What's the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?


The biggest question we receive from clients is "do I need to use a CV or a resume?"

The question is not always an easy one to answer. The answer is, it depends. 

Generally speaking, curricula vitae (CVs) are reserved for use by professional's holding PhD's and/or those in academia. CVs are documents that include the entire career and educational history of a professional. They can be incredibly lengthy and may include presentations, professional posters, publications, specialized trainings, organizational involvement, and many other relevant categories. Resumes are typically concise 1-2 page documents that highlight achievements in the professional setting. Resumes also contain education and specialized training, but tend to be shorter. 

Most pharmacists have doctorate degrees, so it is never wrong to use a CV because we hold advanced degrees. It just might be overkill for some pharmacists to use. All pharmacists are clinical, but some pharmacists are more clinical than others. For the pharmacists in a traditional dispensing, staffing, or managerial role; we recommend using a resume. For those in a hospital, industry, academic, or research-based role; we always recommend a CV. But this is not black and white. 

The other thing that can make it more confusing is the preference of the hiring manager. There are many pharmacists as hiring managers that want CVs no matter the position, and likewise, there are many who will think it's overkill and would have preferred a resume. That makes it incredibly difficult and more confusing to decide which you should submit. If the position makes it unclear and you have a point of contact, it may be easier to ask which they prefer. Don't let the bias of the hiring manager discredit your resume or CV based on a technicality. 

Have I made it any more clear when to use which? Still have more questions than answers? 

Answer these short questions to yourself to assist you in deciding which one you need:

  1. Did you complete a residency or have board certification?
  2. Are you in academia or have teaching experience?
  3. Do you conduct research and/or have publications outside of your degree education?
  4. Is most of your job clinical in nature with minimal traditional dispensing responsibilities?
  5. Are you trying to transition into one of the above roles?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, we recommend a CV.

  1. Are you in the retail, outpatient, or community setting?
  2. Are you in operational management?
  3. Are you a staff pharmacist at a hospital?
  4. Are you a compounding pharmacist?
  5. Are you in long term care or a mail order facility?
  6. Are you trying to transition into one of the above roles?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, a resume is more than likely more appropriate.

This is only designed to be a guide to assist you with your decision. Please contact us if you would like to discuss further or to help you decide which is most appropriate to use in your specific case. 

Ashley Gulyas, PharmD

Founder and Pharmacy Editor