Be Sure to Know What Is the Difference Between Resume and CV

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Why CV vs Resume is Important

CV, resume – both tell an employer about your accomplishments. So what’s the big deal? Can’t you just turn in the same document regardless of what’s being requested? Well, no – there are some pretty significant differences between the two. If you’re confused, read on as we explore them. You’ll learn how to write each and when to use either one.

What Is CV and Resume?

CV, or curriculum vitae, comes from the Latin for “course of life”. Resume comes from a French word meaning “a summary”. As ever, the etymology is helpful to know, because the original definitions tell you a lot about the current ones.

A resume is a short summary of your professional career. It is generally between one and two pages, and it includes only the most vital information about your professional life. You won’t go into detail about what you studied or any awards you’ve been granted. You’ll be focusing primarily on past jobs. The watchword for the resume is “succinct”: tell as much as you can with as few words as you can.

By contrast, a CV is a detailed record of your career, professional or academic or both. You should still be brief, but you’re permitted to go into more detail about your accomplishments and your education. If you’ve conducted research relevant to the position, it should be included. Though relevancy will still be crucial, you can include much more of what you’ve done. Scholarships, fellowships, awards, publications, and work experience will all feature in your CV.

This makes it sound simple to differentiate, but that’s not always the case. There are numerous complicating factors which we will explore shortly.

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Tell the Difference Between CV and Resume

So what are the main ways you can tell the difference between a CV and a resume?

The shortest answer is length. A resume that stands out will be one page for someone without much experience, potentially two for someone with a lot of industry experience. A CV isn’t limited by length; most are at least two pages, often stretching to more.

Of course, if you’re a new grad who’s barely written anything, your CV might the length of your resume, so instead consider content. If you’re only putting your professional history, a personal summary, and a bare-bones sketch of your education, that’s a resume. If you’re putting detailed information about your education, like awards and publications, that’s a CV.

Of course, CVs aren’t just used for academia; in European countries particularly, resumes aren’t used, and CVs are the standard. However, if you’re in the United States, you’ll primarily be using a CV for school or for academic employment positions. And if you’re in Europe, you won’t need to know the different between a resume and a CV, as you won’t have to use anything else.

But how can you tell when you’re supposed to use which? After all, some jobs do stand on the boundary between academia and business. Fortunately, this is easier than you think! Most jobs will tell you outright whether they want to see a CV or a resume. It’s a good idea to have both prepared. If the job description doesn’t say which to send, play it safe and send both along with your cover letter.

Quick note: you should tailor your resume to any position you apply for. Your CV, however, will generally only change as you acquire more accomplishments. The only thing you might tailor is your relevant work experience section.

How to Get a Great CV or Resume

A great CV or resume is the key to getting an amazing job. Your resume or CV is the one chance you have to tell your potential employer something about yourself, and they’ll spend very little time on it. It’s up to you to make an impact in the few seconds they have to skim. Make sure your resume or CV makes an impact. Hiring a cheap CV writing service will help you with that.

If you were asking yourself “What is the difference between resume and CV?” contact us now and find out more on how to create either one!