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Video:What Is a Curriculum Vitae?

with Christopher Berrien

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is not synonymous with a resume. Find out what type of information goes on a CV and when to appy with a CV rather than a resume in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is a Curriculum Vitae?

Hi, this is Christopher Berrien for About.com, and today we're going to talk about what is a curriculum vitae.

Difference Between a CV and a Resume

In America, some people are uncertain of what a curriculum vitae is, or what it's used for. The curriculum vitae is a Latin term meaning courses of life. It is commonly abbreviated as CV. It is not necessarily the same thing as, or a replacement for, a resume.

In America, the CV is deliberately aimed at academia, medical and other educational fields. Compared to a resume, the CV is far more explicitly focused on one's education and accomplishments. A CV in the United States is expected to include a fully comprehensive presentation of your entire employment, educational and professional history. Some fields may require samples of work. This is different from a resume, where brevity and key facts are preferred.

What Information Goes on a CV

At the same time, a CV can still be too verbose. You want to balance providing all the needed information without getting too wordy. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Focus on your academic background, professional experience, research, abilities, skills, volunteer work. Include references.

Because of the vast amount of information included in the CV, the document can run for many pages - and certainly at least two. It is expected to be frequently updated. There is no particular format to a CV. The European version of the CV is different - in many ways, closer to what Americans would recognize as a resume. However, an emphasis on education and professional accomplishments is a key feature on the European CV as well.

It is generally much more common for European employers to expect a CV than in North America. The CV alone is not necessarily the only document expected when applying for a position. Some employers and grant requests will require their own forms and documentation, accompanying or even superseding a CV.

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