1. WHAT IS A CV?
A curriculum vitae is a marketing document that gives a summary of a job seekers career history,
academic qualifications and also explains their future potential. Indeed the phrase ‘curriculum vitae’ is
Latin for ‘the story of your life’. It is also occasionally known as a resume, although this term is more
commonly used in America.
A completed CV aims to impress recruiters and is sent as a application to jobs adverts or as a speculative
approach to prospective companies.
CVs are valuable and important because they are your first and maybe only direct communication with a
potential employer. Presentation is key. For this reason alone it should be carefully thought out, designed
and written so that it makes an immediate positive impact on key decision makers. When a reader looks at
your resume they should be able to quickly gain a clear indication of your experiences and potential. Bear
in mind that the person reading it will never have met you, so keep it grammatically error free and
focused, as it will be seen as a reflection of you as a person.
To summarize your CV is essentially a marketing tool that gives you a opportunity to sell yourself and
your abilities to employers. It should have:
A positive outlook.
Clearly show those strengths and experiences that are most relevant to the job you are
Demonstrate your potential as a future potential employee.
What should a CV include
Your resume will be made up of a number of sections, these may vary depending on the length and
breadth of a candidates career. The essential and fundamental parts that every CV should include are:
Personal summary / Career objective
Areas of expertise
Aim your CV at winning a job interview
With some people there is a misconception that a CV alone will get you a job, this is a misunderstanding
of it’s role. No hiring manager will offer a prospective candidate a position just by looking at their
resume. Companies only use them to decide whom to interview. A CV is there to win you a interview and
it should be written with only that objective in mind.
Apart from applying for jobs, a CV is also useful for:
Reminding you of what you have done in your career.
Helping you to identify any weakness in your skills, work experience of qualifications.
Allowing you to reflect on your career to date, for instance seeing if you have achieved any
targets you previously set yourself.
Refreshing your mind before a job interview.
Setting the agenda for any future interviews.
2. In a CV presentation is everything
You could be the best qualified and most suitable applicant for a job, but if your CV is rambling,
disorganized and does not highlight your key abilities then you will probably be over looked. To be short
listed for a role format your curriculum vitae so it shows:
Keep your CV short and sweet
In the UK it is recommended that your CV be no longer than two pages. However in the USA a resume
can typically be a one page document. To help you save space only include factual information that is
relevant to the vacancy or accomplishments that you feel the employer would be interested in.
Keep your CV up to date
As you go through your career and working like you will gain new qualifications and skills, it’s therefore
important that you keep your resume updated. Modify it accordingly by adding any new skills or
qualifications that you have gained. This way it will give a modern overview of your achievements.
What Is a Resume?
A resume (or résumé, from French “to sum up”) is a short, concise document used for
job applications in the US and Canada. The purpose of a resume is to provide recruiters
with a brief overview of the candidate’s work history. A good resume should be targeted
at a specific job and one to two pages long.
Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume: Format and Content
The CV presents a full history of your academic credentials, so the length of the document is
variable. In contrast, a resume presents a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a
specific position, so length tends to be shorter and dictated by years of experience (generally 1-
CVs are used by individuals seeking fellowships, grants, postdoctoral positions, and
teaching/research positions in postsecondary institutions or high-level research positions in
industry. Graduate school applications typically request a CV, but in general are looking for a
resume that includes any publications and descriptions of research projects.
In many European countries, CV is used to describe all job application documents, including a
resume. In the United States and Canada, CV and resume are sometimes used
interchangeably. If you are not sure which kind of document to submit, it is best to ask for
Used when applying for a position in industry, non-profit, and public sector
Is no longer than 2 pages, with an additional page for publications and/or poster
presentations if highly relevant to the job
3. After 1 year of industry experience, lead with work experience and place education
section at the or near the end, depending upon qualifications
Emphasizes academic accomplishments
used when applying for positions in academia, fellowships and grants
Length depends upon experience and includes a complete list of publications, posters,
Always begins with education and can include name of advisor and dissertation title or
summary (see examples). Also used for merit/tenure review and sabbatical leave