Curriculum Vitae vs Resume

Every potential employer around the world is going to want to look at your curriculum vitae (CV) or your resume (or résumé). But, how do you determine which one to use? And what are the differences between these two different tools?

In some countries and industries, in particular US and Canada, job listings typically request a resume; in others, a CV is the norm, as in mainland Europe.

But, if we want to be more precise, in the United States, even if most jobs require resumes, academic or research-based positions require CVs. And sometimes both are required. 

In UK, the CV model also known as “European CV” is not really appreciated, and resumes aren’t used at all.

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

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

To further complicate things, in some places, people use these terms interchangeably. A resume or a CV is the core of any application, so it’s essential to know what each is and what it does.

  • Resume comes from the French word résumé, meaning “summary.” A resume is a remarkable summary of a person’s professional experiences, education, certifications, and skills. It serves as a snapshot of a person’s professional experience.
  • CV comes from the Latin curriculum vitae, and meaning “course of life.” A CV is a detailed collection of all of a person’s professional and educational experiences, accomplishments, and awards. It serves as a brief personal and professional biography. As said, in the US, CVs are the most common documents in academia.

Neither document is meant to be entirely comprehensive, because it’s impossible to capture on paper the full range of a person’s experiences, capabilities, qualifications and show the personal skills in an exhaustive way. 

Instead, both are meant to spark larger conversations about those experiences and qualifications. 

Ultimately, the core differences between the two come down to length, detail, and customization also because the proliferation of social networks tend to harmonize the way to communicate these information. 

Where a resume would aim for brevity, stick to one page, and be highly customized for different circumstances, a CV would aim for detail, have no page restrictions in academia (no more 2 pages for private sector).

Remember, the three major differences between CVs and resumes are the length, the purpose and the layout, but, what happen if you apply for an American company in Europe or vice versa? I can imagine that the (exhausted) person in the HR office, who is responsable of screening cv phase, will accept both types, although I would recommend you use the local version. It’s not too hard to convert your document after all, and you can find lots of exemples of both documents in the world wide web.


Articolo pubblicato il 26/10/2016 sul mio profilo LinkedIn.