Resume vs CV

Resume vs CV

At face value, it would seem the resume and CV are pretty much the same things since they both aim to achieve the same target, which is, land you a job by showcasing your work history. Truth is, they are as different as night and day.

The resume is more common in the United States and Canada while CV is requested in Europe and most other regions. Having said that, it is important to state early that the resume and CV don’t have quite the same function and thus are not interchangeable.

In this article, we will show you exactly why they are not interchangeable documents.

The resume offers the best way to showcase your relevant education and experience, allows you to talk about the skills and interests that make you the best fit for the job.

The CV, on the other hand, is the preferred document for showing ALL of your experience, details about your education, listing your courses and certifications, interests, volunteer work, and publications etc. Essentially, the CV is a lot longer and more detailed.

We will take a look at both and learn how and when to use each, some of the many questions people ask are:

  • What each type of document aims to achieve
  • What type of information should I put on my resume or CV
  • When and how to use both the resume and CV

What the resume aims to achieve –

A resume is a concise document typically about one page. Your goal when drafting a resume is to stand out from the competition.

Every resume should be adapted to the particular role or position you are applying for. It is in your interest to tweak 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 chronologically ordered either does it have to cover your whole career life cycle.

Contents of a resume are:

  • Contact information
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Awards & Certifications
  • Skills & Interests

A good resume is:

  • Concise
  • No longer than one or two pages (preferably one page)
  • Shows your skills that are best suited to the job
  • Include numerical information

It cannot be overemphasized why you should always customize your resume to the position you are applying for. Never use the same resume used to apply for a data analyst for a Procurement officer positions.

Your resume need not include every job role that you have ever held. Only include your relevant experience. They really don’t want to read about that winter you served hot soup at the corner shop, well, except if it is relevant to the role being applied for.

What the CV aims to achieve –

While the CV aims to show your professional experience, it requires a lot more information and thus longer than the resume. On your CV, you are encouraged to, provide more details about skills, education, past work etc.

A CV (Curriculum Vitae, which means the course of life in Latin) is an in-depth document that spans over two or more pages filled with a high level of detail about your career achievements. The CV covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honors, certifications etc.

The document is most often than not organized chronologically making it easy to get an overview of an individual’s full working career. A CV is static meaning it need not change for different positions.

The CV being a few pages long is not a bad thing, because after all, you want to show o your prospective employer that you’ve been working hard and smart to change the world.

You will find the following on a CV:

  • Contact information
  • Experience in detail
  • Education
  • Courses
  • Published work
  • Awards
  • Certifications
  • Skills
  • References

Now that we have had a look at the objectives of both the resume and CV, let us move on to what to include in each.

The resume vs CV has similar core information and the differences lie in the fact that the CV requires further details.

Both types of the document include:

  • Contact info
  • Summary/objective
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Interests

For a resume, all the above information can fit comfortably on a single page. Use formatting, margins and horizontal lines. The resume, as a rule, includes all of those and be well-formatted.

Besides those 6 core points, the CV which is longer and more elaborate will also include:

  1. Short biography
  2. Courses completed
  3. Graduate school
  4. Research work experience
  5. Study abroad
  6. International experience if any
  7. Theses and dissertations
  8. Certifications
  9. Scholarships and grants won
  10. Presentations and lectures giving
  11. Public speaking experience(s) if any
  12. Volunteer work
  13. References

The CV gives a much more detailed representation of you, the candidate vs the resume. This is why it is longer by default. Ensure it is well formatted so it is easy to read.

When and how to use both the resume and CV

When deciding on whether to use a Resume vs CV, it really depends on the position. The job itself would usually ask for the appropriate documents, so leaving no room for confusion. The resume is the most frequently requested document for most positions in the United States.

Most Academic job role such as researcher, professor usually require a CV which contains more information about yourself, your education and certifications.

The resume has stated earlier is only popular in the USA; Most other African and European countries will likely require a CV instead of a resume. Basically, the American resume is the European CV.

Please note that it is not advisable to have a photo on your resume, some countries or companies may require one otherwise leave it out.


Resume vs CV – What are the differences between them?

The main differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are length, layout, where each is used, content or information included, and what each is used for. While both are meant for job applications, they are not always interchangeable.

Length – A curriculum vitae (CV) provides a summary of your experience and skills. Typically, a resume is one page long while CVs for entry-level candidates are longer than resumes – at least two or three pages. CVs for mid-level and top-level candidates who have amassed numerous experience, education and publications tend to run much longer than three pages.

Layout – Resumes starts with contact information followed by a summary or objective. Your education and work experience sections come next, finally, you add a skills section to your resume and any extra sections you need. If you have little to no work experience, it is advised that you put your education details first; if a professional with work experience, then, you should lead with the experience section. You should start the work experience and education with your most recent job and degree.

You should always ensure you tailor your resume to match the job description of the role being applied for.

There is no clear layout for a CV. Your best line of action will be to look for examples of CVs. You can use the CVs of people who have applied to similar positions to get an idea of how yours should be structured.

Usage – In the United States, a resume is commonly used as a method of application for most industries, while the CV is preferred for academic or research positions. In Europe and most other countries, the CV is a common means of application, but the resume is still helpful.

Most resumes are competency-based: they are your personal marketing documents intended to showcase you the candidate’s skills, notable achievements, and work experience to the greatest advantage. CVs, submitted for jobs in scientific research, medical fields, and, academia, are credential-based, providing a comprehensive and lengthy list of your education or academic background, degrees, awards, publications, presentations, certifications, research experience, and professional affiliations and memberships and other achievements.

CVs are therefore lengthier than resumes and should include more information, particularly details related to your academic and research background. At the end of the day, your CV should contain as many if not all of your achievements and details about your work as necessary.

Bonus tips

Make sure to set up a great LinkedIn profile as well. A great LinkedIn profile is one with thorough information about your career, work experiences interests, and a professional photo. Chances are that recruiters will compare your resume or CV with details from your LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn is a good way to connect with the company you are applying to. Follow them for relevant updates and know what they are up to. A less tense space to connect with the recruiters as well. Get to see what you have in common and how such knowledge can come in useful during the interview.

With all that in mind, we wish you the absolute best choosing your perfect job and writing a winning resume or CV to apply.

Resume vs CV

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