The Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae (CV) was originally published on College Recruiter.

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between a resume and curriculum vitae? In college, you may have heard about them both, yet since graduating, you probably have heard less about the CV and more about the resume.
Though the CV may not be as well-known as the resume, it is a very relevant job seeking tool depending on your field. So before you prepare for your first – or next – career, let’s take a look at the differences between the resume and CV to help you determine which one is best for you.
The Major Differences
The purpose of both the resume and CV are similar: to provide insight into your qualifications as a potential employee. However, there are some major differences between them. A resume is a brief synopsis (one or two pages) of your professional strengths, typically including standard sections such as your objective (or executive summary), educational background, work history and additional skills. The CV goes into more depth in each section, and even looks at teaching and research you’ve conducted, works you’ve published, and major presentations. However, because this information is not relevant in many professions, the CV is usually used by those looking for academic, research, scientific, or medical positions that require a more comprehensive look at the applicant.
Writing Your CV
Your main goal when writing your CV should be to focus on all of your professional involvement from college onward. Luckily, with a CV you have no suggested page limits to worry about, so you can let loose on all of your accomplishments.
Much of your CV will look like a resume (name, address, contact info at the top, employment history, educational background, training and awards); however, you can also include sections that cover detailed professional skills, certifications, professional memberships, and even individuals you’ve mentored. The more skills and accomplishments you have, the more sections you can create to highlight them. Just make sure to keep them all organized and easy to find. Also, try to tailor your CV to each job you apply for (i.e. highlight more research accomplishments in research-driven positions). Placing your last name and page number at the top of each page is also recommended.
The Successful Resume
Though you may already be familiar with how to create a successful resume, you can always use more great tips to catch the attention of the hiring employer. For example, it is good to use action-oriented statements to describe your skills. So instead of saying, “Duties included assisting manager with documentation and organization of studies,” you might say, “Documented and developed electronic filing system for 10 studies on internal company growth conducted by the manager of organizational development, which were made accessible to the public via the company’s website.” Also, you’ll want to include keywords, like “pharma” or “tradeshows” that can showcase your knowledge of your field. And don’t forget to research the company you’re applying for to help match your skills to their mission.
Whether you’re using the resume or CV to fulfill your job seeking goals, it is important to maintain focus on your purpose, which is to market your skills and abilities. By doing so, you can move yourself that much closer to your desired position in the field you love.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and owner of who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end.

By College Recruiter
College Recruiter believes that every student and recent grad deserves a great career.