Resume vs. CV, Which One Should You Be Using?

While many people use the words resume and curriculum vitae (CV) interchangeably, they are two very different types of documents that are used to secure employment. Knowing which one to use when applying for a health care position will save you time and energy.

A curriculum vitae is the standard form of document used internationally, and in the United States a CV is used among medical, academic, and scientific professionals. A CV focuses on education, publications, contributions or significant achievements. So when should a health care professional use a CV? It should be used when a health care professional has higher training and/or education (i.e. a bachelors or higher) to best showcase their specialties, past experiences, and training.

On the other hand, resumes are the standard document that are used to secure employment in the United States. A resume differs from a CV in that a resume is a summary of education, work experiences, and skills. Resumes should be concise and relevant to the specific position that is being applied for. If the interviewer requires more detail, they will ask for a portfolio or it can be expanded upon in an interview.

When deciding between a CV or resume, a good rule of thumb to have is to use a CV is you have higher than a bachelors degree or are seeking employment abroad.

Here are 5 universal tips for CVs and resumes:

  1. Make sure that it is free of grammatical or spelling errors
  2. Tailor it specifically to the position you are applying for
  3. Emphasize your accomplishments, not the duties or tasks you performed
  4. The use of keywords is essential. Today, companies have technology that will screen CVs/resumes for specific keywords so it is important to use the job description as a guide.
  5. Try to avoid gaps in time. If you’ve taken time off for personal reasons, school, or travel, list it under a section titled “Additional Experience” or make a notation in the cover letter that allows for continuity