A Comprehensive Guide to Writing a CV [CV vs. Resume, Full Form of CV Definition]

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Many people often mistake the full meaning of a CV for a resume since they are both commonly defined as documents required for an application. 

While a resume is used for general job applications and is more common in the US, Australia, and Canada, a CV (Curriculum Vitae), on the other hand, is used for job application in academic, education, scientific, medical, or research fields. Hence, a CV is usually longer and includes more detailed information compared to a resume.

There are more remarkable distinctions between these two documents - which will be explained further in this article. We'll walk you through everything CV in this article, from the full form of CV explanation to how to write a CV for general and academic job applications.

Without further ado, let's jump right in!

What Is a CV? – Full Form, Definition, Types, Examples

The full form of a CV is "Curriculum Vitae," a Latin term meaning "course of life." A CV is used to showcase a candidate's qualifications, experience, and accomplishments throughout their academic and professional career. By reading a CV, a hiring manager can determine whether or not an individual is qualified for the vacancy.

In general, the term "CV" is used everywhere in the world, including the UK, New Zealand, the European Union, and Asia. A CV can also go under different names in different countries, such as biography, employment record, or "biodata" in India.

There are two major types of CVs that you need to know: academic CV and job application CV. They are categorized based on the purpose of use. Let's have a quick look!

Academic CV

An academic CV is explicitly written for academic purposes and emphasizes your contributions to a particular field of study or practice. These contributions include publications, projects, achievements, awards, honors, etc. 

If you are applying for a position in education, science, medicine, or research, you must provide a comprehensive academic CV. And if you aspire to be a researcher or pursue higher degree programs such as a Master's or Ph.D., using this CV type is also advisable.

Job Application CV

A job application CV can be used for a job search and application in nearly all industries. It emphasizes the job seeker's work experience, skills, accomplishments, and educational background. This type of CV is particularly useful for executives and high-level professionals.

What Is a Resume?

The term resume is French for "summary," referring to a document used for summarizing one's experience that is relevant to the job they're applying for. A resume is usually paired with a cover letter to express motivation for the job and explain why the applicant is a good fit for the company.

The purpose of resumes is to give your potential employer a brief overview of your competencies, work experience, and achievements in the field. In most cases, recruiters and employers prefer a concise resume without a lot of extraneous information. As they only spend approximately six seconds reading a resume, you should keep it short but still cover all necessary information. 

Read this article to learn more about resume.

CV vs. Resume – The Key Differences & When to Use

Now that you understand the fundamental distinctions between a CV and a Resume, let's examine them in greater detail. Pay attention to the differences in content, length, and when they should be used.

CV

  • Purpose: Applying for academic positions.
  • Content: Personal details, academic background, work experience, extracurricular activities, and accomplishments. 
  • Length: No limit, depending on the amount of information included in the CV.
  • Design Layout: Minimal and simple 
  • Country Region: Globally, Asia, the EU, and New Zealand.

Resume

  • Purpose: Applying for jobs.
  • Content: Information relevant to the specific position, such as areas of expertise, skills, and work experience.
  • Length: 1 to 2 pages.
  • Design Layout: Vary from field to field with different resume formats
  • Country Region: US, Australia, and Canada

How to Write an Academic CV

1. Contact Information

The first thing you must include in a CV is your personal information and contact information. This includes your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Additionally, you may want to include your LinkedIn profile or other professional social media accounts if they are relevant to your field.

2. Personal Statement

A well-written personal statement is indispensable when pursuing higher education or applying for an academic position. It can help highlight the educational background and qualifications, personal traits, and other academic achievements in the first place.

Personal Statement Example in a Master Program Application

“Final-year law student at Florida State University with strong organizational skills and the ability to speak good English, Spanish, and French. Placed second in the Wayne Law 2020 Spring Moot Court In-House Competition. Eager to earn an LL. M. at Vermont Law School.”

3. Education

This section is a crucial part of an academic CV, as school advisors and recruiters want to see whether you have obtained fundamental knowledge of the field or required courses. When writing this section, you should follow the standard format of any education section on a resume

Another side note is that you should also include your relevant coursework or thesis title if related to the position you’re applying for.

4. Publications 

Here is the list of types of publications that you can include in an academic CV

  • Research papers
  • Peer-reviewed publications
  • Books/Book chapters
  • Book reviews
  • Articles

For each type, provide all details, including the title, journal title, publication date, and page numbers (if relevant).

5. Awards

Besides publications, you can also highlight your academic accomplishments from school to strengthen your position.

  • A high GPA
  • Dean’s List
  • Scholarships
  • Honor Roll
  • Awards won for a specific activity or course

6. Grants & Fellowships

It is important to include research grants and fellowships in an academic CV since they are awards that graduate students and postgraduate scholars compete for. These awards are given based on their potential to make a positive and lasting impact in their academic field and can support graduate study, scholarly research, or professional development. Fellowships are available in all fields and for individuals at any career stage, from undergraduate study to executive leadership development programs.

For these reasons, you can strengthen your CV with this section. Here's what to write in the grants and fellowships section in an academic CV:

  • Program title 
  • Start and end date
  • What you have done and accomplished

7. Conferences & Presentations

You can include a list of the presentations and talks you've given, including poster presentations. Additionally, any conferences or panels you've organized can give you an advantage over others.

8. Experiences

In your academic CV, you can include any relevant experience you have in teaching or research/lab work. When describing your teaching experience, highlight your skills and explain how they relate to the job you are applying for. If you are a science student or research scientist, showcase your knowledge and skills related to research or lab work in this section of your CV.

You can refer to this teacher resume writing guideline to know what and how to write.

9. Non-Academic Activities

In addition to academic experiences, sharing non-academic information can also showcase your capabilities. Here are some examples:

  • Internship
  • Volunteer work
  • Personal projects
  • Extracurricular clubs/teams

10. Languages & Other Skills

In addition to providing a detailed CV, showcasing your language abilities is also helpful. Consider adding your proficiency level when mentioning your other language skills (intermediate, advanced, professional working, or native/bilingual).

You can refer to this article for more details about language skills and proficiency levels on your resume and CV.

When crafting a CV, it's crucial to highlight your computer skills and other transferable skills that you've gained through education, internships, volunteering, and previous work experiences. These highly valuable skills can be utilized in various job roles and industries. 

For more details on how to write an academic CV, we have a separate article to walk you through a writing guidelines on how to write an academic CV

Now that you know everything about academic CV, let's move on to how to write a CV when applying for a job

How to Write a CV for Job Applications

1. Contact Information

Same as the academic CV, you must include your contact information in a job application CV so that recruiters know how to contact you. Contact information must include:

  • Full name 
  • Professional title
  • Email
  • Phone number 
  • Complete address (optional) 
  • Social media page or personal website (optional)

Make sure to provide accurate details and a professional email address to ensure a successful recruitment process.

2. Career Objective

This can go by the name of a personal statement, career objective, or summary of qualifications. This part is placed at the top of your CV and provides a summary of your skills and qualifications relevant to the job opening. Think about it as a self-introduction to hiring managers in order that they want to read on to know more about you.

3. Work Experiences

4 basic elements to include in the work experience section are: 

  • Organization/company name and its location
  • Job title
  • Your employment period
  • Job responsibilities and accomplishments 

💡 Tip: You could also include part-time, contract, and freelance work as long as you can illustrate your skills.  

Read this article to learn more about how to write a work experience section on your resume/CV.

4. Education

If you're a fresh graduate, it's essential to include detailed information about your educational background, highlighting the key learning and skills you acquired during your education. Remember to put this part before the employment/work experience section. In this section, you should cover the following elements:

  • School name (with location)
  • Degree level
  • Major & minor
  • Graduation year
  • GPA (recommended if it’s high)
  • Relevant coursework (recommended if it’s beneficial for your application) 
  • Academic honors (award, scholarship, publication)

And if you're an experienced professional, consider going brief on this section, especially if you have three to five years of experience.

💡 Tip: Avoid listing your GPA unless you have 3.5 and above.

5. Awards & Honors

Awards and honors which you have earned for going beyond average either in your studies or on the job should also be mentioned. Here are some examples of career-related prizes that can make your CV stand out from the crowd:

  • Employee of the Month/Year
  • Top Performer
  • Employees' Choice Award
  • Student honors

To make your CV even more specific and convincing, including measurable achievements/responsibilities that led to receiving the award or honor would be beneficial.

6. Publications

When applying for academic, research, or science jobs, it is crucial to showcase your published papers and contributions. This will showcase your expertise and exceptional research and writing abilities.

Learn how to list publications on resume with recommended formats and example.

💡 Tip: When listing publications in a CV, consistent formatting is key

7. Conferences & Presentations

As long as the presentations you've made or conferences you've attended are relevant to the job requirements, adding them to your CV is always a good idea. Here are some great examples of conferences and presentations listed on a CV:

  • Constitutional Law Colloquium, Houston, TX, October 2021
  • Business Analytics and Decision Sciences Conference, Chang Gung University, Taiwan, August 2020

8. Skills

As a job seeker, it's important to showcase your skills on CV/resume to hiring managers. To increase your chances of being considered for a position, it's recommended to list both soft and hard skills. Aim for five bullet points for each category.

There are also 3 ways to structure the skills section:

  • Expanded bullet list
  • Integrated with work experience
  • Categorized skills section 

A job application CV is somewhat similar to a resume, if you want to know more, learn how to write a resume with our ultimate writing guide and tips! We also recommend you to look at this resume format to know which one to choose when creating a job application CV.

So, we hope that this article has been helpful to you. Let's have a quick recap:

🔑  Key Takeaways:

  • A CV full form is "Curriculum Vitae";
  • It focuses mainly on the academic aspect, but can also be use to summarize your whole career in detail;
  • A CV and a resume differ in terms of length, content, and intended use.
  • A CV is one of the most important application documents across the globe, including Asia, the UK, the European Union, and New Zealand.  

CakeResume is an online resume builder that allows anyone to create professional CV and resume. With its user-friendly interface, the solution enables users to easily customize their resumes using a drag-and-drop editor and various prebuilt design templates. The platform is suitable for people of different backgrounds and levels of experience, from fresh graduates to experienced professionals.

Start landing your dream job with CakeResume today!

--- Originally written by May Luong ---

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