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It seems obvious. A CV is something you use to apply for a job. But stop to think for a second. What does CV stand for? Are CVs the same across the world?
In fact, a British CV and an American CV aren’t the same thing at all. Confused? Don’t be. You’re about to learn everything you need to know about CV meaning.
This guide will show you:
- The meaning of CV in different countries.
- What CV stands for.
- What each type of CV includes.
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Once you’ve learned everything about the meaning of a curriculum vitae and its use, make sure your CV trully stands out with help from:
- What to Include in a CV: Essential Sections for Success
- 20+ Job Winning CV Tips and Advice
- Retail CV
- Waiter / Waitress CV
- Receptionist CV
- Customer Service CV
- Student CV
- Graduate CV
What is a CV?
A CV is a standardized formal document used to apply for jobs. CV stands for curriculum vitae, meaning ‘course of life’ in Latin. A curriculum vitae summarizes your work experience, education, and skills gained over the course of your professional life.
But here’s the interesting part. The document itself changes depending on where you’re located. So while CV always stands for the same thing, the meaning of curriculum vitae varies.
What is a British CV?
A CV in the UK, Commonwealth countries, Europe and Asia is a short document, no more than two pages long, that people use to present their experience, education, key skills, and accomplishments, most often to apply for a new job.
- A chronological CV focuses on professional experience and is used by candidates with a conventional work history.
- Skills-based CVs focus on transferable skills and used by career changers and people with unconventional work histories, like freelancers and gig economy workers.
What to Include in a British CV
Here’s how to write a CV for a job in the UK. These instructions are for a chronological CV.
- Create a good CV layout.
- Start with a CV header with your name and contact details.
- Write a compelling CV personal statement to introduce yourself.
- Craft a work experience section targeted to the job.
- Add an education section.
- Include a list of relevant CV skills.
- Throw in some additional sections to stand out from the crowd.
Learn more about how to write a British CV here: How to Write a CV: Professional UK Examples
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When you’re done, Zety’s CV builder will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.
What is an American CV
A CV in the US is a detailed document that can run to many pages in length and presents your life experience and accomplishments including education, research you’ve conducted, work you’ve had published and presentations you’ve given.
As you can probably guess from the description it’s used mainly for jobs in academia and for roles in medical and scientific research. It’s also used for applying for grants and scholarships.
Unlike a British CV, there’s no set format for American academic CVs, they’re tailored differently for specific purposes and according to the employer’s requirements. And there’s no page limit unless the employer specifies otherwise.
What to Include in an American CV
These are the sections you need to include in an American academic CV.
- Contact Information
- Research Objective or Personal Profile
- Professional Appointments
- Awards and Honors
- Grants and Fellowships
- Teaching Experience
- Research Experience
- Additional Activities
- Languages and Skills
And that’s all there is to it. Everything you need to know about what does CV stand for and what does it mean.
Learn more about how to write an American CV here: Academic CV Example and Writing Guide
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
So in summary, what does CV stand for and what is the meaning of CV?
- CV stands for curriculum vitae, which is Latin for ‘course of life’.
- A British CV is a short 1–2 page long document used for conventional job applications.
- In America, a CV is a lengthy and detailed document used mainly for academic roles.
Thanks for reading. Do you now know the full meaning of CV? Have I fully answered the question “what does CV stand for”? If there’s anything else you want to know then hit me up in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help.