What Is The Difference Between a Resume and CV?

During job searches, many people encounter an abbreviation CV. It is usually perceived as a synonym for a resume. In many cases, when an applicant sees in the vacancy announcement a requirement to provide a CV, a regular resume is sent. Most often, it does not become an obstacle to reviewing a candidacy and inviting a specialist for a job interview. However, you need to understand the difference between CV and resume. It might be a situation when an employer expects to see your CV, but you send a resume. As a result, your chances to receive an invitation to an interview are decreased since you did not fulfill this requirement.

If your potential employer asks you to send or provide a CV for a job position, will a regular resume fit? Many people think that these two concepts are synonymous. You need to realize when to use a CV form and a resume. However, you need more information to decide what type of document should be submitted in particular cases. Understanding the meaning of these two words will help you figure out the purpose of creating these similar, but yet different papers.

CV or Curriculum Vitae

CV means the course of life in Latin. It implies a longer document than a standard resume. In Europe and Northern America, two versions of documents for submission are adopted - CV and resume. It is noteworthy that resumes are used mainly in the US and the English-speaking part of Canada, while CVs are typical for Europe and French-speaking Canada. CV primarily focuses on the applicant's educational background. Therefore, CV is a mandatory document for employment in the scientific, academic, and research spheres, as well as in jurisprudence, journalism, and medicine.

As a rule, CVs of entry-level applicants should have at least two or three pages. For mid-level specialists, who have accumulated numerous publications, this descriptive document can be much more voluminous. CV provides a detailed overview of your experience and attainments.

All the educational degrees and specialties that you obtained, employments, positions that you held, additional training courses, as well as work responsibilities should be listed in it in chronological order.

CV reflects absolutely all your life experience, including information about your family, place of residence, hobbies, and much more. You can include as many details as you see fit. For some specialties, for example, journalists and researchers, all their publications, conferences in which they participated, internships, training programs, achievements, social activity, and so on, should be included in their CVs. Online seminars and webinars can also be mentioned. In some cases, even texts of some papers can be enclosed. Thus, a CV may have several dozens of pages.

⏩ Generally, a CV has the following structure:

  • Contact Information;

  • Education and Training;

  • General working experience;

  • Teaching practice;

  • Research activity;

  • Scientific and research papers;

  • Achievements and awards;

  • Publications and presentations;

  • Affiliation;

  • Extracurricular activities;

  • References and letters of recommendation.

When you are asked to provide a CV, it means that they are interested in your candidacy as a whole. In CV, it is not customary to use highlighting, marking, special fonts, etc. Another distinguishing feature of this document is the use of first-person personal pronouns when listing responsibilities. As opposed to resumes, CVs are not needed to be focused on any specific point. So, you can send the same one to several positions, and this will not be a mistake. CV is of great importance for two main reasons:

  • With it, you are presenting the most significant aspects of your academic and professional experience. In this way, you simplify the task of the selection committee.

  • Mostly, a CV is the first document read by members of the admission board to form a general impression of an applicant. So, making the right first impression is crucial.

What Is a Resume?

In general, it is a summary of the essential data of a specialist. A resume is the most common copy requested by employers when they are searching for job applicants. It is a concise and strict document, which highlights the significant aspects of education and professional activity of the given candidate. The resume provides a summary of training, work history, job responsibilities, skills, and achievements.

In the resume, the employments are indicated in the reverse chronological order. Some data about the personality of the candidate is given in additional sections. The resume should be as short as possible and written on one or a maximum of two A4 pages. It depends on how long an applicant has been in the labor market. Sometimes large enterprises initially request one-page resumes when they expect a significant number of job candidates.

A resume is compiled for a specific work position. It is recommended to highlight each achievement in a particular job position and emphasize the abilities that helped to achieve success in business. The information indicated in the resume should correspond to the employer's requests. A resume does not just tell about you - it provides information strictly related to the vacancy and the employer's needs. School clubs and professional experience in fields that do not intersect with the given job are considered information noise.

A resume is a target document. It can even be called a marketing tool. Emphasis on experience, particular skills, and past achievements are usually selected for a specific vacancy. Thus, resumes can have different content depending on the job announcement for which they are sent. It is advised to rewrite a resume for each position since this allows attracting the employer's attention to your candidacy and increase the chances of being admitted to work. A good resume enables the employer to evaluate an applicant in a couple of minutes and find out whether he or she is fit for a vacant position.

The key points should be reflected in the resume, such as your strengths, advantages, and achievements. Here, each line should have a useful meaning. Otherwise, it is redundant. However, do not try to reduce your resume to a tiny size. If the information is related to the job you are applying for, then this data should be indicated in the resume. For instance, you can specify the languages you know. It is especially relevant if the offered job is associated with communication in these languages.

✅ The typical structure of the resume is:

  • Contact information;

  • Education with degrees obtained;

  • Work experience;

  • Additional data.

CV and Resume: Common and Differing Features

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? These two documents are very similar. They are used by people who seek to introduce themselves to potential employers. However, in most countries, applicants demonstrate their resumes and not CVs when they are applying for an opening. The difference between CV and resume is quite apparent. A CV covers all aspects of the person's career, while a resume speaks directly to a specific job position. Therefore, the content of these two documents is different - the CV is more detailed compared to the resume.

The main dissimilarities between these two papers are their length and goal. If a standard resume has up to two pages, then CV has no limits in length - this document can be written on ten and more pages. Also, a difference can be seen in the presentation style. The contrast lies not in a writing manner, but in how detailed the points in it are. Then, the information in the resume is given in the reverse order - from the present to the past. It is indicated according to the real chronology, from the beginning to the present, in the CV.

Speaking of what is the difference between a resume and a CV, it is also to note that these two copies also differ in goals to pursue. The key points are highlighted according to the results or plans to be achieved. In CVs, the emphasis is made on education, and in resumes, it is done on work experience that is directly related to the vacancy. In other words, a resume is brief information about both education and work experience done for a specific job. At the same time, CV is a description of each post that the author used to have in the course of labor activity, each specialty obtained, and all related details.

CV is rather comprehensive, and the resume is a concise document. CV is usually not changed for various positions and remains static. The resume is dynamic and varies depending on the job offered. With the help of a resume, an HR manager or company leader can quickly get an impression about the specialist who is behind it. The resume is intended for this purpose. In contrast, a careful study of CV will require a lot of time. Initially, CV was used in academic goals, and only later, it became widespread in business.

Interestingly these two documents are usually read by different people. The resume passes through the hands of HR managers, and only then can they request a detailed CV to provide it to the company head. Most often, CVs are read right away by senior managers who make an overall conclusion about the applicant's personality, not limiting themselves to professional skills.

Employers and HR officers are typically limited in time. Mostly, they have to browse many responses received for the given vacancy. They cannot spend much time thoroughly studying lengthy CVs. So, if you noticed in a job advert that a CV is needed, most likely, they meant a traditional resume. Therefore, you can safely send your standard resume to this company, provided that it is correctly and adequately composed.

Several Tips on Creating Your CV or Resume

When compiling a resume or a CV, attention should be paid to clarity, precision, and conciseness in the presentation of facts and data. These documents should be organized logically so that the reader can easily find the necessary information. Use one font and one text size for the entire paper, except for the name and section headings.

Very often, standard phrases and cliches can be noticed in both resumes and CVs. For example, applicants indicate typical skills, such as decision making, time management, communication skills, creativity, critical thinking, and so on. It is advisable to diversify this standard set and catch the employer with something more unusual.

Avoid spelling and grammar errors, as well as typos. If you have specified a particular professional skill, ensure that the text of your document does not contradict this statement. An impeccable language, the absence of mistakes, and being aware of what is the difference between a resume and a CV will significantly increase your odds of getting the job of your dreams.

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