There’s a good chance that throughout your high school and college career you’ve heard how great extracurriculars and work experience will look on your resume, yet many people overlook the Curriculum Vitae (CV). You may be wondering: What is Curriculum Vitae? What does it do? Most importantly, why would you need one?
As a disclaimer, I would like to point out that CVs may look different depending on what country you’re in. Some countries consider the CV to be synonymous with a resume. For the purpose of this article, we’re discussing the CV by US standards.
Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae, what’s the difference?
A resume is typically a short (one to two page) document listing:
- Your contact information
- Work experiences
- Relevant qualifications or certifications
Resumes are short and punchy, often comprised of bullet points and fragment sentences. This is your 20-second elevator pitch about why you’re the best candidate for an open position, meaning, if you have a lot of relevant experience and qualifications, you’ll need to be selective with what you include on your resume. Resumes are the most commonly requested document when applying for jobs outside of the academic or medical field. By contrast, a CV is much longer.
CVs typically consist of:
- Your contact information
- Education/academic history
- Professional academic experiences
- Publications (books, book chapters, peer-reviewed publications, etc.)
- Honors and awards
- Grants and fellowships
- Conference presentations
- Teaching experiences
- Research experiences
- Languages and skills
- Memberships/professional associations
- Non-academic experiences/volunteer work
For a full CV, you should include all of your information, experiences, and qualifications, not just the information relevant for the position you’re applying for. Unlike a resume, you will generally have more space to elaborate on your experiences and responsibilities within each section. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be writing an 8-page paper for each experience you list on your CV; however, it does allow you to explore your duties and responsibilities with greater detail and fewer bullet points than on a resume. As you may expect based on the information included on your CV, these documents are most often used in academic positions; you’ll most likely submit a CV when applying for various teaching and research positions or when applying to graduate school.
This leaves us with the question: Do I need a CV?
You may need to provide a CV if you plan to apply to:
- Graduate school
- Become a teacher
- Become a college professor
- Become a researcher or research assistant
- Enter the science field
- Become a lawyer
- Become a senior-level executive
- Become an art curator
- Enter the medical field
- A job in another country
Even if you don’t believe you’ll be applying to a position requesting a CV, it may be a good idea to have one drafted anyway. Any position where your academic background may hold more weight than your specific work experience could request a CV in place of or in addition to a resume. Additionally, a CV can act as a running list of experiences so you can have all the information you need for updating and refining your resume in one place!