CV or CV (Curriculum Vitae)? Here is the difference


Do you have a curriculum vitae or CV? And what is the difference, if any? Many use the terms interchangeably. However, there are fundamental differences between the two. So what’s the difference, and when is it appropriate to use a resume versus a resume?

Both a resume and a CV are used for job applications. However, they are generally not interchangeable. The main differences between a resume and a resume are what you’re using them for, their length, and the type of content included.

Resume or Resume: Know the Difference

In the United States, a curriculum vitae, or CV, is most often used for jobs in the medical, academic, and research fields. It provides a comprehensive and in-depth view of a candidate’s credentials, including education, training, work experience, research experience, publications, certifications, and professional memberships and affiliations. A CV can be quite a long document compared to a CV.

A resume, on the other hand, is skills-based. It serves as a professional marketing tool highlighting a candidate’s professional experience, education, skills and professional achievements. They tend to be no longer than two pages – depending on experience levels – and are required for most job postings in the United States.

What is a resume?

A CV is a detailed picture of your accomplishments and skills, emphasizing academic and research experience. Like a resume, your resume has your name and contact information at the top. From there, it includes information about your experience, awards, degrees, presentations, publications, relevant affiliations, and other notable accomplishments. Grants, scholarships and professional licenses relevant to the position you are applying for are also included.

Resumes for entry-level candidates are usually at least two to three pages long. For intermediate and higher level candidates, they can be much longer.

CV or no CV? – that is the question.

What does a resume summary look like?

A resume summary is a condensed version of your resume, and it provides employers with a concise overview of your accomplishments, skills, and qualifications. For example, employers who expect to receive a large number of applicants for a position may request a one- to two-page resume summary to begin the application process. As a next step, a full CV is usually requested from those interviewed for the position.

Is there a difference between an American and an international resume?

In short – Yes. While resumes are primarily requested for universities, medical fields, and research in the United States, they are requested more frequently than resumes outside the United States. For example, it is common for CVs to be requested in Europe, Asia and Africa for all job vacancies. However, although more detailed, the format of an international resume closely mirrors the structure and requirements of resumes in the United States.

International resumes often require more details regarding personal information compared to US resumes. This is partly due to stricter employment laws in the United States, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, which prohibit employers from requesting or asking for specific personal information. For example, employers cannot ask about race, marital status, or the number of children you have in the United States, while other countries may allow requests for this type of information.

Pro tip: It’s best to research the resume requirements for the country the position is located in, as each country has different variations of requirements, including length and content to include.

A large group of international flags, photographed directly below.
Yes, it’s a CV – but is it the right type?

What is a resume?

A resume is a condensed version of your work history and education. A well-structured resume includes, at a minimum, your contact information, a summary, your work history, and your education — usually in that order.

In most cases, a resume should be no longer than two pages, and it should be no longer than one page for new and inexperienced recruits. Resumes should use bullet points throughout to make them easily scannable by recruiters and hiring managers.

Tips for Writing a Resume and Curriculum Vitae

Whether you’re writing a resume or resume, the goals are the same: get an interview and the job. Although the structure and length are somewhat different, some commonalities apply to both. The following tips will help you write an impactful resume or resume to grab an employer’s attention.

A manual typewriter with the word "resume" typed in the center of the paper.
Getting it right is usually about rewriting.

Align your resume or CV to the position

Review the job description for the position and make sure your resume highlights the relevant experience, accomplishments, and skills you have that match it.

Optimize your resume or resume with keywords

Review the job description to identify keywords you can incorporate into your resume or CV. Keywords help your document pass Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), so it has a chance to be seen by recruiters and hiring managers.

Leave no stone unturned

A resume and resume should include all the relevant highlights that set you apart from the competition. Be detailed and use quantifiable information for your accomplishments and accomplishments when possible.

Choose the right industry format

While there are standard formats for resumes and CVs, there are often slightly different nuances and preferences between industries. Research the types of resumes and resumes available online for your industry to understand which format works best for you. As noted below, you can also work with a professional writer or agency to guide you.

Use a template

One approach to ensuring the proper format and layout of your resume or resume is to use a template. There are several free templates online to choose from. Ladders offers 73 unique resume template examples, including sample resume-specific text, which is free to download and edit. Each also includes a unique cover letter example.

Edit and proofread

This should be common sense, although you might be surprised to learn that a common mistake recruiters make is not proofreading their resume or CV. If necessary, ask a friend to proofread your document for you, or hire a professional writer or editor to do so.

Hire a Resume or Resume Writing Professional or Company

If you don’t have time or don’t know where to start, a great option is to hire a resume or resume writer or an agency to help you. Ladders partner Leet Resumes rewrites professional CVs for free and bases its approach on years of experience with CVs, recruiters and the evolution of applicant tracking systems.

Apply with confidence

Use these tips to make sure you have a solid resume or resume to submit for job applications. Then you can confidently submit your application to land the interview and hopefully the job!

A confident man stands in front of a blackboard with his arms crossed.  Behind him, two raised arms with flexed muscles are drawn, as if from his shoulders.
Building trust is knowing you’ve made the effort.

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