Canadian Curriculum Vitae Format – CV vs. Resume – Differences in Format & Content

Are you trying to determine if you need a Canadian curriculum vitae (CV) or a resume to apply for a job posting in Canada? We’ll discuss the difference between the two documents to determine which is best for your career as a job seeker. Learning how to write a Canadian resume or CV properly will benefit your job search immensely.

A CV provides a full account of your professional accomplishments, whereas a Canadian resume format is a complete—yet less detailed—account of your relevant skills and qualifications. For the most part, CVs are used outside of North America, such as the United Kingdom (UK), Africa, Ireland, Asia, Thailand, Baltics, Argentina, and many other places.

Hiring managers prefer short and concise resumes. If you have a long job history and many impressive accomplishments, you may not be able to accommodate them in under two pages.

Using the right Canadian resume format will help if the applicant tracking system scans your resume or is viewed by a hiring authority. The format of your resume is important, and we will discuss this topic in-depth in this post.

A Canadian-style resume can be thought of as a more fluid document. This one- or two-page document provides a snapshot of your work experience and education and maybe repositioned and revised to suit targeted jobs.

A CV is a running tally of all your major career accomplishments. Leave the document to posterity, be sure to include everything you want future generations to remember you by. Of course, you may edit your CV to focus on the most relevant qualifications for the field you are working in.

Canadian Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV) – Basic Information to Include

Both your resume and CV should list the following basic information:

  • Work Experience (typically in chronological order)
  • Education
  • Professional Licenses and Certifications
  • Military Experience
  • Awards and Honors
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Achievements/Accomplishments

Both may also include:

  • Memberships
  • Volunteer Work
  • Relevant Hobbies and Interests

Key Differences Between Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (CVs)

Resumes start with a one-paragraph summary highlighting key qualifications to meet the key objective of presenting why you are the best match for the job to the hiring manager who is reading it. This is your marketing or advertising pitch and can be changed to target each job. It should be developed with the requested qualifications in the job advertisement in mind.

A resume may also use a chronological, functional, or combination approach to presenting job experience. If you do not have a lot of work experience, you may choose to list the functions associated with the job first, including related volunteer work.

Here the similarities end between these two career documents. The curriculum vitae (CV) is most often used by professionals in higher education academia, science, and medicine who have additional accomplishments.

Conducting research and disseminating the findings through papers and presentations is a major part of their job responsibilities. Regarding job performance, publishing papers in academia are analogous to making sales. Each year, an academic could publish anywhere from one to six, or even a dozen papers, and present them through conferences and lectures. The more prolific publishers are held in higher esteem by their profession.

Length of Canadian Curriculum Vitae – CV vs. Resume

Publishing and presenting papers on research and being given awards, honors, and other accolades for this research take up most of the curriculum vitae pages (CV). Most resumes are one- to two pages long. A curriculum vitae (CV) may easily run past two pages. The length of your experience, publications, and so on will determine the number of pages. The accomplishments of the famed astronomer, publisher, and public speaker Carl Sagan are said to have run 250 pages.

Listing Work History and Military Experience

According to the CV writing guide and many other university professional opinions, a curriculum vitae (CV) presents a full account of your work experience. However, even in the CV, you may exercise editorial entitlement. If you look at your history professor’s CV, they likely will not list their job at the fast-food outlet McDonald’s as a college student. They may choose to list experience as a camp counselor in high school since it demonstrates skills guiding and instructing students. Since your CV is considered an official record of your work experience, list jobs in chronological order.

Published Works

Published works take up most of the pages of a curriculum vitae (CV). If you pull up the CV of many college professors, you will find a long list of papers published mostly in academic journals and possibly in trade publications and the media.

Each paper must follow one of the major academic editorial formats. APA and the Chicago Manual of Style are the most popular reference formats for social studies topics. Engineers use the IEEE style, while medical professionals often use AMA (American Medical Association) style.

Papers are presented in chronological order. Additional information that may, but less commonly, accompanies a paper citation includes: the number of times the paper has been cited by other papers and the peer ranking of the academic journal it appears in.

How to Add Patents to Your Canadian CV

Scientists, engineers, and technologists list patents on their curriculum vitae. Always mention the patents in your resume and provide a link to your CV to ensure they are not missed.

On your resume, you have several options for mentioning patents (if possible, keep your resume to 2 pages):

  • You may choose to mention patents by broad categories and provide a link to your CV with a more detailed listing. For example: Please follow the patent link for patents on polymer semiconductors, opto-electro semiconductors, and nano-opto semiconductors.
  • If your CV looks like your resume other than the patents, you may attach a patent list to your resume.
  • If the patent list is short, consider listing your patents’ titles and numbers in your resume.
  • If you are applying for a marketing job with a biotechnology company, it may suffice to cite the name of the biotech patents you tinkered with within college labs.

Use your discretion when deciding which patents are relevant to the job and merit being brought to the hiring manager’s attention in the resume. If you are applying for a job as a materials scientist in the semiconductor industry, you do not need to include the aerodynamic surfboards you patented as a teenager.

Following is an example of how to list a patent.

Basic Format:
[1] J. K. Author, “Title of patent,” U.S. Patent x xxx xxx, Abbrev. Month, day, year.

[1] J. P. Wilkinson, “Nonlinear resonant circuit devices,” U.S. Patent 3 624 125, July 16, 1990. NOTE: Use “issued date” if several dates are given.

(Source: IEEE, using the Chicago Manual of Style)

Research and Internship Experience

The longer CV allows room for a more detailed description of your research experience. In this section, you will cite the experiments you have worked on.

If any of these research results were disseminated in papers and presentations, you might also want to cite this information here, in addition to listing them in the relevant Publications and Presentations section.

This peer attention is an indication of the value your colleagues place on your research. If you are a scientist, you may want to list the materials and equipment you have worked with. A mention of the scientists you worked under and their specializations will show additional research you have been exposed to.

If you apply for a job as an oil and gas engineer, a university research project working with new chemistries in advanced fracking techniques may land you an interview. Hiring decisions are often based on experience in advanced materials and techniques that could add value to your new employer. Provide enough detail to demonstrate the value proposition you will bring to the job.


In the CV, list all professional presentations you have delivered relevant to your field. This may include conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops, roundtables, and guest lectures. Follow the presentation citation format commonly used in your field and be consistent with the editorial style guide used for Publications (e.g., AMA, APA, CMS, IEEE).

Awards and Honors

Awards are an important way of distinguishing yourself from other applicants. They show that you have performed at an exceptional, or at least above average, level. Most of us can easily fit our handful of accolades on our resume. If you have more than a handful, decide which ones are the most relevant to the job position and should be cited on the resume.

Provide the full list of awards on your CV (and do not forget to link to your CV). Before leaving an award off of your resume or CV, consider what it conveys about you. Some awards communicate soft skills, which generally are not well represented on resumes. We often provide a list of how caring, helpful, and generous without proof to back up these claims. Awards and acknowledgments you received from the volunteer sector could provide evidence of all three of these traits.

Examples of awards include:

  • Academic Honors Lists
  • Scholarships
  • Acknowledgments of Soft Skills: Best Team Player, Customer Service, Distinguished Service
  • Acknowledgments of Hard Skills: Sales, Innovation, Safety
  • Invitation Into a Distinguished Group (typically based on performance): Sales or Investment Performance, Inventions
  • Excellence in a Field (Marketing, Engineering, and so on)
  • Grants

Professionals in science, medicine, and academia commonly apply for grants to support their research. The ability to obtain grants reflects the value your industry places on your research. The grant’s name, granting institution, and the value of the grant and year(s) awarded should be cited.

Fellowships and Professional Affiliations

These prestigious paid positions are bestowed upon individuals who have knowledge and skills esteemed to be of high value to the granting institution. Fellowships are awarded by academic institutions, think tanks, and corporations. Remember to list what function you performed. Fellowship duties include teaching, research, and mentoring.

Your Canadian resume and curriculum vitae (CV) are complementary documents. It is common practice to refer readers to your more detailed CV in your resume or cover letter. Provide an online link to your CV. When attending job interviews, a prepared job candidate will have copies of both the resume and curriculum vitae for each interviewing panel member.

You only get one shot at making a first impression!

Going the extra mile when writing your resume or CV is necessary to get the best chance at capturing the reader’s attention and being put in the ‘to-be-interviewed’ pile. Before submitting your resume, be honest; what would your value to the reader seem like with your current resume? Does it show your worth?

Review our resume and curriculum vitae samples or cover letter samples

Connect with us to get your resume / CV, cover letter, or other job application documents in top-notch condition. Please contact Candace or call toll-free at 1 877 738-8052 for more information on our writing services.