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CV vs Resume: The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae

The CV vs resume debate is prevalent among job seekers and hiring managers. So, what are the differences between the two, and is resume the same as CV?

There’s no doubt that career and resume writing have changed drastically over the past few decades. It was once considered standard practice for employers to ask candidates to hand-write their resumés (yes, people actually did this in the 1980s). However, it seems like resumes are simply ignored by employers these days. 

This article will answer the questions including: What is a CV? What is a resume? And the difference between cv and resume.

CV vs resume: Key Differences, Definitions, and Tips

Is resume the same as cv? Hiring processes have become so streamlined and automated that only companies with significant human resources departments feel obligated to manually sift through hundreds of applications each week looking for talent. At the same time, smaller startups can get away with not having any HR or recruitment team at all. When you combine this with the fact that more and more companies are outsourcing their recruiting efforts to third-party agencies who use software to scan through thousands of resumes every day, it makes sense why most job seekers have stopped reading their own resumés.

difference between CV and resume

What is a CV? What is a resume?

What is a CV?

Curriculum vitae (CV) is often used to describe documents that list an individual’s relevant work history, qualifications, publications, etc. A CV is less formal than a résumé and can include more personal information like hobbies, interests, and contact information. Unlike the résumé’s focus on work experience or education history, the CV consists of any relevant experience or education. When applying for an academic position in Europe, you may be asked to submit your CV as part of your application materials.

What is a Resume?

A resume focuses on your job history and skills, whereas a CV emphasizes your personal accomplishments. Both documents are essential, but they serve different purposes. Your resume is designed to get you noticed for a specific type of position where you can apply your skills as an entry-level sales job. In contrast, a CV shows employers and recruiters details about your life outside of work, such as previous volunteer activities and sports teams.

For example, if you were looking for a marketing job, you would use a resume. If you were applying for a job in academia, then it’s likely you would look more toward a CV.

But when it comes to cv vs resume, what do you need to write, and how long should each be? Let’s find out! Check out the tips below, based on years of experience helping job seekers prepare their resumes and CVs:

1) Keep it short. A resume shouldn’t exceed two pages unless you have multiple career experiences to highlight. Focus on keywords and phrases used by hiring managers when describing positions, so you know exactly what they’re looking for. You don’t want to waste space with unnecessary information.

2) Use bullet points. A bulleted list makes an easy-to-read page since you only need to read one line at a time. Each item stays brief, giving hiring managers enough information to decide whether to call you back.

3) Avoid clichés. Hiring managers aren’t stupid. They’ll catch something that sounds clichéd, even if you mean well. Instead of describing yourself as “energetic” or “motivated,” talk about how you’ve contributed to past projects and organizations. Show them how you stand apart from other applicants.

4) Include keywords. When writing your resume or CV, keep it interesting by including some industry terms to help you land the job. For instance, if you specialize in finance, try using “finance” and “accounting” every once in a while. This will give hiring managers a clue why you’re interested in this company.

5) Stay positive. This doesn’t mean you should lie about anything, but don’t go overboard, emphasizing all of your strengths and skills. Some people think you have to say, “I am amazing at everything,” but you don’t have to emphasize weaknesses either.

6) Have several versions. Just because you’re not sure what kind of employer you’re dealing with, don’t assume that you need a single format for both your resume and your CV. Prepare three to four versions of each document – one version for each audience. Then choose the best version based on the job description and company culture.

7) Add contact info. Always add your email address and phone number to your resume and CV. These are free ways to stay in touch with companies as opportunities come up in the future, plus you never know when someone may ask about you.

8 ) Know your audience. Understand which kind of company you’re targeting before creating your documents. Think about who is reading your document and what they expect. Remember that a resume isn’t meant to be a novel, so stick to the basics.

Difference between CV and resume

If you are one of those asking, is resume the same as CV? Here are the key difference between a CV vs resume:

A resume is used to describe your work experience and qualifications. It contains detailed information on education and work experience but only within a specific field of expertise or geographic location. A resume is used in job applications and generally includes seven sections: 

  • Objective Job Statement: Describes the position you seek and why you want it. 
  • Education: Your education history, including name, address, graduation date, degrees earned, etc.
  • Professional Experience: Work history with dates, titles, employers’ names, project descriptions, or details in an industry or geographic location that is relevant to the position you seek.
  • Volunteer Experience: Activities and projects you have been involved in and your skills while performing them.
  • Skills: A list of your skills grouped according to language, technical, business, and interpersonal skills.
  • Other Desired Skills: Any other unique or unusual abilities that will contribute to job performance.
  • Contact Information: Contact information including address, telephone number, email address, etc.

In general, the significant difference between CV and resume is that the latter summarizes your work history in chronological order along with dates, titles, and employers’ names and addresses. You should always check to see if the position listed is the same as that you are applying for. To be complete, you may want to include where you have worked in the experience sections of your resume.

A résumé, which is often called a “resume” in an American-English context, is essentially the same thing but is used for any position or placement (like a job application). Another difference between CV and resume is that a CV can be used to apply for jobs abroad, while a résumé should only be used in applying for job opportunities in the US or any other country within your area of expertise. Résumés are generally one page long and are not used when applying for jobs within your home country.

There you have it —a complete breakdown of CV vs resume. While both a resume and a curriculum vitae are primarily about personal data, a curriculum vitae has been explicitly designed to highlight a candidate’s professional background. In addition, unlike resumes, which are typically just lists of positions held, CVs tend to be more visually appealing and less wordy than a traditional resume. They also contain much more content than the average resume and are tailored to fit different fields. Furthermore, a curriculum vitae uses a series of subheadings that allow candidates to expand on their key accomplishments. Unlike resumes, CVs cannot be sent via email. However, most HR professionals recommend sending a cover letter first with a printed copy of the CV attached.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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