Curriculum Vitae vs Resume - Not The Same Thing

The terms 'Curriculum Vitae' and 'resume' are generally interchangeable. However, few people know that they do differ in many ways. It is true that both are lists of the most relevant information of a person pertaining to job seeking. Both are used for the same purpose - i.e. seeking employment.

However, there are a few basic differences, i.e. while the Curriculum Vitae represents an in-depth and structured information about the professional experience and qualification of a person, the resume usually is the same thing in a very short form - hence, the name. The resume would usually represent a skeletal representation of what would otherwise be included in depth and detail in the Curriculum Vitae. This is why typically a CV would be two to three pages while the resume would not normally exceed one page.

The Curriculum Vitae is the most accepted form for job applications all over the world. You would find some basic variations in the order of presentation from country to country and sometimes from company to company. However, in terms of content, it basically remains the same.

The resume, on the other hand is the most accepted form for job applications in USA. Here, the Curriculum Vitae would be used exclusively for jobs in academics. A detailed Curriculum Vitae would also be demanded when you apply for government grants.

The Curriculum Vitae

The main features of the CV are outlined in brief below:

  1. The Curriculum Vitae is a list of all your achievements until the date you are submitting it, presented in reverse chronological order (i.e. the latest achievements first)
  2. The Curriculum Vitae is ideally two pages in length, though it can sometimes go up to three to five pages
  3. The Curriculum Vitae would include everything that you have done and can be classified as work outside the home - whether paid or unpaid; hence, it is okay if the Curriculum Vitae contains voluntary and honorary positions and work done in such positions
  4. The Curriculum Vitae structure is very systematic and is generally drawn in a specific order
  5. The Curriculum Vitae is normally accompanied by a cover letter, which summarizes what it contains and points out the match of the applicant with the job
  6. A Curriculum Vitae can be written in the following three styles: functional CV, targeted CV and performance CV

The Resume

The main features of the Resume are as under:

  1. A resume is a precise and very brief document representing at-a-glance your key skills and main achievements
  2. A resume should not be longer than one page, unless in rare exceptions
  3. A resume would contain of only what is strictly relevant to the job applied and nothing else - it is more important here to have all the information contained within one page, that representing the information it in totality
  4. The resume would highlight your skills and achievements above all other things
  5. The resume is usually presented without a cover letter because the main reason you are submitting the resume, is fast processing; a cover letter would defeat the purpose
  6. A resume usually can be written in three very different styles - (i) Chronological resume - whereby your skills and main achievements are listed by date starting with the most recent ones first, (ii) Functional resume - whereby your skills and experience are more highlighted than anything else and (iii) a combination of both - whereby both skill and achievements are presented hand-in-hand.

Curriculum vitae and Resume - So Similar Yet Different!

As mentioned above, the CV is mostly used throughout the world, while the US companies are more comfortable with resumes; this is mostly because it is faster and easier to scan through the one-page resume than a Curriculum Vitae and it forces the applicant to be very specific.