What is a Curriculum Vitae?

What is a "Curriculum Vitae"

Whether you are a student, graduate or an experienced employee sooner or later you will inevitably face the need of writing your own curriculum vitae. And it is better you are prepared and know what is it and how you should write one. Although there are many articles on curriculum vitae online, we decided to provide this kind of information in a somewhat condensed format to help our readers understand the basics of this document. We will also address some of the most common misunderstandings related to curriculum vitae and its purposes in this article. So if you would like to get to know more about the document that may change your career (and eventually your life) you may want to keep reading this.

A Document to Define Your Career

A “curriculum vitae” expression derives from Latin language and literally means “course of life”. However, today it is not quite a biographical or autobiographical document. A curriculum vitae (often referred to as a CV) is a document used mostly for job application purposes that contains information about one's professional experience and qualifications. So in some sense, it is a course of life document only concentrating on its professional part (career), not on personal matters.

When people are asking about what is a “Curriculum Vitae” they often mean to question how to write one. Since we have already provided a curriculum vitae definition above we would like now to shift our attention to some practical recommendations on how to develop an effective CV. If you want to know about what is a "Curriculum Vitae" in detail you are welcome to browse some websites. There are plenty of resources offering a very detailed description and history of this job application document.

Now as we have mentioned before, a CV is mostly used for job application purposes. Employers require a CV to be submitted in order for a candidate to be considered for the position. If a CV is good enough in the eyes of employers, an applicant might receive an invitation for an interview. To prepare a well-written CV is then a crucial task of job seekers since depending on the quality of the application documents one will either obtain a good job or be forever in the job search process. It all boils down then to how you write your curriculum vitae.

Every CV Should Contain the Following Information

  • personal and contact information (first name, last name, phone number, email address)
  • educational credentials (including certifications, licenses, etc.)
  • professional experience (past employments with the list of accomplishments/responsibilities for every position held)
  • other activities (research conducted, articles are written, etc.)
  • technical/language skills
  • volunteer work
  • memberships and affiliations

These are basically the sections that make up a good CV. It is important that all of these blocks of information were relevant to the position you are applying to. This way employers will be able to make a clear connection between what you can do and what they need to be done within their organization. Failure to be relevant on a CV frequently leads to the loss of interest on behalf of employers. So job seekers shouldn't take CV writing lightly because one's future career may depend on this single document.

The Difference Between a Curriculum Vitae and a Resume

Sometimes you can hear the terms ''curriculum vitae'' and ''resume'' used interchangeably. Some people don't differentiate really between these two although there is a difference. In the United States particularly, a curriculum vitae means a document used mostly in academic and medical environments the content of which is concentrated mostly on one's education and publications. A resume then is a shorter overview of one's professional experience and qualifications. In the United Kingdom, a CV is more like a resume for the Americans. It is a brief summary of employment history and education. However, even in these countries, the terms are used sometimes interchangeably so you have to be careful to understand in what context these terms are used.

Both a resume and CV, however, are to be relevant in the eyes of employers. That is requirement #1 for writing an effective job application document. That stands true for resumes, CVs and cover letters. That should be a primary focus for job seekers when writing these documents. Knowing what is a CV and resume and how to develop effective application documents you must be equipped to deliver high-quality writing whenever such need arises.

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