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Understanding the Differences between a CV and a Resume

May 11, 2008
A number of people make the mistake of thinking that a curriculum vitae and a resume are the same thing but they are not. Some people are aware that the two differ but they are unaware about how that affects their job application prospects. If you fall into one of these categories or you just want more clarification, then you have chosen the wiser path which will serve your purposes better in future and keep you better informed about the career seeking process.

The curriculum vitae documents are more popular outside the shores of the United States where they tend to serve the purpose that resumes do. If you were applying for an international position in the United Kingdom instead of the United States, a smarter idea would be to send in curriculum vitae instead of a resume.

The United States isn't a country with complete aversion to curriculum vitae; there are certain job conditions where you would be required to send in a CV instead of a resume. If you are looking for a job in academia, say perhaps as a professor at a college or university, then you would need a CV instead of a resume. Other than the academic field, if you are an employee in the fields of research in any subject and especially in the medical field and you're looking for a fellowship, residency position or admission to a PhD program; you would need a CV instead of a resume. One last case is also if you have been published and made presentations frequently, in this case a CV would be preferred as well.

There are a lot of differences between CV's and resumes. CV's are usually much more detailed than resumes and more so abroad than in the United States, they usually include just about every detail about the prospective candidate as possible. Such CV's may even range from 10 pages or more and will include information about educational and academic backgrounds as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations and other details.

A resume is basically a one or two page version that is a summary of everything that would ordinarily be present in a CV. Most resumes will normally cover your skill set as well as your experience and your education.

Never send in a resume instead of a CV if you are applying for jobs abroad. In the case of job applications in the United States always send a resume except when a CV is explicitly requested. For the CV's you can make sure everything is as detailed as possible as that is the usual requirement while in the case of the resume it would be a smart idea to keep everything short and concise. You should ensure that you don't spend too much word power on explaining a few details, cover everything in a summary like form to give your prospective employer a detailed insight into your various qualifications as well as your experience and the reason why you would be the best person for the prospective job under consideration.
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