What Is a C.V.?


What is a C.V. and what does it mean?

C.V. stands for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for “the course of my life.” It is the modern day resume, which is more comprehensive, providing a potential employer with an overview of a person’s professional background.

Personally, I still use the word “resume.” I think today the two terms are pretty well interchangeable. However, with a resume, you must make sure it is one or two pages. A C.V. can be longer.

Please check out my resume if you’d like to see an example. It has worked well for me!

What should my C.V. or resume have?

Consider what you would want to know about someone if you were hiring them! That will help you put together your C.V.

Here are some elements that you’ll want to include:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Where you went to school
  • Your work experience
  • Your achievements

These are the basic elements, but you can get creative with it. Don’t be too mechanical. For instance, when I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Civil Engineering, I had no experience. However, I received a high paying job right out of the gate. Why?

On my resume, I made sure to include that I was one of the top 50 women chess players in the country. It came up in almost every interview as a point of interest with the employer. I’d watch him read my resume with a sort of glazed bland expression, waiting for him to come to that line, when his eyes would inevitably pop.

What should go first on my C.V. or resume?

This is a very important point. This goes back to the original question: What is a C.V.? What is the purpose of this document?

You want to promote yourself so that your potential new boss sees you in the right light and hires you, right? Lead with your best feature!

If you have a PHD in your field, by all means, lead with education.

Perhaps you’ve just written a best-selling book, that should be top on the list!

If you have no work experience, but are an Olympic gold medal winner, that should be the focus, front and center.

People often start with work experience, because that is most relevant, but you need to decide what is right for you. What will get you noticed?  And again, what would you want to see at the top of the resume?

Please feel free to share your resume or C.V. here. Provide a link, so that we can learn more about your experience and see how you put your resume together! What advice do you have for people creating their very first resume?


  1. Jeannette Paladino

    Laura — excellent idea for a post. As I am focused on social media writing I no longer use a traditional resume or CV. I call my document a Social Media Bio. It includes past employment, but what potential clients really want to know about is my expertise in social media, so that’s what I tell them about.

  2. Tim Casey

    I was invited to teach a screenwriting class at the University of Colorado, we agreed I would teach all they needed was my curriculum vitae. I hadn’t a clue so I researched what a CV was, baffled I decided to write my CV in screenplay format. I covered all the required information by having a devil on one shoulder on the other an angle. They argued with each other about what should be on the CV, pretty fun actually. I’ve been teaching there for years now.

  3. Harrison

    I find that CV is term used quite frequently outside of the US, whereas, US prefers to use the term resume.

    Agree that personal interests should be included in bottom of resume. Yes, some people feel that it’s not necessary since maybe it doesn’t relate to the job responsibilities … but in this day in age, with hundreds of resumes, got to stand out! Hopefully in the positive light 🙂

    • Laura

      Harrison, Thank you for your posting! I think with the age of the internet it has become a lot more interchangeable. The continental boundaries are less defined. 🙂

      Do you have a resume to share? Please feel free to include it! What do you do?


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