Career Tips

Late Career Part III: Should I Use a CV?

By Dave Isbell and Kim Medlock

If you’re involved in certain fields (e.g., academia, the law, research) a curriculum vitae (CV) may be required. Many opt to utilize the format of a CV to provide a more detailed and extensive presentation of a professional life (teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, and affiliations may be included).

If you have many years of diverse, substantial experience, it may be handy to have a CV prepared or to bring one to an interview. (The main difference between a CV and a resume is this: the CV includes pretty much everything you have ever done in your life; the resume is a short synopsis of the most relevant and, usually, recent experience(s).)

Review MSU PREP, the Graduate School career and professional development model for additional information on CV preparation courses and information

CVTips is a great, complete overview on many questions you may have

Or look at for general basics and simple examples of CVs

With all resume and CV submissions, it is necessary to send a cover letter. No matter what, you want to include this document and offer the reader extra details the resume cannot provide. Wiki-how and other general sites have excellent tips, but be sure to check out the Career Links for Everyone page for additional articles and books to assist your writing process. One thing to keep in mind as you compose your cover letter is that this is where you can lay the foundation of why you want to work there and what you know about the company.


Dave Isbell is the Alumni Career Service Coordinator at Michigan State University. He has been a Career Coach since 1999. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Social Work/Family Studies at MSU.  When he is not working or studying, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog, which he owns and begs other Spartans to write for.

Kim Medlock is a Michigan State University alumnae with degrees in Professional Writing and English. She works as a marketing writer by day, but fancies herself a creative writer by weekend. As a Lansing native who has always preferred writing as an artistic medium — she remains passionately in love with both of these things.


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