Ever wondered why a Brit applies with a CV and an American with a resume? And why does an Aussie apply with both? There are a few differences between the two types of application documents and this article will straighten out your queries as well as tell you where in the world you are likely to use which document. Let me kick off the bonanza by introducing the contender in the blue corner…
A CV (Curriculum Vitæ, which means course of life in Latin) is an in-depth document that can be laid out over two or more pages and it contains a high level of detail about your achievements, a great deal more than just a career biography. The CV covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honours etc.
The document tends to be organised chronologically and should make it easy to get an overview of an individual’s full working career. A CV is static and doesn’t change for different positions, the difference would be in the cover letter.
RELATED:What Recruiters Really Want to See on Your CV
A resume, or résumé, is a concise document typically not longer than one page as the intended the reader will not dwell on your document for very long. The goal of a resume is to make an individual stand out from the competition.
The job seeker should adapt the resume to every position they apply for. It is in the applicant’s interest to change the resume from one job application to another and to tailor it to the needs of the specific post. A resume doesn’t have to be ordered chronologically, doesn’t have to cover your whole career like and is a highly customisable document.
RELATED:7 Resume Mistakes You Probably Didn’t Realize
As stated, three major differences between CVs and resumes are the length, the purpose and the layout. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, a CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.
A CV has a clear chronological order listing the whole career of the individual whereas a resume’s information can be shuffled around to best suit the applicant. I would say the main difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is intended to be a full record of your career history and a resume is a brief, targeted list of skills and achievements.
CV – long, covers your entire career, static
Resume – short, no particular format rule, highly customisable
Usage around the world:
A resume is the preferred application document in the US and Canada. Americans and Canadians would only use a CV when applying for a job abroad or if searching for an academic or research oriented position.
In the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, a CV is used in all contexts and resumes aren’t used at all. The CV prevails in mainland Europe and there is even a European Union CV format available for download.
In Germany, the CV is more commonly known as a Lebenslauf (true to the latin origins) and is only one of many application document the poor German job seekers must produce to get an interview.
In Australia, India and South Africa, the terms resume and CV are used interchangeably. The term resume is used more for jobs in the private sector and CV is more commonplace when applying for public service positions.
So what gives if you apply for an American company in Europe or vice versa? The jaded folks in HR will accept both types although I would recommend you use the local version. It’s not that hard to convert your document after all and if you hit a brick wall, just ask me for help.
Which do you prefer, the CV, the resume, both, none? Please share your experience in the comments below!
RELATED:What’s the Best Resume Font, Size and Format?
Tags: Britcurriculum vitaeCV TipsdifferneceglobalResume & CV WritingResume TipsResumeswhich
Weekly recruiting tips direct to your inbox!
By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer
Occasionally as a job seeker you will run across a request to apply for a job using a CV (Curriculum Vitae) when you might have been expecting to be asked for a resume. Is there a difference?
If you happen to live in Quebec, the terms CV and resume tend to be used interchangeably. However in Canada’s other provinces a CV is substantially different from a typical resume. The majority of job applicants should use the standard, two-page-maximum resume. It is what most employers want to see.
But if you are a senior executive, a lawyer, professor, physician or scientist, then you will likely opt to use a CV. That is because the latter document can be much longer than two pages – in fact it should be lengthy, impressive and highly detailed.
What A CV Contains That Most Resumes Don’t
Both a resume and CV contain a Summary Statement that tries to capture the best of you in 100 words or less. Then you have the Work History (also known as Employment Highlights, Work Experience, etc.) This is followed by any Special Skills you may have, and possibly a section devoted to Awards and Honours you may have received over the years.
For a CV, the above content is merely a starting point. Beyond the standard fare is a range of sections that might be included, depending on what type of employer you are applying to. Here are the other areas that you might consider adding when putting together your Curriculum Vitae:
- Professional Licenses or Certifications
- Listing of Relevant Course Work to Match Career or Academic Objective
- Scientific or Academic Research, Laboratory Experience, Grants Received
- Description of Thesis or Dissertation (if you have advanced degrees)
- Papers, Books And Other Related Publications You Have Written
- Academic or Professional Presentations Delivered
- Travel / Exposure to Cultural Experiences
- Additional Information that May Support Objective or Qualifications
- Letters of Recommendation or a List of References
- Professional Development You Have Undertaken
Less Is Not More With a CV
While you do not want to bury a prospective employer in an avalanche of information about yourself, a CV is often at least five to ten pages in length. If you are a senior practitioner in your field, your Curriculum Vitae may well extend to 20 pages and beyond. This is so that you can list how extensively you have been published and include your many speaking engagements of a professional nature. Over time these things add up.
The overall impression that you want to get across is that your achievements are so vast, that your work history and/or credentials are so far-reaching, that you come off looking rock solid as a candidate for the positions you will be applying to.
Make certain that you read any instructions provided by employers in their job postings. When it comes to CV’s, some employers are very specific about what they want you to include and how the information should be laid out. Follow the instructions then submit a stellar CV when appropriate – and your next job may be closer than you think.