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I was brought up thinking that the resume was the holy grail of getting a job.
A single page of glowing, noteworthy accomplishments showing perseverance, strength, expertise - that’s what the resume was to me. When I moved to Europe from the United States, however, it seemed as though no one had a single drop of respect for the resume. Instead, everyone demanded my “CV.”
So I learned the hard way.
The CV & resume are not identical at all.
At first glance, it seems like the CV & resume are pretty much the same thing - they both aim to get you a job and present your work history. Truth is, however, that they are two different things.
The CV and resume are not interchangeable and they don’t have quite the same function. The resume is the best way to showcase your relevant experience and education in the United States, allowing you to talk about the hobbies and interests that make you a good fit for the job.
The CV is the preferred document for an application in Europe, showing all of your experience, going into detail about your education, listing your courses and certifications, hobbies, interests, volunteer work and publications. Essentially, it's a lot longer and more detailed.
We will take a look at both and learn how and when to use each, so you don’t have to spend many sleepless nights trying it figure it out.
in this guide we will teach you:
- Why the CV has a different objective than the resume
- What to put on your CV and what on your resume
- How to use both the CV and resume
- What the role of the CV is in Europe
VelvetJobs Expert Tip
Don’t have a resume yet? Check out our resume builder.
The resume is the most commonly used document for job application in the United States. The idea is basically to provide a short, interesting and concise summary of your career and skills.
This is what you will find on a resume:
- Contact information
- Awards & Certifications
- Skills, Hobbies & Interests
The standard resume is only one page long. Recruiters are some of the busiest people you will ever meet, so they need to be able to quickly scan the entire page and make a judgment. If you resume has so many pages that it needs to be stapled, you’re doing it wrong.
A good resume is:
- No longer than one or two pages
- Shows your skills that are specifically tailored to the job
- Include numerical information
It’s always a good idea to customize your resume to the position you are applying for. You shouldn't use the same resume to apply for an investment banking analyst and a marketing analyst positions.
Does your resume have to include every single job that you’ve ever held?
ANSWER: No. Only include your relevant experience. You can leave off that summer you made bagels at your local shop.
Now, let’s have a look at what the CV aims to accomplish.
While the CV aims to show your professional experience, it does it with much more information and is much longer than the resume. On your CV, you have the freedom, and in fact are encouraged to, provide more details about education, work, values.
It’s very common that the CV is a few pages long. That’s not a bad thing, because after all, you want to demonstrate that you’ve been working hard and getting things done, right?
The CV is very commonly used in the United States as an application for academic positions. While a simple resume can be plenty when you apply for a job in finance or hospitality, a more elaborate curriculum vitae is needed when you apply to be a professor.
On a CV you will find:
- Contact information
- Experience in detail
- Courses taken
- Published work
Now that we’ve had a look at the basic aim of both the resume and CV, let’s have a look at what to include in each.
The CV vs resume have a similar core body of information and the differences lie in the fact that the CV requires further details. Both the CV and resume include:
|CONTACT INFO||SUMMARY/ OBJECTIVE||EXPERIENCE|
|EDUCATION||SKILLS||HOBBIES & INTERESTS|
In a resume, this information should comfortably fit on a single page. Play with formatting and insert some nice horizontal lines and good margins. The resume MUST include all of those and be well-formatted so it's easy to skim.
Check out this example:
Now, the CV is longer and more elaborate. Besides those 5 core points, it will also include:
- Short biography
- Courses completed
- Research experience
- Graduate school
- Scholarships and grants you’ve won
- Study abroad and international experience
- Theses and dissertations
- Presentations and lectures
- Public speaking experience
- Memberships of groups (Phi Beta Kappa)
The CV paints a much more complete picture of you, the candidate vs the resume. This is why it’s ok for it to be longer. Make sure to format it well so that it is easy and clear to read. In this example, you will see all of the extra sections that go into a CV:
When it comes to deciding whether to use a CV vs a Resume, it really depends on the position. In the United States, the resume is the most frequently requested document for most positions.
Academic jobs such as researcher, professor, teacher usually require a CV. CV contains more information about yourself and about your education and certifications.
Usually, the job itself would ask for the appropriate documents, so there is no room for confusion.
If you move abroad for work, you will quickly discover that everyone needs a CV. No, that’s not because everyone wants to be a professor. European countries like England, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Norway, and Germany will most likely require a CV instead of a resume.
While in the US, it’s not encouraged to have a photo on your resume, some European countries may require one. Make sure you have one ready and make it professional. No selfies.
Countries in Europe may use the terms “resume” and “CV” interchangeably. Essentially, the European CV is the American resume.
Make sure to have a great LinkedIn profile set up as well, with thorough information and a professional photo. Chances are that recruiters will compare your CV/ resume with your LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with the company as well. Follow them for frequent updates and know what they are up to. Connect with the recruiters as well. See what you have in common and use it during the interview.
If you aren’t sure whether you should go with a CV or a resume, simply message the recruiter on LinkedIn and ask. They will appreciate the care you put into the application.
If you connect before the interview, the recruiter is more likely to spend more time reviewing your CV or resume and will be able to put a face to the name. This is a great way to stand out from the competition. For an extra boost, have a look at these resume templates.
While both the CV and the resume have the same idea - get you hired, they are not identical. The main difference lies in the length and level of detail in each. You may also need a CV specifically depending on the job you are applying for.
In the United States, a resume is commonly used as a method of application for most industries, while the CV is preferred for academic positions. In Europe, the CV is a common means of application, but the resume is still helpful.
While they contain the same type of information - professional experience, skills, hobbies, the CV includes a lot more detail. This is why there is a striking difference in length. While the resume is a short and sweet one page, the CV can go on well past two pages, which gives you plenty of space to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate.
Bear in mind the difference in requirements. While in the United States the resume should not have a photo attached unless specifically required, the CV in Europe needs to have a photograph.
With all that in mind, choose your perfect job and get to applying.