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Curriculum vitae

A curriculum vitae (English pronunciation: /kəˈrɪkjʉləm ˈvt/, /ˈwt/, or /ˈvt/;[1][2] C.V.)[3] is a written overview of a person's experience and other qualifications. In some countries, a C.V. is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview. The official Latin is lowercase cv.


In the United Kingdom, most Commonwealth countries, and Ireland, a C.V. is short (usually a maximum of two sides of A4 paper), and therefore contains only a summary of the job seeker's employment history, qualifications, education, and some personal information. Some parts of Asia require applicants' photos, date of birth, and most recent salary information. C.V.s are often tailored to change the emphasis of the information according to the particular position for which the job seeker is applying.[4] Many C.V.s contain key words that potential employers search for via applicant tracking systems and display the content in the most flattering manner, brushing over information like poor grades.[4] This has caused many to adapt résumé optimization techniques similar to those used in search engine optimization when creating and formatting their résumé. A C.V. can also be extended to include an extra page for the job-seeker's publications if these are important for the job.

In the United States a C.V. is used in academic circles and medical careers as a "replacement" for a résumé and is far more comprehensive; the term résumé (a French word which literally means "summary") is used for most recruitment campaigns. A C.V. elaborates on education, publications, and other achievements to a greater degree than a résumé, but it is often expected that professionals use a short C.V. that highlights the current focus of their academic lives and not necessarily their full history.

Etymology and spellings

Curriculum vitae is a Latin expression which can be loosely translated as [the] course of [my] life. In current usage, curriculum is less marked as a foreign loanword. Traditionally the word vitae is rendered in English using the ligature æ, hence vitæ,[5] although this convention is less common in contemporary practice.

The plural of curriculum vitae, in Latin, is formed following Latin rules of grammar as curricula vitae (meaning "courses of life") — not curriculum vita (which is grammatically incorrect), nor curricula vitarum.[6] The form vitae is the singular genitive of vita and is translated as "of life".

In English, the plural of the full expression curriculum vitae is seldom used; the plural of curriculum on its own is usually written as "curricula",[7] rather than the traditional curriculums.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster
  2. ^ American Heritage Dictionary
  3. ^ In English, the first part of the term is always said as the identical English word (including its slight variations), never as in Latin (even by people who know Latin well), but the second term is pronounced in various ways depending on how advanced the speaker's knowledge is of Latin. The correct (Classical) Latin pronunciation was [ˈwiː.tae̯], but even most people who learned Latin in school are unaware of the linguistically reconstructed correct pronunciation of Latin. Instead, they use the English pronunciation /ˈvt/, which is close to the Chicken discussion commonly taught in school in the past, or /ˈwt/, the one increasingly taught today. Most people nowadays never had any Latin in school and many if not most of them use the pronunciation /ˈvt/. This is however considered such an embarrassing pronunciation by some educators and lexicographers that it is not even recorded in the American English version of the Oxford Online Dictionaries despite being the first one listed in the American Heritage Dictionary.
  4. ^ a b "The Curriculum Vitae - General Guidelines". United Kingdom: University of Exeter. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  5. ^ List of words that may be spelled with a ligature
  6. ^ "alt.usage.english FAQ". Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  7. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton Mifflin, 2009
  8. ^ OED, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 1989

External links