Most job applications require a résumé, but applicants for some academic positions, and others that require advanced degrees, may be required to submit a cv. Cv is the abbreviation of curriculum vitae, a Latin expression that can be translated literally as course of life.
A cv traditionally lists all academic and professional achievements, including all degrees and certificates, scholarships and awards, professional memberships, and employment history in detail.
A résumé, on the other hand, is limited to those qualifications relevant for a particular job. For that reason and because employers probably favor applications that are clear and will not take up too much of their time, a successful résumé is brief—not more than two pages—and carefully crafted, highlighting the experience and education that an applicant wants to put directly in front of the potential employer.
Organizing a Résumé
Résumés are usually functional or chronological.
Most résumés are organized chronologically with the most recent employment and education listed first.
If a chronological résumé does not put first best the features of employment or education that you want the reader to see, functional organization is an option. A functional résumé, focuses on what is considered the most relevant of an applicant's qualifications for a job instead of the most recent, and is often used when an applicant has a special skill that should be highlighted.
The functional style can make an applicant's age less obvious than a chronological résumé, and so it is sometimes favored by applicants for that reason. The functional style may also be used by an applicant who is changing careers and who wants to make recent work less conspicuous.
See the web for additional styles, including examples of graphic designer résumés in which applicants showcase some of their designer skills or attach a portfolio of their work.
What a Résumé Includes
• Who are you? Make your name and position sought prominent. Following your name, put the title of the job you are applying for. Avoid phrases like "employment goal" or "objective." That may suggest to some that you are not quite ready for the position.
• Employment background comes next. In a résumé it is usually not necessary to list your entire job history, unless the list is short and very relevant.
• Education and training come after employment. In addition to degrees and certificates, list "Additional Skills" under a subheading. This is a good place to mention computer software that you have become proficient in using, or other abilities, such as foreign languages, that will contribute to the job you are seeking. If you are not sure what skills you should list here, ask a friend who knows you well. Sometimes we forget some of the skills we have after they have become second nature.
• Under the major heading "Volunteer or Intern Work," list any work you did as an unpaid intern or as a volunteer.
• Under the major heading "Personal," list hobbies or special interests. They may not be particularly relevant to the position you are applying for, but interests and hobbies do give a potential employer some insight into the personality of an applicant.
• Finally, list contact information.
• Many applicants end a résumé with "references upon request."
The best résumé is custom designed for a specific employer. Every job opening and employer is different and for that reason it is not a good practice to submit a résumé without customizing it for a particular position and company or organization.
PDF files are ideal for submitting a résumé because of all the creative things that can be done with them, and PDFs can display any font or design on both Mac and Windows platforms. Also PDF files can easily be enlarged on a monitor for online viewing purposes.
The first two examples below contrast a cv and a résumé. Notice that a cv lists education first and is more lengthy than a résumé, and for some professional positions that require the listing of publications, a cv can go on for pages.
Curriculum vitae (cv)
Résumé version of the cv above.
Résumé for a recently graduated teacher.
Single page résumé for a recently graduated registered nurse.