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Interview Preparation

CV vs Resume: Which one to use

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a CV?What is a resume?Differences between CVs and resumesWhen to use CVs vs. resumesTips for writing a successful CV or resume

Guide Overview

Understanding CV vs resume

When submitting a job application, you'll have to choose between a CV and resume. While one provides one page of general information about your work experience, the other is an in-depth overview of your employment, skills, or educational background. The industry you work in generally guides your decision for which form you should use when applying for your next role.

What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is a thorough account of your career achievements. The information goes into extensive depth and detail to provide a complete overview of areas specific to you. CVs include sections such as educational background, employment history, skills, presentations, publications, certifications, honors, and awards. When you write your CV, use a chronological format. For the most part, once the CV is written you won’t need to make changes other than adding new information such as an additional degree or award.

A CV typically includes the following information:

  • Full contact information (name, complete street address, city and state, phone number, and email)
  • Academic history (list degrees attained and any you are working towards attaining)
  • Summary of professional experience
  • Skills and qualifications
  • Honors, acknowledgements, and awards
  • Summary of presentations and publications
  • Professional memberships and affiliations
  • Scholarships and grants
  • Certifications and licenses

What is a resume?

A resume is usually one page of information, displayed clearly and concisely. It does not have to follow a specific format, like the CV, but it should be customized for the position you’re applying for. The goal is to make your resume a quick, easy, and informative read for hiring managers to convince them to interview you for the role.

Include these sections in a resume:

  • Your contact information (name, phone number, and email)
  • An objective statement
  • Relevant skills
  • Software and technical skills
  • An overview/summary of your career
  • Educational information
  • Certifications
  • Job history
  • Volunteer work
  • References

Differences between CVs and resumes

When applying for employment, it’s important to understand the difference between CV and resume. While both promote your background, there are noticeable differences between the two.

There are three basic differences between resumes and CVs, including:

  • The objective
  • Length of the form, which is usually only one page
  • The layout, which is not in any particular order

When writing your resume, stay focused and keep the content short and to-the-point so the information reflects a complete overview of your experience and skills relevant to a specific job. This means throughout your work career the resume will be a fluid document that is updated with each job application, so it always focuses on the skills and experience you have pertaining to the current job application.

When to use CVs vs. resumes

The situations when a curriculum vitae vs resume is chosen include:

  • You’re applying for jobs that require a complete breakdown of your entire career from your first job to your current or last position regardless of the number of years you’ve been working.
  • The employer requires a CV instead of a resume.
  • You’re applying for jobs focused on educational achievements instead of work history.
  • You have extensive work or educational background, or both, and your information will exceed more than one page.

Since a resume is a condensed overview of your professional work experience and expertise, you should use it when applying for standard jobs including administrative roles, entry-level roles, and managerial positions. One difference between CV and resume creation is a CV focuses on your academic background plus your entire professional work history. Examples of jobs that would require a curriculum vitae vs resume are for positions as a professor, associate or assistant professor, postdoctoral researcher, curator, research assistant, lecturer, or dean.

The location of the job you’re applying for can determine whether to submit a CV or a resume. Guidelines for when to use a CV or resume are different depending on whether the job is in the U.S., Canada, or abroad. In Canada and the U.S., a CV is generally used for research and academic jobs. In other countries such as New Zealand and the UK, the choice is not an issue because the curriculum vitae is the traditional choice used by hiring managers in these countries in the same way the resume is the traditional choice in the U.S. and Canada.

Tips for writing a successful CV or resume

Whether you’re writing a resume vs CV, the goal of each is to present you and your background in a way that draws attention to your accomplishments. When creating the document, your goal is to present your expertise, experience, skills and education in a way that separates you from the crowd of other applicants. Your resume or CV is your first opportunity to draw attention to your many achievements. With this in mind, consider these tips to make it the most impressive it can be.

For a CV, use one of the standard formats for CVs that highlight and promote the area of your career relevant to the job opening. The three main formats include:

  • Chronological
  • Skills
  • Academic

For overall impact, the certificate vitae should incorporate these tips:

  • Maintain a professional tone on every page
  • Use active verbs
  • Avoid generic phrases
  • Avoid graphics
  • Verbiage should be clear and readable
  • Avoid embellishing or exaggerating your background

For a resume, follow these tips:

  • Keep the content brief but concise and to-the-point
  • Be professional in your verbiage and tone
  • Avoid passive voice by using active verbs
  • Avoid unnecessary words and phrases

For both resumes and CVs, include the following tips to ensure a professional CV or resume:

  • Use a traditional font ( like Times New Roman) and font size (12) so it is easy to read
  • Avoid casual fonts such as Comic Sans
  • Use a spelling and grammar program to check for issues
  • Proofread your CV or resume several times to ensure consistency and flow of your information as well as any issues not flagged by the spelling/grammar check
  • If providing copies to potential employers, use quality paper

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