Article: Resume or Curriculum Vitae, Which One is Right for You?

Resume or Curriculum Vitae,
Which One is Right for You?

Perhaps you’ve heard about curriculum vitae, but you don’t know whether it would be a better choice for you than a resume. That’s a question some job hunters are weighing in today’s highly competitive job market. Let’s take a look at when it’s appropriate to use curriculum vitae.

First, a quick definition. A curriculum vitae means “course of one’s life.” It’s a document that gives much more detail than does a resume about your academic and professional accomplishments.

Whereas resumes are the preferred documents for applying to positions in business and industry, curricula vitae (plural form, noun) are often used for academic or research positions. They are also frequently used instead of a resume when applying for work with a company located outside the U.S.

While your resume – even for most experienced professionals – should be kept to one page, curriculum vitae are usually at least two pages and can be more. They include a lot more detail than resumes.

Common lengths for curriculum vitae are one to three pages for people with bachelor’s and master’s degrees; two to five pages for those with doctoral degrees; and five or more pages for experienced academicians and researchers.

Even though it’s a longer document, you should write concisely and craft a clean, easy-to-read layout. You can include any of the following items that are relevant to your background:

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

To determine whether you should create a curriculum vitae instead of a traditional resume, find out what’s preferred for your field. Organizations that prefer curriculum vitae will usually say so in their employment ads. You might find it worth your while to create both documents so you’re prepared to apply for all positions regardless of their application requirements.

      • In the U.S., curriculum vitae are commonly used in applying for positions like the following:
      • Admission to graduate school
      • Grant proposals
      • Teaching, research, and upper-level administrative positions in colleges and universities
      • Professional association leadership positions
      • Research and consulting positions in a variety of settings
      • High-level school administration positions, such as superintendent, principal, and department head

Need some ideas to help you succeed in your job search? Check out the book, Job Hunting in a Tough Economy. Learn more about the career book here.

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