The difference between a resume and an academic CV

Are you looking for a job as a part-time professor or adjunct faculty member?

For your best chance of getting a teaching job in higher education, you want to have a specifically formatted curriculum vitae, or CV as it is commonly called. In the United States, there is a very clear distinction between a resume and curriculum vitae. In many countries, the document used to find any job is called curriculum vitae, with the document tailored to the type of job. As a part-time professor, you will need both a CV and a resume. The resume will be used when you are seeking a position in your professional field and the CV will be used specifically for academic positions.

When presenting your qualifications to deans and department chairs of universities, a well structured CV may mean the difference between receiving an interview and having your credentials dismissed. The curriculum vitae also shows that you know what is expected in higher education.

The chart below gives you a quick view at the differences between a typical resume and a CV.


Although the CV may appear a bit intimidating, it allows you to present both your knowledge and your experience. I suggest that you start creating your CV now. The process of developing your CV may help you see gaps or what you need to highlight. For example, if you do not have direct teaching experience, maybe you led workshops at your job; or if you have not published, you might want to write some articles for a professional journal or an online magazine. Keep in mind, you do not need a five-page CV in order to get your first part-time teaching job. You can start searching for your first part-time position with your current experience. Adjuncts are not expected to have the same amount of teaching experience, research, and publications as tenure-track or core faculty. However, as a part-time faculty member, you are expected to have a good grasp of academia as well as the knowledge of your professional field.

For more information on creating a curriculum vitae, read the ebook Become a Part-time Professor.

What’s your experience applying for jobs as a part-time professor?

Leave your comments below.



Why would you want to be a part-time professor?

questions2Maybe you read the ebook Become a Part-time Professor or maybe teaching a college or university course has been something you have dreamed about for a while. If you are thinking about applying for part-time faculty positions, I have a question for you: Why? What’s your motivation?

It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do in this life, but choosing consciously or being clear about the reasons you are doing what you are doing is important to know. Being a part-time professor, or adjunct faculty member as it is called in most colleges, can bring many rewards. It offers the opportunity to:

  • Have the prestige of being a certified expert in your field.
  • Share your knowledge with others and position yourself as a thought leader in your chosen profession.
  • Be in the company of other thought leaders where you will have the opportunity to engage in intellectual dialogue about subjects you love.
  • Educate the next generation of leaders based on your real-world experience.
  • Share your passion with others and get them excited about learning.
  • Add to your resume and credentials.
  • Have an additional income source.

As a part-time professor you will receive some compensation. For the person who is concurrently working full-time, who is retired, or who has their own business, the supplemental income is a nice perk. However, you could be in trouble if this is your only source of income. As an adjunct, you are not going to make the salary of a full-time professor, you are not going to receive tenure or be granted a paid sabbatical after years of teaching; nor will you likely receive health benefits or retirement benefits. It is a part-time position. If enrollment is low, your class could be canceled.

On the positive side, in most institutions you will not have to attend faculty meetings, you will not have to maintain a research discipline, you will not have to publish, and you will not have to perform service on behalf of the college or university. As an adjunct professor, you can teach your class and go home. If you are teaching online, you can teach from anywhere that has an internet connection.

You will of course have to prepare your lesson, grade papers, and hold some form of office hours. It is estimated that the amount of time you will spend outside of class on average is 1.25 hours for every hour in class. That will vary depending on if it is your first time teaching the class or your tenth. Initially, you will need to put in time to prepare for your class.

If you don’t have a clear and personally compelling reason for becoming part-time faculty, you could quickly become disenchanted. However, for the right person, with the right reason, being a part-time professor can be extremely rewarding. So, are you ready to become a part-time professor? If so, register to become a part of our growing community of adjuncts and prospective adjuncts.