A curriculum vitae (CV) and a resume both help you promote your skills, experience, and achievements to potential employers, clients, and partners. But how are they different? As the two documents have different purposes, the information included in each varies as well.
Here’s how a CV vs. resume can help you choose which one works best for your next job application or business pitch!
Curriculum Vitae Vs. Resume
Having both a CV and resume is essential in the job hunting process, but they’re often confused with one another. What’s the difference between the two? Let’s find out!
What Is a Curriculum Vitae?
A curriculum vitae, often shortened to CV, is a Latin term that means course of life. It is a detailed professional document highlighting a person’s work experience and accomplishments.
Employers often require a CV when considering applications. It may also be necessary for graduates or those who have been out of the workforce for some time.
The format differs depending on whether you are writing a resume or CV, and it can be an intimidating task. In general, it is important to present your strengths in the best possible light by putting your achievements front and center.
How to Write a CV
A CV is a concise document that summarizes your past, existing professional skills, proficiency and experiences. The purpose of this document is to showcase and demonstrate that you have the required skills (and some complementary ones) to do the job for which you are applying. Most employers require a CV when considering applications.
Most of the time, recruiters only spend 6 seconds scanning a CV. So, the best thing you can do is to ensure you leave a lasting impression on it. If you submit a clear, organized document, recruiters will be convinced to scan your CV more. A poorly created CV, on the one hand, will only cause your application to be removed in the first round.
To format a CV properly, do this:
1. Know the proper order of sections
There is a correct way to list your information on your CV. It often follows this format:
- Header with contact information
- Objective or summary
- Work experience
- Educational Background
- Other Essential Sections
2. Use clear fonts
When formatting your CV, it has to appear professional. And for that, you need to use clear fonts. Experts suggest using standard fonts like Arial or Helvetica. But you can also use Times New Roman or Tahoma if those are your preferred fonts.
Also, use 11 or 12 font sizes and single spacing. For your name and other headings, use 14 or 16 font sizes.
3. Stick to a consistent layout
The ideal margin for your CV should be one-inch on all four sides. Be sure that you use uniform headings, and if possible, make them bolder and larger.
4. Make it short but relevant
Don’t be among the many applicants who write everything that happened in their lives on their CVs. With so many applicants wanting to land an opportunity in the corporate world, recruiters don’t have the luxury of time to read everything.
Other CVs in Use (UK, International)
A curriculum vitae, or CV, is a longer and more detailed document than a resume. It is often used in academic or research settings, as well as for job applications outside the United States.
CVs are typically used for positions in government, medicine, academia, and research. In the UK, they are also sometimes used in place of a resume for positions in the private sector. They are similar to a US-style résumé but can be up to two pages long. If you’re looking for something shorter and less formal, write a US-style résumé.
An international CV is essentially the same as a resume (US) but without some of the personal information that would not be relevant or legally required in other countries, such as your social security number, photo, and date of birth.
What Is a Resume?
A well-written resume should tell an employer what you bring to the table while still maintaining professionalism. It should provide information about what skills you have and how they will benefit the company in question, as well as discuss relevant work history or education that might qualify you for this particular position.
Other Resumes in Use (UK, International)
There are many different types of resumes in use today, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
In the United States, the most common type of resume is the chronological resume. This type of resume lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent position listed first.
The chronological resume is a good choice if you have a long and consistent work history. If you have gaps in your employment history or are changing careers, you may want to consider a different type of resume, such as a functional resume.
A functional resume focuses on your skills and qualifications instead of your work history. This type of resume can be a good choice if you have gaps in your employment history or are changing careers.
The perfect resume highlights not only your past experiences but also how these past experiences make you perfect for the position available today!
How to Write a Resume
Get your professional resume right, and you will land several interviews with the companies you applied to. Create a resume that is weak, and you will end up waiting for weeks before you get a reply. So, how do you make a resume that gets you to interview invitations with HR managers?
Aside from the fact that you can actually use an online resume maker, you may also follow these steps:
1. Choose the correct resume format
As mentioned above, there are different types of resume formats. The best choice depends on the type of job you want to apply for and your experience.
The chronological resume format is the most popular resume format. And it is ideal for candidates backed with years of work experience in the position they are interested in. The skills-based resume format, on the contrary, is recommended for students or those looking for a career change.
Now, regardless of what resume format you follow, it is important that you also choose the right layout. The right layout usually meets the following standards:
- One page length
- Clear section headings
- Enough white space
- Clear font
- Correct font size
- Saved as a PDF file
2. Include your personal details and contact information
Now that we have discussed the basics, let’s delve into the essentials. The most important sections to include in a resume are:
- Contact information – This is the most critical part of your resume because, even when you have done everything correctly, you won’t be called for an interview if the HR manager doesn’t know how to reach you. This part should include your complete name, phone number, address, and email address.
- Summary or objective – We all know that first impressions matter, especially in the corporate world. And the best way to leave a lasting impression is to write a resume summary or objective. This section is simply a 2-3 sentence summary of your entire career.
- Work experience – This is the most important part of your resume because this is where you highlight your accomplishments and past roles. The standard format in listing your work experience should include your job title, company name, achievements, responsibilities, and dates employed.
- Achievements – Many fail to include this section thinking that it doesn’t really matter. But in most cases, the hiring manager would appreciate knowing what achievements you had throughout your career. Talk about how you helped a company grow and so on.
- Education – Lastly, don’t forget to write about your educational attainment. This should include the program name, school name, years attended, honors, and achievements.
3. Talk about your hard and soft skills
Another crucial section in your resume is the Skills section. Here, you will talk about what makes you the best candidate for the job. Basically, there are two skill types you can write in your resume: hard skills and soft skills. While hard skills are your measurable abilities, soft skills are more personal, such as social skills, critical thinking, and leadership.
The Common Mistakes to Avoid With Your CV/Resume
When it comes to your CV or resume, there are a few common mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. We’ve listed them below.
- Make sure that you proofread your document thoroughly before sending it off. Typos and grammatical errors can make you look careless and unprofessional.
- Avoid using generic or vague language. Be specific about your skills and experience, and use concrete examples to illustrate your points.
- Don’t include irrelevant information, such as your hobbies or personal interests. Stick to the facts and keep your CV or resume concise and to the point.
- Remember to tailor your CV or resume for each job posting that you apply for. Even if they have different requirements, the general structure of your document will remain largely the same.
- Pay attention to formatting; while some people like block-style formatting (one idea per paragraph), others prefer bulleted lists instead.
Which One to Choose: A Curriculum Vitae or a Resume?
Most people think of a CV as a longer and more detailed version of a resume. In many ways, it is. But there are also some key differences that you should be aware of before you start writing your CV.
A resume is generally less than two pages long, but a CV can often be up to four pages long or even longer. A resume will focus on your experience and skills, whereas the focus of a CV will vary depending on the position for which you’re applying.
For example, if you’re applying for an academic position in art history, then your academic background will take center stage in the CV; if you’re applying for an IT job, then your technical skills will likely take priority in the document.
The purpose of each document varies based on its audience (e.g., employers or graduate schools) and thus may require different formatting and emphasis in order to best convey information to readers who are most interested in what they want to know about you.
So, how do you decide which one to use? Here’s a breakdown: If you’re applying for jobs and have little work experience, use a resume. If you’re applying for graduate school, use a CV. If you’re unsure about either document, ask the institution directly which one they prefer to receive.