The difference between a CV and a Resume – Do not Mistake a CV for a Resume

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The difference between a CV and a Resume

The difference between a CV and a ResumeOne task while laying the foundation of your career is to have a document that gives the details of you; with particular reference to your professional life. This document is crucial as it provides an overview of the prospective hiring managers, of who they are dealing with, and thereby ascertain if you meet their criteria. Now, a CV or Curriculum Vitae and a Resume, are both such documents that provide the essential information of any working or would be working individual. However, though most commonly mistaken as the same thing, there are various areas in which the difference between a CV and a Resume can be easily pointed out.

Size – while a CV gives you ample space to pen down extensive and complete details over 2-3 pages; a resume is restricted to just one page, at the most two pages. Nothing more than that will be accepted as a resume. This feature makes a CV more suitable for entry-level candidates as you get the opportunity to put in front of the recruiter your entire educational background, qualifications, and accolades.

The point of focus – the educational details of an applicant is the critical point of focus in a CV as opposed to a resume. When a resume is more concentrated on the skills and achievements of the individual, a CV gives a platform for the individual to display all of his/her educational achievements. The awards, the honours, special grants or scholarships, anything that you may have received while still pursuing your studies, can and is included in a CV. The Curriculum Vitae is thus, more suited to the teaching profession and often used by the professionals of the academic industry

Contents – the contact information and educational qualification of an individual are the areas for which the information is given almost in the same length and manner in both. But the difference between a CV and a resume comes to the surface in the way in which the skills, achievements, and work experience are stated in the two documents. While in a CV the awards, accomplishments, and accolades are mentioned in great detail in an entirely dedicated section; in a resume, they are generally recorded under the additional sections. In a resume, the work experience area includes the mention of different roles and their corresponding responsibilities, whereas, in a CV it is reiterated as professional academic appointments, conference, teaching experience, research experience, non-academic activities, and the like. The one piece of content unique to the Resume, however, is its profile summary/resume summary/ job objective – this, you will not find in any CV.

Dynamics – a CV is by far an utterly static document; it does not change according to your requirements.  By this, I mean, that in case you are looking for a managerial job, if you use a CV, you will not be able to efficiently highlight all those position relevant skills that you need to. A resume, contrastingly, allows you to custom make your informative document; you have the scope to emphasize precisely those skills and achievements that you wish the recruiter to know. In other words, you present yourself to them in the way you desire them to see you.

Usage – yet another point of the difference between a CV and a Resume is how the word CV and Resume are used. All over Europe and New Zealand, the term CV is rampantly used to convey the same meaning as would the Resume in the United States of America.  On the other hand, in India, Australia and South Africa, the terms CV and Resume are interchangeably used meaning one and the same thing; again in the US, the Curriculum Vitae and the Resume are two distinct documents.

Based on the above usage pattern, I would suggest, if you intend to apply for a job in Canada or the United States, stick to the Resume. Contrarily, if you are interested in the academic sector and looking for a career in the same in North America, the CV it is that you have to draft. When in New Zealand or other parts of Europe, your application has to be in the format of Curriculum Vitae. But the twist here is, the format of such a CV bears a close resemblance to the Resume of the US and therefore does not include unnecessary details. If you are applying in Australia, you should know that both the terms are synonymous and refer to a brief informative document of the applicant. But if you are applying for a job in South Asian countries, then you will have to go for something known as the ‘biodata,’ which is a third name for the same type of document.

Even with the dissimilarities mentioned above, both the Curriculum Vitae and the Resume, include the references segment. The mode of conveying this information is, however, a little varied, because while it is optional in a resume and might be produced only on the demand of the potential recruiter; a CV has a dedicated page to all the references.

One last thing that is worth a mention, is both these documents have their specific areas of display, that is to say, if you are looking for a more non-academic kind of job in a private sector, then opt for a resume. If you, however, are more inclined towards government sector jobs, or the academic field, then the CV should be your choice.

In case you have a resume and the next job you are applying for demands a CV, you have the option of converting the former into the latter, but for that, you will have to be very careful in handling all the data and reproducing it in the appropriate form. You could seek the help of professionals in this regard.

So, the moment you decide on applying for a job in any industry, analyze the geographical area and acquire knowledge on which is the acceptable form of introductory document there. Accordingly, draft a CV or a Resume, for the fact remains, a document such as this can either make or break your career.

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