By their very definition, resumes are supposed to be brief summaries of your skills and abilities: short, but attention-grabbing. A great resume uses keywords and catch phrases to highlight your accomplishments and abilities and if done well, is your ticket to getting you at least as far as an interview.
On a resume, personal details are a big no-no, and anything much longer than two pages isn't the standard in most cases. Your resume is simply a launch pad into the Human Resources office and once there, your interview is your opportunity to share all the details of your education, work history, and experience.
So, with all the emphasis on the "right" resume, is there ever a time when it's appropriate to share a bit more about yourself as part of the job search process before the interview? Absolutely!
Enter the Curriculum Vitae
From the Latin for "vital," vitae means a short description of one's life and a Curriculum Vitae, or CV for short, is pretty much that — a sort of Extended Play version of your resume, if you will. More biographical in nature, a CV often includes personal information and may run several pages long. Accomplishments are detailed, rather than highlighted.
It may seem hard to believe that people actually require CVs, given all the focus on how writing a great resume is the crucial key in landing a job interview. In most cases, this still holds true…a great resume is still the key to getting your foot in the door. But if you ever decide to seek a job in academia, apply for a fellowship, or apply for work overseas, then developing your CV is necessary.
Over Here, Over There
In the U.S., the most likely time you'll need to submit a CV is if you apply for an academic, education, scientific, or research position. You may need to submit one if you're applying for fellowships or grants as well. Have a list of accomplishments that includes publications and presentations? A CV is absolutely essential, especially in the academic and research fields.
If you're seeking work out of the country, submitting a CV is the norm in British Commonwealth and European countries, as well as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia (which pretty much covers most of the rest of the world). Although not necessarily expected in the United States, all that information you've been taught to keep off of your resume will probably need to go on your CV for an out-of-country employer, since many of them expect to see more personal details about you, including where you were born, your date of birth, and marital status. In some countries, you may even need to include a photo!
So what exactly does a CV entail? For starters, expect it to be more than two pages long, because you'll be providing a lot more detail about your background and skills, including your work history, educational and academic background, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations, and any other pertinent information, including samples of your work, if appropriate. If you've been in the workforce for awhile, it's not unheard of for a CV to be 10 to 15 pages long…or more!
You may need to develop more than one CV, just as you might have more than one version of your resume. It depends on what you're applying for and what you want to have front and center on your CV. A CV for an academic position stateside will need to look different than a CV you might submit to an international oil company for an executive position halfway around the world.
Chances are, if you're a researcher or a scholar, you probably know all about CVs, but if you don't, not to worry! Job postings will (hopefully) specify what they need in terms of a resume or CV. If you're not sure, a simply inquiry with the people doing the hiring will get you the answer you need.