Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae

by Karen Watson on November 20, 2014

A resume is a one- to two-page document summarizing your career objectives, professional experiences and achievements, and educational background. The heading of the resume should contain your name, address and contact information.

The body of the resume should be broken into the following sections: career objective, profile/summary, professional experience, achievements, scholastics, and references.  Your career objective should be brief, up to two sentences; it should give your potential employers an idea of how you wish to move forward in your professional life. A concise profile or a summary should discuss who you are and how your skills and experience best apply to the job you are interested in. The summary, as well as other parts of your resume, should not contain personal information that discloses ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, age, living situations, or any other personal information that is not directly related to your career. Personal profile/summary should only contain a few well-written sentences that convey what you can bring to the table in terms of the specific job. Use this section to attract the employer’s attention, but don’t go overboard in trying to be creative – stay professional.  Your experience listing should include information on one to five jobs you’ve held, starting with your current or last job, and listing previous positions in chronological order. Your education should include college, graduate and post-graduate work, as well as any courses or professional certifications that are relevant to your career development. Achievements, volunteer positions, publications and interests should only be listed if they apply to your professional work experience References should be listed if requested; best practices suggest not to list generic statements about references being available upon request as this is understood.

Curricula vitae or CV is a collection of documents that describe your education and professional history, focusing on your achievements and showcasing higher level of detail than a resume. People most typically using CV as form of application are seeking positions in education, entrance into graduate and post-graduate programs, or research, and they are required to discuss their professional philosophies. While resumes are often limited to one or two pages, CV is a compilation of documents, has no length limit and extends over at least several pages (most frequently four or five pages, but can be more based on experience and achievements). A CV contains similar information as your resume, but places higher emphasis on education and scholastic accomplishments. Unlike your resume, a CV would contain information on scholarships you may have received, texts or research you have completed and published, grants you received, community and volunteer work, teaching philosophy, etc. You will begin by listing your career objective, in summary form, to showcase your commitment to your goals and actions you are willing to take to achieve them. If you are applying for a teaching position, give a brief outline of your reaching philosophy. Immediately following your goals, list your achievements, highlighting your education first. Here, you can mention your thesis project or dissertation, courses that support your career objective, publications and research (in progress or completed), certifications, studies abroad, languages, etc. Your experience should be included next, focusing on the work history that supports your career objective. This should conclude your CV.
If you are unsure which form of application to use, do the appropriate research and create a resume or CV that best fits the format commonly accepted in your industry.

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Tips on listing certifications and licenses in your resume

by Karen Watson on November 20, 2014

Your resume is a compilation of your professional life; from your education to summer internships, from publications to technical skills, it is critical that your resume includes anything that would help you get the job that you are interested in. Most professionals make a mistake of focusing on experience and education only. As a result, they disregard any additional information, such as certifications they have in their field, that would enhance their qualifications and assure that they stand out from the competition.

Any professional certifications and licenses that impact your career and your ability to do your job should be listed on your resume. This concept is straight forward for those professionals who cannot actually perform their jobs without having a license to do so. This is the case for teachers, real estate agents, medical professionals, etc. If you are in a profession that requires specific certifications and/or licenses, your resume should contain a section specific to this information. The heading should state “Professional Certifications” or “Professional Licenses”. You should list, in reverse chronological order, any certifications and licenses that you have acquired in your professional experience.

However, it is a lot harder to consider this information and include it on your resume if your professional field doesn’t require any certifications or licenses. For example, having a certificate from a seminar on managing multiple projects may not be required in order for you to do your job effectively. However, such a certificate can be very helpful in virtually any field, and if included on your resume, it can help you stand out from the crowd of available professionals and catch the employer’s attention.

Consider any courses or training seminars you attended in your professional career. Don’t forget to include any courses you may have taken as part of the training at a current or at a previous job. For example, if you have completed a course on using Microsoft Access Database as part of the training on your current job, and you know that you will be required to work with this program in a new position that you are seeking, make a note of this on your resume.

Treat the list of licenses and certifications as you do your professional experience; make a list, in reverse chronological order, and consider which of the items you listed are relevant to your professional goals. Your resume should have no more than five most recent certifications and licenses. List the date when the certificate or license was obtained; if you took a course over time, for example, indicate the completion date in form of month and year only. The exact name of the certificate or the license should be listed, along with an issuing organization. No additional information is necessary for this area of your resume. Additionally, make sure to highlight any certification and licenses in the cover letter if they promote your qualifications for the job you are seeking.

If the listing of licenses or certifications is lengthy, you can include this information on a separate sheet of paper. You should always list a few most recent items; however if the listing exceeds five items, let the potential employer know that additional information is available upon request.  Your resume or your cover letter can point out this information, as well as highlight only those elements that promote you as the best candidate for the job.

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