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Herzing Staff

Nurses Take Note: Selecting Between the Resume and the CV

For your purposes, what is the right choice to make? #TeamResume or #TeamCV?

Whether you are graduating, seeking an internship, or looking for a new career opportunity, the search for a job can be stressful. Why add to that stress by struggling to complete the first step of the job search process? Most people know what a resume is, and most have at least heard about a CV in passing. But are these two documents interchangeable in your job search?

As you pursue the next step in your career, the decision can be a pivotal crossroads, demanding a clear understanding of the benefits that each can offer.

Understanding the Differences between Resumes and CVs 

A resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are both documents used in the job application process, but they have some key differences: 

  • The resume is typically a shorter document, ranging from one to two pages, and provides a concise summary of your work experience, skills and education. This more specific focus is normally tailored to the specific job or industry you apply for and is more popular in the United States. The format for your resume can be flexible, but most often follows a chronological order of work experience or highlights job-specific needs with a skills-based focus. 
  • The CV is normally a longer and more detailed document that provides a comprehensive overview of your academic background, research, publications, presentations and professional experiences. It is usually broader than a resume is often used to apply to academic positions or research opportunities and is more common overseas. Formatting for a CV is fairly standardized with sections specific for education, research, professional experience and highlighting publications. 

So, for your purposes, what is the right choice to make? #TeamResume or #TeamCV?

Using a Resume — When and Why 

Selecting a resume over a CV can provide distinct advantages and considerations. First and foremost, the concise nature of resumes delivers a quick and efficient overview of your qualifications. This is particularly beneficial in spotlighting relevant clinical experiences, skills, and certifications tailored to the specific nursing role you are applying for. Customizing and tailoring a resume to align with the job’s requirements can be much easier. Moreover, resumes are often better at helping employers quickly streamline their hiring process and narrow a larger talent pool into a select handful of interviewees.

However, while resumes excel in conciseness, they may not fully highlight your academic achievements, research endeavors, or specific clinical experiences as comprehensively as a CV and are not as well-received for careers in academia.

Choosing the CV — When and Why 

Using a CV can be a strategic move for some nurses, particularly for those seeking roles that demand a more in-depth exploration of their career path. The biggest advantage lies in the comprehensive detail, allowing you to present your full academic background, research endeavors, publications and clinical experiences. This more holistic snapshot can put you ahead of the competition when pursuing research or academic positions where an individual's scholarly contributions are a top priority.

On the other hand, the extended length of CVs may pose a challenge during time-sensitive hiring processes, especially for day-to-day nursing roles in hospitals and other facilities. Additionally, the fuller breadth of content may result in a CV that feels less focused on specific skills or experiences relevant to a particular job.

What’s Next?

The choice between a CV and a resume becomes clearer when guided by thoughtful considerations. Begin by going over the unique requirements of the job posting and letting it provide clues about the preferred document. Some employers will clarify their preference up front. You can also reach out to the hiring team and ask – giving a justifiable reason for contacting them in advance and putting your name in their mind. When a role calls for a precise set of skills or experiences, a resume could be the more effective tool for spotlighting those milestones of your career. If it wants a broader, 30,000-foot view, go the CV route.

Herzing University has a variety of career-focused services including its Career Services Department, where current and graduating students can provide valuable coaching so you can find the right job that leverages your skills and interests.

Our team will help you:

  • Discover who is hiring for full- and part-time positions
  • Create a resume, Curricula Vitae (CV), or cover letter and assist with your portfolio
  • Learn how to leverage networking, and social media and learn how to interview
  • Find new career opportunities through our student & alumni job board

If you’re ready to pursue the next stage of your career, be it with a resume or CV, connect with us today to get started.

Learn More About Our Nursing Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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