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Resume Versus CV

Posted 2007-04-18 Tags: None

I've been asked a few times why I have both a résumé and a CV when they're the same thing. Now, before I explain my reasoning, let me say this: I don't think that I'm necessarily correct and that the people who asked are incorrect. I merely would like to share my opinion and why I do things the way that I do.

Oh, and if you're looking for someone to do web work for you, feel free to browse through my Curriculum Vitae and my Résumé.

So, to start with, let's look at the meanings of the words:

Curriculum Vitae is from the latin, meaning, roughly, "Course of Life." Historically, this would be a recounting of one's life to that point and all the major things that one had achieved. This is what I mean when I talk about a CV - it is a summary of every job that I have ever worked at and what I feel that I accomplished thereat. For instance, I list the time that I spent working with my father, who is an independent contractor.

Résumé, on the other hand, is from the French verb "résumer" which means something like "to summarize" although my french leaves something to be desired, even though it says on both my CV and my résumé that I speak it. My résumé is a summary of my curriculum vitae that I would normally tailor to each individual application to a job. Par example, I would not leave the construction worker entry when I worked with my father on the list when I applied to a coding job, unless it was a job in which I needed to be very patient (you'll have to read that part of the CV to get that).

Of interest to me now, then, is the common usage that has crept up around these words. Many places around the world use the words interchangeably, though a lot of british-influenced countries tend to use "CVs" more for what I think of as "résumés". The best theory that I've heard of what constitutes a CV or a résumé is from Chris over at TechnoBlag:

Everyone knows what a résumé is. A CV is just a résumé for academics or other people that think very highly of themselves.

Good enough for me... but I'm keeping my CV.