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Career Coach

CV or Resume: Which Should I Send?

Published January 13, 2011 2:38 PM by Renee Dahring
What’s the difference between a CV and a resume? These terms confuse almost everyone, not just job seekers. I have heard just as many recruiters and hiring managers use the terms incorrectly. Just a few days ago I was chatting with a colleague about job applicants and what sorts of errors she sees when reviewing resumes. She most emphatically told me, “Well, the first thing is that they should be sending a CV and NOT a resume.” OK, good information. But when I asked why she replied “resumes are just too long and contain information about the applicant I am not really interested in knowing.” Oops: I think she has her definitions mixed up. 

“CV” is short for curriculum vitae which means “course of life.”  It differs from a resume because it is considerably longer and more in depth than a resume. CVs can easily be 4 or more pages long. When preparing a CV you will list your education and degree as well but will provide much more detail about what you did during while in school (special projects or studies). In a CV you will also list all articles you have published, presentations or speaking engagements, additional courses you have attended as well as grants or research you have conducted. CVs are typically required for those seeking jobs in academia or in research because a CV puts greater emphasis on additional learning and education.

On the other hand, a resume is what you should create when applying for most clinical jobs. Resumes are much shorter (I recommend one page but definitely no longer than two pages) and they are focused more on your work history and duties. Your education is also listed but it is sufficient to state only the name of the institution and the date and type of degree. It is not necessary to list the title and subject of your master’s thesis or capstone project.  If you are a new grad looking for your first job, it’s acceptable to outline your clinical rotations but after that it’s not appropriate.

So if job ads and hiring managers use the wrong terms, how can you ever hope to know what it is they really want from you? I advise looking at the position and judging whether it’s a teaching or research position or a clinical position. If it's a teaching or research position, use a CV, and if it’s a clinical position, use a resume. 

Don’t get hung up on what they are calling it, focus instead on your content and tailoring it to the job. Let them call it whatever they wish.

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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