When you need a C.V. rather than a resume

April 14, 2010 at 2:18 am 2 comments

Remember when applying for a job meant that you just sat down and dashed off a resume and a cover letter to an employer and included a few writing samples? Those were the days. Now you’ve also got to worry about your video clips, your LinkedIn profile and a sampling of your best blog posts and tweets.

And there are also complicated issues like the following question sent in by an email correspondent, an accomplished journalist who is looking broadly as he contemplates his next career move: “Do you know of any journalists (or transitioning journalists) who have had to produce a C.V., rather than a resume? I got asked for a C.V. today, and don’t know what to make of it. When would you need one? I always thought it was just for academia.”

Interesting question. Most U.S. and Canadian professionals are used to applying for jobs with a resume, which, as we know, is a one-to-two page (please don’t make them longer!)  brief summary of one’s experience, skills and education, plus some contact information. A CV (which stands for curriculum vitae) is a longer, more detailed document that summarizes educational and academic achievements as well as such things as publications, presentations, awards and affiliations in addition to job experience. A CV is widely used in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and in this country is primarily associated with academic positions, as my email correspondent correctly notes.

Yet CVs are sometimes requested for other positions, hiring experts say, so it’s good to recognize when you may be asked for one. Here is some advice about when you may need a C.V. rather than, or in addition to, a resume, and some tips for producing one:

*Recruiters are increasingly asking to see a CV not only for academic positions but for jobs in scientific or research-oriented organizations. If an association requires a CV of scientists in the organization, for example, they may also ask to see one for prospective communications or editorial employees. A CV may become standard because they want a full accounting not only of your job experience but of your presentation and writing experience. This can be tricky for journalists and others who have written a great deal — can you imagine listing every article you produced in a decades-long news career, for instance? In that situation, hiring experts suggest that your CV list the publications for which you worked with dates in which your byline appeared in that publication. The hiring manager then can look through archived material if they want to see your written work, in addition to reviewing the writing samples you presumably will send them.

*In a global economy — and especially in places like D.C. where there is a lot of international work — a CV is becoming more standard as professionals in Europe and Asia are used to this calling card rather than a resume. Some organizations are asking for both. Your resume can actually help you prepare a CV: It focuses on your experience. You can use that information on your CV and expand it to include your academic background, research, teaching experience and publications. International experience is also important to highlight on a CV including any grants for international work or fellowships (even short ones such as weeklong journalism fellowships) you have received.

*One size doesn’t necessarily fit all with a CV. When asked by an organization for a CV, try to figure out why they want this, especially if the hiring manager has requested it in addition to a resume. What information do they want that they aren’t getting in a resume and other material, such as your LinkedIn profile? That’s important to note, so that you don’t just repeat (in longer form) the information on your resume. Just as some professionals have different resumes that emphasize different areas of their experience — say transitioning journalists who are applying for research as well as communications positions — you may need to prepare different CVs depending on what various organizations want. Academic institutions often want a full accounting of publication and presentation experience, as well as detailed information on any teaching stints, on your CV. A research organization will be more interested in publishing experience and your affiliations and honors.

*Just as it’s important to view different types of sample resumes (with tons available online), you should do the same when preparing a CV. Look at various types with differing categories. Ask for help from friends or associates with international experience — they are likely to have produced a CV they could dust off. Be sure to ask them specifically why they included various subject headings and why they organized the document the way they did. And it’s important — just as with writing a longer story rather than a briefer one — to keep the document organized so you don’t lose the prospective employer’s attention partway through. A CV shouldn’t just be a longer, more drawn-out version of your resume. And remember that a cover letter should always accompany a resume or a CV, and should highlight your qualifications for this particular job in a conversational — though professional — manner.

*Some exciting news — in addition to continuing to post week days on this blog (I promise I’ll keep it up!) I’m partnering with political blogger Taegan Goddard on a new site, politicaljobhunt.com  —


which will provide career advice, support and job leads for political and public affairs professionals, in D.C. and across the country. Please check it out and send along ideas for that site as well.

*And some congratulations are in order (I hate for a week to go by without some good hiring news to pass along!) — to two local journalists, and supporters of this blog, heading to Bloomberg:

Adriel Bettelheim, who has been a writer and editor at CQ for a dozen years, later this month will be joining Bloomberg’s new BGOV operation in D.C. to manage their coverage of the health industry. Adriel has expertise on the Hill and in covering health care and regulatory matters.

And Sophia Yan, who has been with Time magazine’s Washington bureau since graduating from Oberlin College, is also joining BGOV in D.C. to cover health care.

Congratulations and much success to Adriel and Sophia….and this is more evidence that specialty reporting skills — and some time on the Hill — can lead to good jobs!

*And a variety of job leads to pass along today:

*Dimension Data in McLean, Va., has an opening for a director of marketing communications:
Director, Marketing Communications – Herndon

Dimension Data – Mc Lean, VA
of the Marketing Communications Director are to utilize marketing and communications strategies and… and communications. The Marketing Communications
From TalentZoo.com

*The American Chemical Society, which publishes a weekly magazine and more than 37 scholarly journals focused on chemistry and chemistry-related topics, has an opening in D.C. for a director of its editorial operations:

Director, Editorial Office Operations
American Chemical Society – Washington, DC
of editors and editorial support functions. Ensure appropriate training of editors and editorial… editors and editorial assistants. Represent editor
From American Chemical Society

*Today’s internship lead is for an intern to work in D.C. in development for the National Geographic Channel (Fox Entertainment):

Summer Internship- Development (National Geographic Channel)
Fox Entertainment Group – Washington, DC
Qualifications: Communications, television/film, media studies, history/politics major with communications… experience; good communication and interpersonal…
From Media Job Market

*For someone who has developed an expertise in aging issues, the Center for Healthy Aging, part of the National Council on Aging in D.C., is looking for a director of research and policy:

Director of Research and Policy – Center for Healthy Aging
National Council on Aging – Washington, DC
and other policy-related documents, including case statements, communications, testimony, and bill analysis. Other Information About This Job: Requires…
From SocialService.com

*With a hat tip to mediabistro.com, DDC Advocacy in nearby Oxon Hill, Md., is looking for an interactive strategist.

*And to wrap up today’s listings, Spitfire Strategies in D.C., a communications firm that’s looking to “create positive social change,” has an opening for a senior associate. Details follow:

Spitfire Strategies, an innovative communications firm dedicated to helping clients create positive social change, seeks a Senior Associate to join their team.  Spitfire Strategies is looking for a savvy communicator with exemplary writing skills, proven client service skills and demonstrated ability to create high-impact outreach strategies that involve multiple forms of media.  The right person for the job is a highly motivated, self-starter who takes direction well but who also can work independently, thrives on variety and can shift directions seamlessly.

Successful candidate will possess:

  • Ability to conceive and implement communications strategies with multiple outreach tactics, ranging from earned media to Internet outreach to print;
  • Demonstrated expertise writing for a variety of media – including brochures, press materials, new business proposals, Web-based materials and internal documents;
  • Familiarity with new media – i.e., blogs and wikis – and understanding of when and how to incorporate these into communications campaigns;
  • Experience securing contracts with and managing vendors from other creative services areas including Web design, print, radio, television, and event promotions;
  • Confidence and comfort giving presentations to clients in new business settings and in trainings;
  • Excellent copy editing skills;
  • General knowledge of state and federal political process;
  • History of exemplary client service as demonstrated through previous client references;
  • Experience managing teams of at least three individuals;
  • Superior writing skills, demonstrated public speaking skills;
  • Experience managing accounts, including workflow and budget; and
  • A minimum of eight years relevant professional experience with public relations agency, public affairs agency, Hill or related experience.

Past experience working on campaigns aimed at promoting positive social change and some knowledge of health care reform, environmental protection, family planning and social justice issues is a plus.

Interested? Visit www.SpitfireStrategies.com to learn more.

To apply please send a resume and cover letter detailing why you are the best fit for this position and salary requirements to settleson@verizon.net, subject line: Spitfire Senior Associate.

Position is based in Washington, D.C. Ability to travel is a must. No phone calls please.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

When looking to the past may make sense How to effectively ask for help

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Employment KIng  |  April 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

    A great article; just like a resume keep your CV on one or two pages and always send a covering letter with your CV. The first and most important section read by employers on the CV is your Personal Profile, a 4 lined paragraph summing your key skills, qualities and strengths needed for the position you are applying for-keep this positive and really sell yourself. The personal profile should be at the top of your CV underneath your contact details.

  • 2. arvind pathak  |  June 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    wonderful information on cv and biodata,thanks for job leads too.


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