Resumes vs. cvs

Subject: Resumes vs. cvs
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 13:24:53 -0600

Based on my tongue-in cheek mention that a "cv is your
autobiography", Valters Feists asked for clearer
definitions of the various things you might send to a
prospective employer:

An autobiography = your complete life story, written by you
(not someone else; if someone else does it, it's a
biography). This extends from "I was born in Montreal on a
blustery winter day at 3:33 AM" to "I'm currently working
at FERIC", with as many details as you can write down in
between. Since there is no effort made to tailor this to a
job application, it's a useless thing to provide to an
employer, unless the employer happens to be a publisher of

A "cv" (with or without quotes) = "curriculum vitae", which
is effectively a complete educational and employment
history, list of your publications, list of memberships and
activities in professional societies, and so on. Very
detailed, but restricted to things an employer would want
to know. The purpose is to provide a complete discussion of
everything job-related that you've ever done. CVs are
mostly used by universities or professional societies to
get a picture of your overall personality and credentials,
in addition to your work skills. If an autobiography is
analogous to your whole body, a cv might be the skeleton.

Resume = from the French word for "summary". A resume
_summarizes_ your CV by concentrating exclusively on the
questions an interviewer wants to see answered before
calling you for an interview. If a cv is your skeleton,
your resume is the hand that grips the pen or types on the
keyboard (for a writing or editing job).

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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