by Michal Marcol

Definitely Not Me, But You Get the Point

Having officially begun a research endeavor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, I have found myself repeatedly requested to supply a “CV” – a Curriculum Vitae” – and decided that from now on, I shall comply.  Maybe it will help me get a job somewhere down the line without having to compile a CV overnight.

Previously, I had contented myself with the simple resume – short, to the point, and never more than two concise pages (one of which was expendable).  I rotated out my oldest or most irrelevant experiences every time I had something new to add, and each detail was customized to best portray my skill set for the position for which I was applying.

What is the difference between a resume and a CV?

Initially, the primary difference appears to be length and thoroughness.  In some areas of the world, the two words may be interchangeable, but in the US, “CV” is often used to describe a document that records every significant career experience, publication, research endeavor, education and certification, and other relevant tidbit about the individual that might display favorable characteristics.

In the world of research, writing, and universities, it appears that CVs are the standard currency for conveying information about experience and qualifications.  They function as a portfolio and a more extensive representation of accomplishments.

Contents of a CV

After performing some basic research, I found that CVs typically contain the following categories, often in-depth:

  • Contact Information and Citizenship
  • Employment History and Responsibilities/Achievements
  • Education
  • Continuing Education and Professional Training
  • Professional Certifications
  • Publications or Condensed Portfolio
  • Honors, Awards, and Accomplishments
  • Professional Memberships and Societies
  • Research Experiences (as applicable)
  • Relevant or Significant Volunteer Experiences
  • Teaching Experiences (as applicable)
  • Mentoring Relationships

The Purpose of a Curriculum Vitae

The benefit of a CV over a resume, in my opinion, includes the opportunity to keep a running, complete tally of qualifications and accomplishments that demonstrate your full range of experiences.  It should function as a portfolio or a record of your professional (and sometimes extracurricular) endeavors.

The style and order of your CV may depend on the type of career you are trying to pursue and which characteristics or experiences you would like to highlight or display upfront to a potential client or new boss.

How Do You Write a CV?

When in doubt, write it down.  Write out all of your professional and scholarly experiences in an organized fashion, divided by category.  If you later determine you have too much information or some truly irrelevant experiences included, you can always weed it out prior to submission to a potential employer.

I looked at the CV of my lab’s principle investigator when creating mine and found the process relatively simple (the only trouble I had was in recalling everything to write down!).  Once I have it all polished and complete, I will be tailoring it for Elance and LinkedIn.  I definitely suggest following a template for the style, content, and depth of your own CV so that you can go through each category of the example as you create your own, as well as to get a feel of what is appropriate for your field or experience level.

Good luck!

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