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What is a CV?

In the U.S. and Canada, a Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is a detailed document that describes your professional and academic experiences and skills. It is usually 2 to 3 pages long but can span over 10 pages, when necessary, as a CV typically provides information related to your academic and research background.

Your CV will contain details about your education, professional history, publications, awards, honors, and other achievements. It should be updated every time you accomplish something new, whether academically or professionally. A CV is very detailed with a lot of sections and no bullet points and is formatted chronologically, starting with your educational experiences, for an accurate overview of your working career.

Your CV should be a complete summary of your professional and academic career with more emphasis placed on qualifications, such as education and certifications, rather than skills.

What should you include in a CV?

  • Contact information.
  • Professional Profile or Personal Statement.
  • Professional history, including academic appointments, teaching experience, work experience, research/lab experience, or graduate fieldwork.
  • Educational history, including academic degrees and qualifications.
  • Languages and skills.
  • Publications, including academic papers and books.
  • Awards and honors.
  • Grants and fellowships.
  • Conferences.
  • Non-academic activities.
  • Memberships.
  • References.

Your CV may include things that are not listed here or may not include things that are listed here. The important point is that your CV should encompass every relevant aspect of your professional and academic life and work experience.

Check out our guide to writing a CV for more information.

When should you use a CV?

In the U.S., CVs are generally used when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions as well as for research or fellowship grants. Basically, CVs are required for a job that needs a lot of information on your educational background. Some international positions also require a CV.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a brief summary of your work experience, key skills, and job-specific qualifications that is usually a single page but can span up to 2 pages. A resume focuses on work history, rather than academic success, and should also include a skills section relevant to the job you are applying for.

Resumes are tailored specifically to the job you are applying for. They are highly customizable and include only the education, skills, experience, and certifications that are relevant to that position. Resumes are competency-based, emphasizing how your skills can be useful for the job you are applying for.

A resume is often used to apply for a job together with a cover letter, which is used to build on the skills and experience listed in the resume.

There are different types of resumes which serve different purposes, including:

What should you include in a resume?

  • Your name and contact information.
  • Resume summary or resume objective.
  • Professional history.
  • Education.
  • Skills.
  • Additional sections, such as certifications, awards, or courses completed.

Check out our guide to writing a resume for more information.

When should you use a resume?

Resumes are used in the U.S. and Canada when applying for any kind of job.

Key Differences Between CVs and Resumes:

CV

Resume

A detailed document.

A brief summary.

No length limit.

Typically 1 to 2 pages long.

A static document.

A customizable document depending on the job being applied to.

Chronological overview of academic and professional career.

Only focuses on job-specific background and skills.

Used when applying for academia-based professions or opportunities.

Used when applying for any job.

Should always be updated with new achievements and so grows longer over time.

Should only be updated to tailor it towards specific jobs and so always remains 1 to 2 pages long.

International Differences in CVs and Resumes:

Only the U.S. and Canada have a distinct difference between what is a resume and what is a CV. In other parts of the world, "resume" and "CV" are both basically the same as the U.S. resume.

In most of Europe, a CV is taken to mean a brief document targeted at applying for specific jobs. In other words, it is the equivalent to the U.S. resume. They do not use the term "resume" at all. If a CV is required for academic purposes, it will generally be called an "academic CV."

In India and South Africa, resume and CV are used interchangeably and mean the same thing: a brief 1 to 2-page document similar to the U.S. resume.

The information included in these CVs differs depending on the country, but generally include photos, marital status, and salary information.

In Australia and New Zealand, a resume will typically be a 1-page document while a CV will be 2 to 3 pages. However, both will highlight work experience and will be used to apply for jobs.

In South Asia, a biodata is used. This is a document containing more personal, biographical data, including gender, race, date of birth, marital status, and salary information. However, recruiters in these areas may ask international applicants for a CV or a resume, where the U.S. style resume should be used.

If you are applying to an international post, it is best to use the U.S. resume format and provide extra information if it is requested.

FAQs:

Can a resume be used instead of a CV?

It depends on the job you are applying for. Resumes are typically used to apply for any job while CVs are used to apply for jobs, fellowships, or grants in academia.

What does CV stand for?

CV is the abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for "course of life." If a job ad asks for a CV, the recruiter expects to see a chronological overview of your work and academic life.

What is a CV document?

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is a detailed document that describes your professional and academic experiences and skills. It is usually 2 to 3 pages long but can span over 10 pages, when necessary, as a CV typically provides information related to your academic and research background.

Should I say resume or CV?

It depends on what you are using it for. A CV is a detailed document that provides a chronological overview of your academic and professional career while a resume is a brief summary of job-specific work experience and skills.

When should you use a CV?

CVs are generally used when applying for academic, education, scientific, medical, or research positions as well as for research or fellowship grants. However, some international positions also require a CV.

What is a resume?

A resume is a brief summary of your work experience, key skills, and job-specific qualifications that is usually 1 to 2 pages long. It focuses on work history, rather than academic success, and should also include a skills section relevant to the job you are applying for.

When should you use a resume?

Resumes are used in the U.S. and Canada when applying for any kind of job.

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