What is Curricula Vitae: How are resumes and CVs different?

Curricula Vitae

Curricula vitae (CVs) are very different from resumes and are only used in certain positions and industries. CVs provide a detailed statement of your qualifications.

How are resumes and CVs different?
A resume provides a short summary of your relevant qualifications. A CV is more biographical in nature. Resumes are usually limited in length; CVs can be much longer. Resumes are usually written for a specific type of position; CVs are generally not targeted.

CVs are most often used in higher education, science, and medicine. CVs are also used extensively in other countries. You may wish to develop one if you seek international employment

Curricula Vitae Guidelines
Curricula vitae, or CV, are documents that give much more detail than does a resume about your academic and professional accomplishments. They are most often used for academic or research positions, whereas resumes are the preferred documents in business and industry. Note: “vitae” (vee-tie) is the plural form; “vita” (vee-tuh) is singular. Vitae are commonly used in applying for the following:

  • Admission to graduate school or as part of an application packet for a graduate assistantship or scholarship.
  • Grant proposals.
  • Teaching, research, and upper-level administrative positions in higher education.
  • Academic departmental and tenure reviews.
  • College or university service appointments.
  • Professional association leadership positions.
  • Speaking engagements.
  • Publishing and editorial review boards.
  • Research and consulting positions in a variety of settings.
  • School administration positions at the superintendent, principal, or department head level.

While your resume should be kept to one page, vitae are usually two pages at the shortest, and can be many pages in length. Common lengths for curriculum vitae are one to three pages for bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates; two to five pages for doctoral candidates; and five or more pages for an experienced academician or researcher. Even though it’s a longer document, write it concisely and give it a clean, easy-to-read layout. A curriculum vita includes information about professional publications, presentations, committee work, grants received, and other details based on each person’s experience. You can include:

  • Education
  • Master’s thesis or project
  • Dissertation title or topic
  • Course highlights or areas of concentration in graduate study
  • Teaching experience and interests
  • Research experience and interests
  • Consulting experience
  • Internships or graduate practica
  • Fieldwork
  • Publications
  • Professional papers and presentations
  • Grants received
  • Professional association and committee leadership positions and activities
  • Certificates and licensure
  • Special training
  • Academic awards, scholarships, and fellowships
  • Foreign study and travel abroad
  • Language competencies
  • Technical and computer skills

Although curricula vitae are often similar to resumes, the preferred style, format, and content varies from discipline to discipline. Before writing a CV, you should become familiar with the requirements of your academic field by asking faculty members in your department, asking fellow professionals or contacting professional associations for additional guidelines and examples.

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