Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV) are two tricky terms. While many think that the only difference between them is their names, some wager that it is the different variations of English we have; British and American. Generally, these two perceptions are correct, but there is more to them that is only known to a few.
Most people mix the terms up, costing them various job opportunities. The worst part is that they do not know. So when an employer asks for one, they always end up presenting the other. Also, people do not know the importance of having the two.
Now, the big question is, what are the differences between them? When do you need a resume, and when is presenting a CV more appropriate?
What is a CV?
Curriculum Vitae, otherwise known as CV, is a Latin word that means “course of life.” Hence, it is a document that tells a story about one’s life. Sometimes, I call it a diary.
It is an extensive way of presenting yourself to an employer or organization. It contains comprehensive information like your full name, contact info, academic journey, qualifications, skills, certifications, work experience, hobbies, courses, internships, and awards. You can also add your publications, research interests, training, languages, past projects, and extracurricular activities.
Because of all this information and more that you need to include in a Curriculum Vitae, they are usually very long and require several pages. Also, for every new change, like completing volunteer work, gaining a new skill, certificate, or degree, and a new job, you must update it with the info.
Therefore, it is not a concise way of telling a potential employer about yourself since it may contain irrelevant information.
However, there are times when it is very important to have both. One of these times is when you are applying for an academic position. This type of position values your academic achievements, research interests, educational background, teaching experience, publications, and references.
What is a Resume?
On the other hand, a resume is a concise way of telling an employer about yourself. It omits many irrelevant details and only tells what you need to win a job.
It is a better way of presenting your work experience, educational background, skills, and achievements that are only useful and specific to your job application. This way, employers and recruiters immediately know what makes you qualify for the job. It is better than to note from a sea of irrelevant information you have included in your Curriculum Vitae.
Since a good resume should show your work experience only relevant to the position you are applying for, any other employment history should be excluded. Afterward, you can include only relevant skills, certificates, interests, and education history.
Also, unlike a CV with multiple pages, it is advisable to make your resume a single page as it increases your chances of winning a job or getting an interview. You can then accompany it with a good cover letter that builds on the skills, achievements, and work experience you included.
However, keeping a resume can be very tasking since you must create many versions for different job titles. And, of course, you will also need to write a tailored cover letter almost every time you send a job application. See what interviewers are looking for in our expert-tailored article.
Differences between CV and Resume
Now that we know what they are, it is time to look at what differences they have.
As I said earlier, in your Curriculum Vitae, you need to add all of your experiences, irrespective of the job or position you are applying for. However, regarding a resume, only the experience relevant to the position you are applying for matters.
Because of the number of information you must add to your CV from time to time, the pages keep getting longer. However, since resumes do not have this excess info, they are smaller. Thus, the former generally has 2 pages and above, while the latter has only one page; with a cover letter.
A Curriculum Vitae is mostly used in settings where academic accomplishments are the main criteria for qualifying. This could be to win academic research grants, apply for lecturing positions, etc. On the other hand, resumes are more suitable for normal jobs since they outline only the relevant skills and experience needed.
A CV always starts with your education history and academic achievements because of its purpose. On the other hand, a resume starts from relevant work history, followed by skills.
The Bottom Line
Regarding purpose, length, and relevancy of information, resumes and CVs are not the same. 99% of the time, it is better to send an employer the former.
Also, to write an ideal resume, ensure you only include relevant information related to the job you are applying for. A generic one will not present you as the best candidate to your recruiter. Also, do not forget to craft a terrific cover letter for each job. It tells the recruiter you are serious about the job application.
Nonetheless, it is very important to have the two if you are applying for a job in an educational institution. Many interviewers and recruiters in the education sector love to see all your academic achievements and records even if they are not relevant to the job. So you have a lot of room to impress them with your many achievements.