CV or Resume—Which Do You Need?

I often find my executive and higher education clients referring to their resume as a CV. While many of them do use a curriculum vitae, often the term is misconstrued with an executive resume. When it comes to a CV or resume, which do you need?

Who Needs a CV? A CV is typically designated for use by science, medical and faculty professionals. It runs anywhere from a few pages to several hundred in length. It also contains detailed biographical data, along with research, publications, presentations and teaching engagements. It may also include a teaching, positioning or philosophical statement and perhaps an “addendum” not typically found in a resume. Still, the term CV is sometimes used to refer to an executive resume, as they are often longer in length and may contain some of the aforementioned items along with other unique attributes.

Who Needs a Resume? Everyone. Yup, that’s right. Even if you use a CV, there are plenty of times when you’ll need a resume. Presentations, proposals, industry transition, online portfolios and networking follow up are just a few times when a resume is more appropriate. An executive resume is not just a typical resume either. It contains certain elements and style components carried throughout your career portfolio that indicate a certain level of leadership that may not necessarily be expected in a less seasoned professional. But remember, there are no rules in resumes, so what’s appropriate for some is not necessarily the right move for others. That’s why resume templates should be avoided.

CV or Resume? Many times these terms are used incorrectly. Just because you work in higher education doesn’t mean your resume instantly turns into a CV. Nor should a longer resume be called a CV just because it was difficult to whittle down to one page. There is a gray area, however, that is hard to explain, but best understood by what the employer is looking for. I’ve even seen global research companies require CVs from entry-level administrative assistant applicants. My point—work with me, your career success coach, to develop the best personally branded portfolio for you. By doing so, you’ll be ready for any opportunity and will have a strong foundation for attracting new opportunities.

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