Dummies” article, which really breaks down how to do this.

Grammar, spelling, formatting, and appearance matter, so take advantage of your mentors, peers, and the Career Center for advice in preparing and reviewing your resume and CV. The Career Center at the University of South Carolina has drop-in hours to review resumes and CVs. Drop-in hours are Monday – Friday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in one of the two Career Center locations on campus – Thomas Cooper Library Level 5 or College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) Career Center (satellite office). Contact the Career Center for more information: (803) 777-7280 or

As is usually the case, you may need to prepare multiple versions of your resume and CV in order to align with the position for which you are applying. Rely on the excellent expertise of your mentors and the Career Center to help you prepare and be successful in your pursuit.

Dr. Heather Brandt is associate dean for professional development in The Graduate School and associate professor in the department of health promotion, education, and behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Contact Dr. Heather Brandt at

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