Have you ever been stumped by the employer’s request for a CV and lost a great job opportunity because you only had a resume? That’s what happened to one of our clients, and that’s what happens to dozens of inexperienced job seekers around the globe. What is a resume and what is a curriculum vitae? Is there a difference or are these documents interchangeable? Today we answer these questions and help you get rid of the confusion once and for all and share the CV and resume writing tips to help you with both.
What Is a CV vs Resume Debate?
Every college freshman knows they need to work on their resume, but few realize they might need a CV. The trouble is, the US and Canada employment application standards differ from European ones. While American employers are always in a hurry and want to know who you are at a glance, in Europe, the companies prefer an in-depth recruitment process to save time in the long run. As always, there are exceptions in both cases, and we’ll talk about them once we settle the semantic question of “What is a CV vs resume?”.
What Is a Curriculum Vitae?
According to its Latin roots, the document should describe the course of your life, academic and professional. Here are the essential features that set a CV apart from a resume:
- The more detailed your curriculum vitae is, the better. It can take two or three pages for entry-level candidates, while experienced job seekers’ CVs can span a dozen pages.
- A CV is more or less a biography, and to make sense it should be formatted in chronological order, starting with your education and wrapping up with your latest job positions and achievements.
- Curriculum vitae is a static document that can lengthen with time, but not change dramatically. Therefore, you can send out the same CV for all positions.
- A CV is credential-based. Instead of concentrating on skills, focus on achievements supported by objective evidence, such as certificates, awards, diplomas.
What Is a Resume?
According to its French roots, the document should be a bite-sized summary of your academic, professional, and personal experiences and skills. The primary differences that set it apart from curriculum vitae include:
- A resume is an elevator pitch, whereas a CV is a two-hour long presentation. Recruiters spare under 10 seconds for your resume, so your critical advantages for the employer should catch their eye from the get-go.
- There are three acceptable resume formats and hundreds of templates online, free and premium. You can either focus on your work experience, relevant skills, or a combination of the two.
- No two job opening descriptions are alike; therefore your resume should be tailored to each of them if you want a good chance of success. You can tweak and improve your resume for every position and save the files for later use.
- A resume is competency-based. Most employers do not care about your work history if it demonstrates the skill set to meet their needs. Therefore, you should sprinkle relevant skills across the file and provide evidence to support the claims.
CV and Resume Writing Tips
By now you should realize there is no real contest in the “CV vs Resume” battle. Both documents are equally essential in your job hunt, and you will probably need the two before you secure the dream job. Here is how you can save hours and customize your resume to any position quickly:
- Write your curriculum vitae with all the relevant information up to this point. The earlier you complete this step, the easier it will be.
- Update your CV whenever you gain new credentials. You should add your college diploma, Coursera certificates, internships, part-time job experiences, volunteer work, publications, and more.
- When you find an exciting job opportunity, read the application requirements carefully. If the employer requires a CV, your job is almost done. Check the document for mistakes, format it according to the instructions, and send out. If the resume is required, move to the next step.
- Select a resume template that fits your career objective and fill it with relevant information from the CV. Your education and work experience sections will be done in 2 minutes flat.
- Add career objective, additional skills, and other sections you deem necessary. Tailor the style and insert keywords to meet the requirements of the job posting. Edit, format, and send out the resume.
- In case you do not get or accept the offer, look for other exciting job opportunities and repeat the process. Once you have created several resumes, you can mix and match sections, individual entries, or passages to speed up the writing stage. Make sure you always edit the finished document before mailing it to the employer.
It might seem like a lot of work, but if you make updating the CV regularly a habit, creating and customizing your resumes for different positions will take no time. Unfortunately, the process is not as seamless if you try it the other way around. If you mash several resumes into a single curriculum vitae, it will probably turn into a Frankenstein’s monster not likely to get you the dream job.
Need More Help on Your Resume and CV?
Making sense of job application procedures and paperwork can drive even the most stable people crazy. With all the little technicalities and dozens of nuances, it is nearly impossible to get everything just right on your first try, and there is no time for trial and error.You need not rely on luck anymore! With our writers’ help on Resume101, you can get a cv writing service, CV, cover and follow-up letters, or a LinkedIn profile in a couple of days. You will finally have the confidence to send out your applications, and the interview invitations will follow soon. Let our writers translate your achievements and experiences into HR-speak, and your job prospects will immediately look better!