As far as I know, the words

  • vita
  • curriculum vitae
  • résumé
  • maintenance history

all mean a document that includes information about your life and your education that you give a company if you want to get employed.

Are there differences in the usage? When would you rather say one or the other? Do they have different connotations?

  • 2
    I'm curious about where you've seen "Maintenance History" used as a synonym for a resume or CV. I agree with Joseph_Morris - it sounds like something you keep for your car's service record. Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 5:56
  • @KristinaLopez: I've also never heard it being used before, but leo - a German <-> English dictionary - said it would mean the same. As the German word has only one meaning as far as I know, I was quite sure it would have a similar meaning in English. Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 6:08

1 Answer 1


I'm answering from a United States usage perspective. A curriculum vitae is more often used in academic settings, or workplaces where people have advanced degrees and so are used to using that term from academia.

"Vita" I would understand as a shorthand for "curriculum vitae" but I can't say I have encountered it before; the preferred shorthand here is "CV". CV is probably used more often than the full "curriculum vitae" term in the US.

"Résumé" (often the accents are dropped in the US, to "resume", or only the final accent is there, "resumé" -- all three are listed as legitimate spellings in the American Heritage Dictionary) is more a business term. Resume tends to be more common than CV, and would be the term I would choose as a default if you don't have an advanced degree or aren't applying someplace with an academic flavor.

"Maintenance History" sounds to me like something for an automobile -- I've never heard of it being applied to a person's work history. UK English, perhaps?

  • Thanks for your answer! I've just searched my Longman dictionary. "maintenance history" is not listed there, so I guess the online dictionary where I've looked it up had an error. Or they really thought of a car... Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 6:15
  • 2
    Maintenance History certainly isn't used for people in BrE, nor would we normally talk of a car's CV! In fact British cars generally have a service history detailing how they have been serviced, and they are advertised with the initialism FSH (full service history).
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 7:01
  • 1
    I wonder if Alexander Yalt perhaps published your phrase book.
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 7:07

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