A CV or curriculum vitae is a document that describes your achievements used in the job search process to impress employers. It is similar to a resume except that it is usually longer and tends to focus on academic success and research. In this article, you will learn the answers to questions like
- What is CV?
- Why is a CV important?
- What is the difference between a CV and a resume?
- How to write a CV?
- How does a CV example look?
- What is a CV template?
- What are some of the tips and tricks for writing a CV?
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What Is a CV?
CV meaning and CV definition can diffent from country to country. Generally, a CV is a document used by job-seekers that provides background information to potential employers. In North America and Europe, a CV is different from a resume and is used mainly for jobs in academia, research, and medicine. A CV focuses on academic achievements, publications, awards, certifications, talks, lectures, etc. They can be between 3 to 10 pages in length depending on the amount of experience a person has. In Asia, CV and resume are used interchangeably so it is important to make sure you know what is required when applying for jobs in those countries.
Why Is a CV Important?
CV stands for “curriculum vitae”, meaning course of life in Latin. A well-written CV shows the course of academic achievements and other noteworthy events related to the job description or role. Candidates who put time and effort into writing an interesting and extensive CV have a much higher chance of getting the position they want. Since a CV is much longer than a resume it is an opportunity to include diverse but relevant experience related to your profession.
CV Versus Resume
There are a few factors that make a difference in a resume vs CV comparison.
The first thing to take note of is that different places have different resume/CV meaning. In North America, a resume is a one-page document that describes professional achievements to help applicants succeed in the hiring process. A CV is a longer document used for jobs in academia, medicine, and when applying for grants, etc.
In other parts of the world, CV versus resume comparison has a different twist to it. The words CV and resume mean the same thing. CVs are usually longer than resumes - whereas a resume is usually one page long, a CV is usually at least three pages long.
Resumes use specific information about a person that makes them a strong candidate for the job, CVs include all educational and academic achievements. CV writing is very different from resume writing, with a different structure, format, and tone.
How to Write a CV
Now that you know the answer to the question of 'What's a CV?', let's get into how to write a CV. There is a standard structure for CV writing with many different sections, and as long as you follow the format all you have to do is fill in the information.
The first thing you need to include just below your name is your contact information. This usually means your email address and phone number but can also include your address on resume and Linkedin profile or website depending on whether it is a CV for job or for academia. This is how the potential employer will get in touch with you so make sure that you use a professional email and if you include your address only include your State, City, and ZIP code.
Here is where you list your academic history starting with the most recent and going back as far as high school. Include the name of the degree, the name of the institution, and the graduating year. You can include GPAs and honors but it isn't required because in a CV other qualifications and experiences are more important. The importance of the education section is based on the career or business you are applying for.
Skills and Qualifications
This is where you put down your hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are measurable skills for which you have some sort of proof like knowledge of a coding language. Soft skills are talents you possess that are difficult to measure like leadership. Rather than just listing skills, it is better to use short descriptions that highlight how you used those skills to make an impact and what responsibilities you had while being a team leader.
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Publications and Presentations
This section is the most important when applying for a postgraduate degree or an academic position involving research. Here, you list all the times you have been published in scientific journals, articles, books, and research. When listing publications the format is - authors, date published, summary, volume, page, and Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number. For presentations, the format is - title, date, name of conference or event, and location. Include as many relevant publications and presentations as possible going back to high school.
Honors, Awards, and Grants
This is the section where you talk about past honors, awards, and grants. This section is useful to show your past achievements as a job applicant. This is less important for a job application CV for the business world and more important for getting further grants or positions in academia because it shows that you have done better than the competition in the past. The format is - award name, year received, name of the organization, other details about the award.
Associations and affiliations
This is where you put down membership to any prestigious associations and links with professional or academic groups. This section is important for both academia and for job hunting because it shows the network you are a part of and what you can bring to the table. Companies are interested in people who can connect them with Influential groups. The format is - the name of the organization, dates of membership, location.
3452 Maple Drive, New York, NY 11111
Doctor of Social Sciences, 2020
Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Associate Professor of psychology, 2020–2022
Taught undergraduate courses in social sciences
Student advisor for international students
Skills and qualifications
English and French
Awards and honors
Social science award 1, 2021
Social science award 2, 2022
Publications and presentations
Carpenter, J., Adele, L., Smith, K., Magson, B., (2021) “The effects of virtual learning on adolescent self-esteem.” Journal of Psychology. 186: 8765-87657.
Professional associations and affiliations
American Association of social sciences (2020–Present)
Psychologists for change (2018–Present)
Website or LinkedIn
Title, Publication name, date, page numbers, DOI
Presentation Title, Conference, Date, Location
Organization or Employer
Description of duties and responsibilities
Skills and certifications
List of hard and soft skills
Name of certificates and awarding organization
Awards and honors
List of awards and honors
A list of important associations and affiliations
CV Writing Tips
Most people have experience writing a resume, but writing a CV is very different. The CV format given above is a good template to follow but always keep in mind the difference between a CV and a resume when writing a CV. An academic CV will be different than a CV meant for a business job, but in general, keep these things in mind:
- Tailor-make each CV for the position you are applying for. This doesn't just mean including different pieces of information but also changing the order of sections based on what you believe is more important in a way that emphasizes your strengths.
- Because there is no upper limit to how long a CV can be you may be tempted to cram in as much information as possible. This is a mistake. Only include relevant information for the job you are applying for, otherwise, your particular strengths as a candidate might be diluted.
- Most organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to quickly accept or reject CVs and resumes, so include as many keywords as possible. Make sure you understand how ATS works and make sure your CV is ATS friendly.
Here are the main takeaways you should remember from this article:
- Keep in mind the key differences between curriculum vitae vs resume
- Follow a template but don't be afraid to move sections around
- Make sure the information you include is relevant to the position you are applying for
An excellent CV will massively increase your chances of getting the position that you want, so it is worth getting as much help as possible. You can always use a professional cover letter writing service to craft a perfect CV, resume, or cover letter for you that will guarantee more interviews.