What is a Curriculum Vitae?

What Is a Curriculum Vitae or CV?

What is a CV? What does curriculum vitae mean?

CV resumeWebster’s dictionary defines curriculum vitae / CV as: a short account of one’s career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position.

The origin of the term curriculum vitae is: course of one’s life (from the Latin). The 1st known use of the term curriculum vitae was in 1902.

The term curriculum vitae is often used interchangeably with the word resume. To contrast these 2 terms, let’s consider the Webster’s dictionary definition of the word, resume: summary, curriculum vitae, set of accomplishments such as a musical resume.

The origin of the word resume is: from the past participle of resumer, to resume, summarize (from the French word, resume; from the Middle French word, resumer). The 1st known use of the term resume was in 1804.

The dictionary lists these examples of the use of the word resume:

1. If you would like to be considered for the job, please submit your resume.

2. His musical resume includes performances at Carnegie Hall, a stint with the New York Philharmonic, and 2 Grammys.

3. a brief resume of the news

These are the chief differences between a CV / curriculum vitae and a resume:

The length of the document: a CV is typically longer than a resume. A CV is at least 2 pages long, and is in fact often longer than 2 pages. A resume is a shorter document and is only 1 or 2 pages in length.

What the document includes: a CV includes details of one’s college experience as well as information about presentations, publications, and other details. A CV often contains more personal information such as birthdate, birth place, and nationality.

When and where the document is used: a CV is used in the United States by candidates applying for jobs in the educational, academic, or scientific fields. A CV is also used when applying for fellowships or grants. A CV is almost always used in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, or Africa rather than a resume.

How CV’s differ from country to country:

England: a curriculum vitae is usually only 2 pages in length and contains a summary of the candidate’s work experience.

U.S. and Canada: a curriculum vitae is used in academe and is very comprehensive, containing detailed information about the candidate’s academic experience, academic credentials, publications, and achievements.

European Union: the EU developed a standardized CV format known as Europass. The Europass was adopted so skilled workers could more easily move between member countries and overcome language barriers.


Make an investment in your future with a resume / CV and cover letter written by Vivian Adkins, CPRW of Foremost Resumes. Foremost Resumes offers affordable resume writing services – resume prices are published here. If you have any questions about my resume services, call or text 1-321-442-7994.

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Thank you!

—Vivian Adkins, Resume Writer at Foremost Resumes

About Author

Vivian Adkins, CPRW
Vivian Adkins, CPRW is the owner of Foremost Résumés and a Certified Résumé Writer. On this blog you can learn about résumés, how LinkedIn can help with your job search, how to conduct an online job search, and more.
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