Enquiring minds want to know! Spoiler Alert! I have provided examples of each type down below (CV courtesy of ExciteRecruitment.com).
Let’s first appease our inner book worm and look at the actual definitions of each;
- a summing up; summary.
- a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job. (source, dictionary.com)
Ok, how about,
noun: curriculum vitae; plural noun: curricula vitae; plural noun: curricula vitarum
- a brief account of a person's education, qualifications, and previous experience, typically sent with a job application. (source, dictionary.com)
Well, if you ask me they basically sound the same. What gives?? The main difference is how they are formatted, the order of the information and the length. Overall, a resume will tend to be a bit shorter page wise while a “CV’d” version could easily be several pages. It is mostly just North America that utilizes a “resume” format whilst the rest of the world follows a “CV” format. Some countries such as Canada will borrow from both, here for example a resume is usually longer than a CV.
Let’s first break down our initial questions asked in the first paragraph:
1. What is the difference?
As already hinted at above, the major difference is the format. Skills, Accomplishments and Education will generally be visible first on a CV before the professional experience, opposite on a resume. It is also very common for a CV to have a head and or a full body shot of the candidate housed in the upper right corner of the document (see note below on photos and job applications). Versus, a resume which will almost never have any pictures on it and professional experience will be seen before education, skills and accomplishments.
2. Why are they titled differently?
This is a great question, because as we know the structure by definition is basically the same. I have asked colleagues around the globe and nobody seems to know. My opinion is that a CV or Curriculum Vitae was already the norm around the world and in North America, especially in the United States the term was not, well, “English”. So the word Resume was chosen to fit in more culturally. If you have any more thoughts on this please comment below.
3. Would I ever submit one instead of the other?
In short, yes. Why? It depends on where you are applying geographically. In our global employment market these days it is becoming more and more common, even for entry level positions to apply to foreign employment opportunities (barring meeting foreign Visa requirements of course). When applying for positions in Europe and the Middle East especially a CV will be the preferred document to submit. How will I know? Simply, the website of the company you are applying to, pay attention to their verbiage. Does it say “attach resume” or “attach CV”.
Ok, back to this business about pictures and job applications. When I was fresh to the world of recruiting and human resources I sometimes received applications from job seekers with photos of themselves attached, sometimes embedded into the resume or CV and sometimes separate. Often the photos were professionally done and looked good, I will not lie though, I did sometimes receive photographs that were, to say the least… "provocative" and not something mom or dad would like to see floating out there on the world wide web. Although I thought the practice was “silly” at first, I discovered that in fact, this is a very normal practice on a CV. It is done to make a great first impression and like a sea of black suitcases in an airport, with that one pink one sticking out, a picture of you professionally looking your best helps you stand out and personalizes what is a very standard document.
What do you think? As always, please comment, like and share. As promised below are examples of my own, both as a resume and a CV version of the same. Note: below are samples, phone numbers and actual home addresses have been changed.
Until next time, happy hunting.