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CV vs RESUME; What You Should Know

by Israel Akintunji

Have you been wondering what could be the difference between this two dominant words in the job seeking world? Both words are commonly used interchangeably especially here in Nigeria. Most times we get confused of which one to use. Although it’s generally known that CV is A British English, while Resume is American, but more than that,  there are some discrepancies between these two majorly used job-seeking documents.  Let’s start by going through the meaning of both documents.

Basically, there are three major differences between CVs and resumes are the length, the purpose and the layout. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, a CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.

A CV has a clear chronological order listing the whole career of the individual whereas a resume’s information can be shuffled around to best suit the applicant. I would say the main difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is intended to be a full record of your career history and a resume is a brief, targeted list of skills and achievements

CV

A CV (Curriculum Vitæ, which means a course of life in Latin) is an in-depth document that can be laid out over two or more pages and it contains a high level of detail about your achievements, a great deal more than just a career biography. The CV covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honours etc.

The document tends to be organised chronologically and should make it easy to get an overview of an individual’s full working career. A CV is static and doesn’t change for different positions, the difference would be in the cover letter.

RESUME

A resume, or résumé, is a concise document typically not longer than one page as the intended the reader will not dwell on your document for very long. The goal of a resume is to make an individual stand out from the competition.

The job seeker should adopt the resume to every position they apply for. It is in the applicant’s interest to change 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 ordered chronologically, doesn’t have to cover your whole career like and is a highly customisable document.

So in brief,

CV – long, covers your entire career, static
Resume – short, no particular format rule, highly customisable

Usage around the world:

A resume is the preferred application document in the US and Canada. Americans and Canadians would only use a CV when applying for a job abroad or if searching for an academic or research-oriented position.

In the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, a CV is used in all contexts and resumes aren’t used at all. The CV prevails in mainland Europe and there is even a European Union CV format available for download.

In Germany, the CV is more commonly known as a Lebenslauf (true to the Latin origins) and is only one of many application documents the poor German job seekers must produce to get an interview.

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In Australia, India and South Africa, the terms resume and CV are used interchangeably. The term resume is used more for jobs in the private sector and CV is more commonplace when applying for public service positions.

 

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