Why You Need a CV
July 9, 2020
BR CV

Practically everyone knows that in order to enter the job market, you’ll need a strong resume. However, what many do not know is that you’ll also want to have a CV handy. You might be asking yourself, “Why would I need a CV if I already have a great resume?” Well, it’s important to note first that resumes and CVs are not interchangeable documents. When applying to jobs, you always want to have the appropriate documents ready, even if you don’t need them for every single role you’re applying to. Below, we’ll go over more on what a CV is, what it entails, and why it’s important.

What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae, which translates to “course of life” or is otherwise more commonly known as a CV, is a professional document that details all of your academic and professional experiences. Essentially, a CV outlines all of your previous experience for employers and can even hint towards your future potential.

While a resume also includes your accomplishments and professional history, they are typically much shorter and more likely less detailed. A CV, on the other hand, will include this general information but it will also include any academic history and even research you have completed or participated in that is relevant to your field. It paints a wider picture for employers than a resume can.

What is included in a CV?

While most resumes are confined to one page, a CV should be no longer than three pages. Given that this document is a lot more extensive and detailed than your average resume, it can be difficult to determine what to include and what to omit when developing your document. Regardless of your field or experience, every CV should include the following information, according to Indeed.com. 

1. Contact information

This section should include the same standard contact information included on your resume, which is your full name, phone number, email address, and the city and state in which you are located.

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2. Academic history

Your academic record can include any information regarding attended doctorate schools, graduate schools, undergraduate schools, and even high school. However, we only recommend including a maximum of two academic references. These references should also appear in reverse chronological order.

3. Professional and career experience

This section will appear similarly to your resume section, which includes the companies you have worked for and the roles you held while having bullet points to showcase your achievements, duties and responsibilities, and what you were able to gain or learn during that experience. For more on writing strong bullet points, check out our article here.

4. Relevant skills and qualifications

Unlike your resume, which should only have hard or technical skills within a separate section, your CV can include both soft skills and hard skills in a separate section. When developing this part of your CV, try to align your skills with what each job description is asking for. If you’re having trouble determining what soft skills are and what hard skills are, we recommend reading this article.

5. Honors and awards

Generally for a resume, you won’t have space to include honors and awards. Instead, they are most likely included on your LinkedIn. This is often a key difference between a CV and a resume. You’ll want to include specific details when describing the awards you’ve received including the name of the award, when you received it, what organization awarded it to you, and even how frequently it is given out and to how many others it is given out to. Including these details helps to provide your future employer with more perspective surrounding the award and it will make you winning it even more impressive.

6. Relevant publications and presentations

If you’ve ever had your research published or participated in any type of public speaking event, you’ll want to include this information on your CV. We recommend only including any publications or presentations related to the role you are applying for. Doing so will help speak towards your expertise and credibility to your future employer.

7. Professional associations and affiliations

This section will not need to include as much detailed information as the previous sections. Instead, you will only need to provide the organization name, the location, the chapter, and the dates during which you were a member.

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Why it’s important to have a CV

You know what a CV is and what’s included, but you may still be asking yourself why any of this even matters. That can sound like a lot of information to piece together. After all, can’t you just have all of that on your resume or your LinkedIn? Do you really need a third document for all of that? In short, the simple answer is yes.

Even if you don’t use it for every single application, it is always better to be prepared with the proper tools then to come up short when looking for career opportunities. According to DayJob.com, you may want to consider the following as well:

1. It serves as a reminder to what you have previously done

If you’ve had an extensive career, it can often be difficult to remember what previous accomplishments you may have had, especially when it comes to remembering those specific details. This factor is especially relevant when you are updating your resume. By keeping a detailed CV as you continue through your career, you can list your accomplishments as they happen to include them later in your resume.

2. It can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses

In the moment, we may not always know what we did well or what we could have done better. Honest reflection is an important task to complete for any employee. As you look back on your accomplishments, try and identify how you performed in each role.

Were you consistently creating and meeting your goals? Were there areas where you were consistently exceeding expectations or failing them? Be honest with yourself so you’ll be aware moving forward of what roles and duties you excel at and which you may need some work in. Examining past performance reviews can also be a helpful tool when determining strengths and weaknesses.

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3. It can help you set an agenda for future interviews

Your resume helped you schedule your interview, but now your CV is going to help you land the position. Much like when updating your resume, it can be difficult to remember what you may have previously done. The same situation can happen during your interviews. Think of your CV almost as a study guide on yourself when preparing.

Most interviewers will ask you behavioral questions. It is your job to be able to answer these questions as thoroughly as possible by highlighting what the issue was and how you addressed it. The best way to do that is by using the STAR method and referring to key details you may have included on your CV.

Much like anything else, creating a CV can be difficult to write. Additionally, many of us have little to no experience writing them as they are very little discussed or talked about prior to entering the professional world. Nonetheless, the hard work and effort will be well worth it when you have a CV that is detailed and relevant to help you land your next position. Stay tuned as BrandResumes works to launch our next service to help you perfect your CV!

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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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