• RSS Feed

The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

August 27, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

What’s a CV and when should it be used instead of a resume?

Many people don’t realize that there is more than one way to apply for a job. Depending on the position, a resume isn’t always the most suitable option. Choosing incorrectly may negatively impact your chances of getting an interview and ultimately getting hired.

So what are your choices? Everyone is familiar with the resume – that one page document that highlights your skills and employment history. A resume is used the majority of times when applying for a job in the United States.

Another option is the curriculum vitæ – which means “Course of Life” in Latin. Most commonly called a CV, this is typically used to apply for academic and research positions. Hiring managers for these high-level positions will be looking for CVs from applicants, so be sure to send one when appropriate.

A CV differs greatly from a resume. While brevity is key when developing a stellar resume, a CV is much longer and more detailed. It will chronologically summarize all your educational, academic and employment history. A CV will also detail published work, key presentations, awards, honors and affiliations.

Resume key components:

  • Brief and concise.
  • One page, two maximum.
  • Can and should be customized for each job application.
  • Does not have to be chronological.
  • Does not need to cover your entire career.
  • Is typically submitted with a customizable cover letter.

Curriculum vitæ key components:

  • Long and detailed.
  • Two pages minimum, five maximum.
  • Lists all career history including teaching and research experience.
  • Is always chronological.
  • Is static – the same CV is used for different applications.
  • Any customization takes place in the cover letter.

In the United States and Canada, academic and researching hiring managers may expect a CV, but in many countries around the world, a CV is the primary way to apply for any type of job. For example, in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, resumes are not used and a CV is expected. If you’re unsure which is appropriate, feel free to ask. It’s best to be proactive rather than apply incorrectly. Sometimes there may even be directions listed on the application section of the organization’s website.

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your resume or if you’ve never written a CV before and aren’t sure where to start, there are a variety of resources available to help. For resume best practices, check out this Forbes article and remember that many college career centers offer free resume reviews to graduates. To start developing a standout CV, visit www.CVtips.com and check out this BBC article. You can also search for samples of CV formats for different countries to get ideas if applying internationally.