Since several clients have recently inquired about the difference between a CV and a resumé, I decided to compile lists that hopefully help explain why each one has its own function.
Although CVs are usually longer and more comprehensive than resumés, people need to stop thinking that resumés have to be confined to one page. How did this myth come to fruition? My theory is that there are high school college counselors who tell seventeen and eighteen-year-old students that their resumés have to be one page and then people think that’s the rule forever. Absolutely not. I’m 36 years old and if my resumé was only one page I think a potential employer would assume I’ve been sitting around doing nothing for the last 15 years.
Here are roots of each term:
Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life.”
Resumé is French for “summary.”
What CVs and resumés have in common:
- Both documents should accurately represent the candidate’s experience and education.
- CVs and resumés used as an initial point of contact (usually along with a cover letter) with a potential employer.
- Both demonstrate why the applicant is the best candidate for the position.
Ways CVs and resumé are different:
- Although CVs are typically longer and more detailed than resumés, I can’t reiterate enough that anyone in the working world over the age of 25 should have a resumé that is longer than one page.
- CVs are typically used for those seeking academic roles.
- Probably the most significant difference between the two is that CVs don’t change depending on where a person is applying. Conversely, a resumé is customized to emphasize specific skills or experience relevant to the position or industry.
- In terms of format, CVs usually lead with education while, in most cases, resumés lead with professional experience.
- Detailed document that includes career history, education, awards, special honors, grants or scholarships, research or academic projects, and publications.
- Represents a full history of academic and professional credentials but emphasizes academic accomplishments.
- Usually used by those applying for fellowships, grants, teaching, or research positions.
- Graduate schools typically request a CV because they want a document that includes publications and descriptions of research projects.
- The document may also contain professional references, coursework, and fieldwork.
- A document that summarizes career history, education, qualifications, and pertinent skills with an emphasis on the qualifications that show that the candidate is the best for the position.
- Because resumés are meant to be concise, the length depends on experience but will likely end up being shorter than a CV.
- Used when applying for a position in a specific industry, non-profit, or public sector.
- While every resumé and circumstance is different, and of course there are some exceptions, I usually tell clients to only include professional experience from the last ten years. For example, if a person is in their thirties or forties, some of their college jobs may no longer be relevant.
If you are looking for help with a resumé or CV please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!