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Academic CV or Resume? Which to choose, and when to use each document

Are you transitioning from academia to industry and wondering if you should use an academic CV or an industry resume? It can be confusing trying to decide. After all, while both exist to highlight your skills and experience, the two documents have very different structures and formats.

Additionally, each serves a unique purpose and needs to be intentionally crafted to best suit your specific audience.

This blog post will explain the key differences between an academic CV and an industry resume and provide guidance on which one to use so that you can put your best foot forward during your job search.

Here are some pros and cons of each document:

Pros and Cons of Academic CVs and Industry Resumes




Academic CV

  • Comprehensive documentation of academic achievements

  • Valuable for academic job applications

  • Allows for more detail

  • Most employers outside of academia prefer a resume

  • It can be overly detailed and include unnecessary information

Industry Resume

  • Preferred by most employers

  • Highlights work experience

  • Concise and easy to read

  • Not a comprehensive overview of your academic achievements

  • Doesn't allow for as much detail

Comparing the Structures of Academic CVs and Industry Resumes

An academic CV typically begins with a summary section outlining your educational background, research and teaching experience, and other academic accomplishments. You should then list your publications, research projects, conference presentations, grants awarded, awards won, and other professional activities. Finally, you should include a list of references in the academic CV.

An industry resume is generally more concise than an academic CV. It typically begins with a summary section that outlines your work experience, skills, and qualifications. Following this section is a list of your relevant employment history, including job titles, company names, dates employed, and a brief description of your job duties.

The industry resume may also include any relevant certifications, awards, or other skills you possess. These days, employers do not want references included on the industry resume, so you can leave those off.

When to Choose an Academic CV or an Industry Resume

When applying for an academic position, such as a research or teaching role within a university, it is important to use an academic CV to ensure you present yourself in the best light. An academic CV provides a more comprehensive overview of your qualifications and experiences than an industry resume, which can help give employers a clearer sense of who you are as a researcher or teacher.

By providing detailed information on each aspect of your application in one comprehensive document, an academic CV also makes it easy for employers to compare the research and publication track record of multiple applicants. For these reasons, using an academic CV when applying for academia-related jobs is essential to maximize your chances of success.

However, if you are not applying for an academic position, you must take the time to prepare a concise, well-organized industry resume. It should be noted that using your academic CV for an industry position is not okay. Doing so will dramatically reduce your chances of getting an interview.

It might even be perceived as laziness or apathy if you fail to create a tailored industry resume for a job application. If you are ready to create an industry resume, visit our other posts on this topic and download our free resume template below.

If you are considering moving from academia to industry, it is important to understand the differences between both documents to ensure your application materials are best suited for the job you’re applying for.

A good rule of thumb is that you should use an academic CV when applying for research and teaching positions and an industry resume for all applications outside of academia.

If you have any specific questions regarding academic CVs and industry resumes, we encourage you to email us at [email protected].

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