Resume or a CV: What to Choose?

Understanding the difference between resume and CV is of paramount importance. If you are still wondering is a CV the same as a resume or what is the primary distinction — keep reading and you will find out! Here are some basic facts about a resume and a CV. In addition, you will find great tips on how to create a perfect resume or CV that will certainly land you a job.

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What is the main difference between CV and resume?

In a nutshell, there are two different types of application documents: curriculum vitae vs resume. The major difference between them is their purpose, length, content, and scope of application because these documents are not always interchangeable. A CV is a static and thorough document that covers all your career, education and personal history whereas a resume is a common one-page customizable summary of main skills, abilities, education and professional background relevant to the desired position.

What is a resume meaning?

A resume is the most common document required from job applicants.

Typically, a resume is a brief summary of all skills, abilities, qualification, work history and educational background of a candidate. It is possible to mention the biggest professional achievements. In addition, it can contain a resume objective and career summary statement, however, these sections are optional. Mainly, it should be concise and laconic. Generally, one page is enough to create a resume, but sometimes it can contain 2 pages. It’s intended to be short because a hiring manager on average spends just a few seconds to skim applicant’s resume.

It’s important to adjust a resume to a specific position in order to fit the needs and requirements. If you think that some of your past career experience won’t make any difference to an HR — erase it.

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How to write a successful resume

It’s a daunting task to write a successful resume. But our guidance is called to facilitate this tedious process. Your main goal is to create a resume that will convince a recruiter to call you! Focus on your best skills, abilities, and qualification that will make you stand out from the pile of similar-looking resume and show that you are the best fit for the desired position. Now check out this step-by-step instruction.

1. Choose an appropriate resume format

It’s better to select a format according to the type of job opening and company’s culture. There exist three types of resume — chronological, functional and combination formats. Each of them corresponds to specific requirements and needs and has some advantages.

  • chronological resume format is the most common in resume writing. It is perfect for all job openings and all levels of professional expertise.
  • functional resume format puts emphasis on applicant’s skills, abilities, and achievements. But it’s applicable just for expert level professionals.
  • combination resume format incorporates both chronological and functional characteristics. It is focused on experience as well as on abilities and skills. This format will suite experts in a specific career field, and even if you lack experience or want to switch your career.

But whatever format you will choose, the main rule is that a resume should be clean, readable and informative.  

2. Add the introduction

The information you include depends on the format you choose. But your contact information is obligatory. Follow this order: name, telephone, email, LinkedIn profile. You can provide an employer with your photo, but it’s optional if you want to keep the hiring process objective.

Depending on the format, you choose the resume introduction.

  • qualification summary — bullet-point list of the biggest professional achievements (perfect for applicants with extensive experience and set of skills).
  • career objective — a brief overview of your skills, qualification, and experience (applicable for recent graduates, entry-level candidates with scarce work experience).
  • professional profile — a combination of the above mentioned (would be the one for candidates with expertise in their career field and with some major accomplishments).

3. Your professional analysis

This is the main part of your resume. Everything should be listed in reverse chronological order and, of course, it has to be relevant to a position. Include the company’s name, state, city, job title, dates of employment and add up to 5 bullet points covering your essential duties.

4. Education

This section will help you to showcase your scope of knowledge and academic background. If you are a recent graduate, you should emphasize your education section. You can even place it before your professional experience.

Include in this section the name of the university, location, date of graduation, degree. If your GPA is higher than 3.0, you can also include this point.

5. Additional information

If you believe that you can include more information relevant to a vacancy, add it to this section. It could be your certification, licenses, awards, knowledge of foreign language(s) or some useful technical skills.

If you have followed all steps, we bet you’ve got an outstanding resume and now we are proceeding to CV writing.

What does CV stands for then?

No, it’s not another name for the resume! Let’s find out what this is.

A CV or a curriculum vitae (literally translated as "a course of life" in Latin) is a document quite similar to a resume. It is a summary of the candidate’s skills and experience. But CV is longer than a common resume. Usually, it contains 2-3 pages and it covers in-depth information including academic background, research experience, awards, honors, publications, teaching experience, and other specific accomplishments. Briefly, it contains more information related to the applicant’s academic experience and background.

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When to use a CV?

You need a CV if you want to apply for some academic, educational, research or scientific positions. CV is used when applying for grants, scholarships, internships and fellowships. It will come in handy for people working in the medical field as well.

A CV is also required for overseas job openings. If you want to go international, employers from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East will certainly require a CV instead of a resume.

How to write a successful CV?

It’s much easier to write a successful CV because unlike a resume, you don’t have to tailor it for each specific job opening. A CV is static and all the distinctive information can be mentioned in a cover letter. It’s important to list all the information in reverse chronological order. Make sure your CV contains current employment and educational information. CV writing is not that difficult, because it has a lot in common with resume writing. Check out what to include in a CV.

  • Personal information

Your CV should contain a section that includes some basic information about you: personal details and contact information (name, address, telephone number, and email). Keep in mind, that foreign recruiters will probably require details such as nationality and date of birth, which are not common for the USA. For an international job, you should also include your marital status, number of children and their age.

  • Education history

List the names of all institutions (even high school) attended and your degree. If you have undergone some professional training, include your certifications or licenses. A successful CV should contain your research and teaching experience, the list of publications (including dates), scholarships/fellowships, your honors, and awards.

  • Your skills and professional experience

Along with names of companies, employment dates, mention your main achievements and responsibilities. It’s better to put emphasis on the most recent jobs.

  • Additional sections

CV covers all spheres of professional and personal life. Feel free to list your interests and hobbies, especially, if it’s relevant to a job opening. It’s not required, but if you know a person that will give you an enthusiastic reference, don’t even hesitate and add ‘References’ section.

How to format a curriculum vitae

There is no specific CV format. Your main job is to make sure it’s well-organized and clear of spelling and grammar errors. Your CV should be logical and easy to read. In order to do this, you can use topic headings and create bullet-point lists. Arrange all sections, so they showcase your main strengths in relation to the desired position.

As a CV is much longer than a common resume, it’s desirable to include page numbers (except for the first one).

You are the person who determines what to include in your CV. The sections can also depend on a position you are applying for (e.g. you should include some additional personal information if you want to go international, but it’s optional for a fellowship program). You can emphasize a specific area of expertise (education or work experience).

When listing your main responsibilities in a resume, you cut down a full sentence to some basic components, however, it’s better to include full sentences and use action words in a CV.

When it comes to which one to choose — CV or resume, it’s better to remember these main differences. Our tips will definitely help you in getting the desired job.

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