If you’re job hunting, you need to know the difference between a CV and a resume. These two concepts are often confused, with applicants submitting the wrong format by mistaking a resume for a CV. While these two documents might seem similar, they’re different. Each plays a crucial role in the job application process, so it’s important you know which one to submit. Most jobs will require a resume, while others will request a CV alongside it. We’re taking an in-depth look at the difference between a CV and a resume to help you land your dream job.
What are CVs and Resumes?
While CVs and resumes serve a similar function, their layout, purpose, and length are different. Although some job applications will call for one or both of these, they cannot be used interchangeably. Almost every job will ask for a resume, with certain industries also requesting a CV.
A CV is your overall credentials for the job. It contains your academic achievements, employment history, and any noteworthy experiences, certificates, or publications that you have in your name.
You can think of your resume as a marketing tool – it’s where you pitch yourself and set out your skills, major achievements, and anything you think will grab the recruiter’s eye. It’s short and to the point.
When you’re thinking about the difference between a CV and a resume, it’s a good idea to look at what each contains.
What is a CV?
A CV – or curriculum vitae – summarizes your education, employment, and skills. Your CV will be an in-depth document containing the main points about your background.
Most jobs will specify requirements for the length of a CV, usually keeping your CV to a few pages. In some applications, you may be allowed a double-sided A4 page. When you’re starting, you might find that your CV and resume are the same lengths.
Once you’ve got a few accomplishments under your belt, your CV will become longer than your resume. In some cases, you may be asked to submit a CV summary that is one-to-two pages in length. If you’re applying for a job at a larger organization, you may be asked to submit a summary CV first before supplying a more in-depth version later.
What Information Should Be in a CV?
Your CV should include your personal information (name and contact information), along with your education, work experience, and skills. The CV is where you go in-depth into these experiences, including any research you’ve carried out and publications your work has been featured in. You can also highlight any awards that you’ve received, along with certificates from accredited courses.
What is a Resume?
Your resume is a summary. It’s the elevator pitch where you sell yourself to the recruiter. Most recruiters will start by looking at your resume to make sure you meet the requirements for the job, such as whether you have the correct degree or enough industry experience.
You want to summarise your education, employment history, and overall credentials and skills. Your resume should be as short and sweet as possible. Most employers will request that you keep your resume to one page, while others will alone one double-sided A4 page.
You should abide by the requested length, which will often be included in the job listing. If you go over this – especially by several pages – your application might be instantly rejected for not following the guidelines.
It’s easiest to set out your resume using bullet points to keep it concise. You can either choose a layout for your resume using a chronological or functional layout. It’s up to you to decide which layout best suits the job you’re applying for.
Related: How to Add a Resume to LinkedIn
Our Writing Tips for CVs and Resumes
Now that you know what’s the differences between a CV and a resume, it’s worth noting how they work together. Most recruiters will read your CV and resume together, so you want them to complement each other. Your resume acts as an overview of the information that they’ll find in your CV.
The golden rule for writing the best CVs and resumes is to tailor each to the exact job that you’re applying to. We’re sharing a few of our top tips for CV and resume writing to help you stand out from the crowd and get to the second round of the application process.
Find a template
Writing a CV or resume can feel overwhelming- especially if you’ve seen how intricate some layouts can be. While you want a modern-looking template, you want it to be something that a potential employer can quickly glance over and read. It should be clearly organized and set out in logical sections.
You can find free templates all over the internet or buy a template from websites like Etsy for a more tailored look. Your resume and CV should complement each other, whether you’re using the same font or templates that look well together.
Always proofread your CV and resume. When it comes to competitive job applications, recruiters will often put resumes with obvious errors and typos straight in the trash. It’s worthwhile running your text through a website like Grammarly to check if there are any mistakes.
Sometimes, you’ll have looked at your drafts so many times that you can’t spot the errors. Print off a few copies of your CV and resume to give to friends to proofread. They might be able to spot an error or suggest something that you’ve forgotten to include in your CV. You might need a second pair of eyes to help get your CV and resume done and dusted.
Writing your CV and resume are the first steps of the application process. They’ll make or break your likelihood of being called for an interview, so you want to spend the time to get them right. Understanding the difference between a CV and a resume can help you write the best version of each to showcase your achievements and help you land a new job.