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Difference Between Resume and CV

resume vs cv

How old were you when you found out CV and Resume are not the same thing? Maybe today-old? Don’t worry, I, too, was well into adulthood before realizing that a CV and a resume are two distinct documents. Although similar in many ways, there is a difference between Resume and CV. In this article, you will be properly introduced to the two subjects in a way that guides you to easily navigate the differences between the two and make the appropriate decision during job application.

What is a CV?

A CV, known as Curriculum Vitae, is a document that provides an overview of your professional and educational background. It is a comprehensive record of your employment history, academic qualifications, skills, achievements, and other relevant information. A CV is typically used when you want to apply for academic positions, research opportunities, or employment in professions where a detailed and thorough presentation of your qualifications is required. Unlike a resume, which is typically shorter and more focused on specific work experiences, a CV is more extensive and can be several pages long. It serves as a detailed and structured summary of your career and qualifications.

When to Use a CV

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is most appropriate for use if you want to get into a professional setting or situations where comprehensive and detailed overview of your academic and professional background is required. Here are common examples of those situations or settings:

  1. Academic Positions: If you’re diving into academia—teaching, researching, or leading the academic charge—a CV is your golden ticket. It’s your academic autobiography that helps you to explain your scholarly journey. It’s what you’ll also use for your Ph.D. applications and other postdoctoral opportunities.
  2. Research and Scientific Fields: If you are a professional in the scientific research field, whether biology, chemistry, physics, or engineering, then a CV is what you need to highlight your research projects, publications, conference presentations, and collaborations. If you’d also need to ask for grants for your works, a CV is what you’ll submit to show your expertise, previous research endeavors, and the potential impact of your work
  3. Medical and Healthcare Professions: As a healthcare professional, be it doctor, researcher, and clinician, you need a CV to showcase your education, medical training, clinical experience, research, and any specializations or certifications.
  4. Government and Nonprofit Organizations: If you are delving into sectors, such as government agencies and nonprofit organizations, CV is what would be often used to assess your qualification and experiences for specialized roles or positions that require a diverse skill set.
  5. Creative and Artistic Fields: As a professional in the creative industry, whether you are an artist, writer, or designer, you may also need a CV to present a comprehensive portfolio of your work, including exhibitions, publications, and relevant skills.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a concise document that provides a summary of your education, work experience, skills, achievements, and qualifications for the purpose of seeking employment. It is a marketing tool designed to showcase your professional background in a format that is easy to read and quickly communicates their suitability for a specific job. Resumes typically include key information such as your contact details, professional summary or objective, education, work experience, skills, and relevant accomplishments. Unlike a Curriculum Vitae (CV), resumes are generally shorter, usually not exceeding one or two pages, and are customized for each job application to highlight the most relevant qualifications and experiences. The primary goal of a resume is to capture the attention of potential employers and persuade them to invite you for an interview.

When to Use a Resume

difference between resume and CV

In a professional setting where a concise and targeted overview of your qualifications is needed for a job application, a Resume is the most appropriate to use. Here are some common situations where using a resume is appropriate:

  1. Job Applications: When you’re applying for job positions, whether in the private sector, government, or non-profit organizations, resumes are what you should use. They serve as a quick way to reveal or showcase your relevant skills and experiences effectively.
  2. Career Fairs: When you attend career fairs or networking events, you often meet potential employers or recruiters, and the only way you can quickly sell yourself is by providing them with your resume. It is a quick reference for them to gauge your qualifications and suitability for specific roles.
  3. Online Job Portals: What many of us do nowadays when we want to apply for job roles is to go through online job portals or visit company websites, and there you’ll find that the standard requirement is a resume. It is even easier for the employers to efficiently review and compare candidates.
  4. Internship Applications: If you’re a student or a recent graduate applying for internships or entry-level positions, resumes are what you would use. Resumes will emphasize your academic achievements, skills, and any relevant experiences that you may possess.
  5. Freelancing or Contract Work: As a freelancer or contractor, a resume is what you use when reaching out to potential clients. It helps you highlight your expertise, previous projects, and skills relevant to the services you offer.

What is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

Now I’m sure you can tell when to use a resume and not a CV, but is that all that sets them apart? No. There are other differences you need to know, that would help you to easily tell the difference between resume and CV, in terms of length, purpose, and sections. 

  1. Based on Length:
  • Resume: Resumes are concise and typically span one to two pages. They focus on brevity and place emphasis on your relevant experiences, skills, and achievements.
  • CV: CVs are more detailed and can be extensive, spanning multiple pages. They encompass a comprehensive overview of your academic and professional history.
  1. Based on Purpose:
  • Resume: Resumes are meant for specific job applications, emphasizing your skills and experiences that are directly relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • CV: CVs are usually comprehensive and they provide a detailed history of your academic and professional accomplishments. They are often used for academic, research, or international job applications.
  1. Based on Sections:
  • Resume: Resumes are usually known to have sections like, Contact Information, Summary or Objective, Work Experience, Skills, Education, and additional sections such as Certifications or Projects.
  • CV: CVs, on the other hand, have similar sections but more extensive, such as Contact Information, Academic Background, Work Experience, Research Experience, Teaching Experience, Publications, Presentations, Awards, and more. You should understand that there is no default per se, these sections can vary based on your career focus.

What to Include in a CV

  1. Contact Information:
  •    Full Name
  •    Professional Title
  •    Phone Number
  •    Email Address
  •    LinkedIn Profile (optional)
  1. Summary or Objective:
  •    Brief overview of your professional goals and qualifications
  1. Education:
  •   Degrees Earned
  •   Institutions Attended
  •   Graduation Dates
  • Academic Achievements (if notable)
  1. Work Experience:
  •   List of Previous Jobs
  •   Company Names
  •   Job Titles
  •   Employment Periods
  •   Job Responsibilities and Achievements
  1. Skills:
  •   Technical and Soft Skills Relevant to the Position
  1. Certifications:
  •   Relevant Professional Certifications
  1. Projects:
  •   Description of Key Projects Undertaken
  1. Research Experience:
  •   Details on Academic or Professional Research
  1. Teaching Experience:
  •   Academic or Training Roles and Responsibilities
  1. Publications:
  •    Academic Papers, Articles, or Publications
  1. Presentations:
  •    Conferences, Seminars, or Workshops Presented
  1. Awards and Honors:
  •    Recognition for Professional or Academic Achievements
  1. Professional Memberships:
  •    Affiliations with Relevant Organizations
  1. Languages:
  •    Proficiency in Languages (if applicable)
  1. Hobbies and Interests:
  •    Optional
  1. References:
  •    Available upon request

What to Include in a Resume

  1. Contact Information:
  •   Full Name
  •   Phone Number
  •   Email Address
  •   LinkedIn Profile (if applicable)
  1. Resume Summary or Objective:
  •    Brief overview of your career goals and notable achievements.
  1. Professional Experience:
  •   List of Previous Jobs
  •   Company Names
  •   Job Titles
  •   Employment Periods
  •   Key Achievements and Responsibilities
  1. Education:
  •   Degrees Earned
  •   Institutions Attended
  •   Graduation Dates
  1. Skills:
  •   Highlight your relevant technical and soft skills
  1. Certifications:
  •   Relevant Professional Certifications
  1. Achievements or Awards:
  •   Recognition for Outstanding Performance
  1. Projects:
  •   Description of Key Projects you undertook
  1. Professional Memberships(optional):
  •   Affiliations with Relevant Organizations
  1. Languages:
  •    Proficiency in Languages (if applicable)
  1. Hobbies and Interests (optional):
  •    Optional, and can provide a glimpse of your personality

Resume Vs CV(Curriculum Vitae)

Knowing the difference between resume and cv is important as it helps you to know the appropriate document to present in various professional settings. Imagine presenting a resume for an academic position, getting into such a position will be very unlikely since a resume won’t show your comprehensive professional profile. A CV, on the other hand, will be suitable because it is usually longer and more detailed, and suits academic and research pursuits.. Taking your time to understand the key differences that I have highlighted in this article will help you to easily know when to use either a resume or a cv. 

So Quick Task: What document would you send to me if I had an opening for you to become a blog writer for this blog? Let me know your answer in the comment section.




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