Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Résumé?

Résumé or CV

What is the difference between a Résumé and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)? When should you use a Résumé and when is it better to use a CV? The two documents both present an overview of professional experience, education and skills. The differences are not always clear, particularly when you are applying for a job in an international field.

A Résumé is a brief, targeted summary of your professional experience and education. It typically emphasizes the most relevant information for the job you are applying to and is usually no more than two pages long. A CV, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive and detailed document that can be longer than two pages. It provides a thorough overview of your education, work experience, publications, awards, and other achievements.

Résumé: Brief, Promotional and Tailored to the Job

The main difference between a Résumé and a CV is not only the level of detail and comprehensiveness of information, but also the tone and purpose of the document. A Résumé is often considered a promotional tool, designed to showcase your skills and experience in a compelling way. It may include a personal profile or career goal statement, but should always be tailored to the specific job you are applying for. Recruiters typically scan Résumés quickly, so it is important to keep them concise and easy to read.

CV: Comprehensive and Detailed Overview

In contrast, a CV is more comprehensive and detailed. It provides a complete and detailed overview of information and is often longer than two pages. A CV is necessary when applying for an academic, scientific, or research position. The CV gives a detailed synopsis of experience, education, publications, and awards. The same applies for academic, scientific, or research positions in Europe. But for other job types, the European CV is more like the American Résumé.

Regional Differences in the Use of Terms

Beside in the academic field, the term Résumé is more commonly used in North America, while the term CV is more common in Europe. However, the actual use of the terms can vary by region and job type. For example, in Australia, India, and South Africa, both terms may be used interchangeably.

In North America, Résumés are typically brief and focused on the most relevant information for the job you are applying to. They may include a summary of your skills and experience, as well as your education and professional certifications. The tone of a Résumé is often promotional and designed to highlight your strengths and accomplishments.

 In contrast, European CVs may include more personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, and hobbies or interests. Even using a photo on a CV is becoming more common in Europe than in North America. Most European CVs are also brief and easy to scan, although they may include more detail about your academic and research experience than a typical American Résumé.

Adapt your Format to the Job Type

It is easy to separate the CVs from the Résumés by definitions, but both documents are often very similar. Besides the regional differences regarding the use of personal details, the CV and Résumé have a lot in common. Only for academic, scientific or research positions the traditional format of the CV applies. For most job-types a European CV needs to be just as brief and appealing as a Résumé.

It’s important to note that the format of a Résumé or CV can vary depending on the specific job you are applying for and the expectations of the employer or recruiter. For example, some job postings may request a CV even if the position is not academic or research-based. It’s always a good idea to carefully review the job posting and tailor your application materials accordingly.

Choosing between a CV and a Résumé

When deciding whether to use a Résumé or CV, first check which term is used in the country that you applying to. Next you should consider the specific requirements of the job you are applying for. If you are applying for an academic or research position, a CV is likely required. For other job types, a Résumé may be more appropriate. However, keep in mind that the expectations of employers and recruiters can vary by region and industry.

The difference between a Résumé and a CV lies in the level of detail and comprehensiveness of information, as well as the tone and purpose of the document. Both documents serve as important tools for job seekers, but the specific format and content may vary depending on the job type and region. By carefully considering the expectations of employers and recruiters, you can choose the document type that best showcases your skills and experience for the job you are applying for.

Do you want to know more about writing an English CV? Read our blogpost about writing an English CV.

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