What is a CV? Is it a Resume?

If you’ve been on the job hunt for long, you’ve likely stumbled across job postings that ask for a CV to be considered for the position.

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Most job seekers see these two little letters and assume the recruiter meant to say “resume”. The two terms are often confused, but they’re not quite interchangeable.

There’s a reason a hiring manager asked for your CV and not your resume, and you’ll stand a better chance of landing an interview if you can deliver what they asked for and show you know the difference.

CV vs Resume: What’s the 411?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which translates into Course of Life. In other words, your CV details the life of your career and academic history, including where you’ve been published, scholarships, grants, awards, achievements, and all the other things that make you great.

Most resumes don’t go into this level of detail about your academic history. Rather, resumes focus largely on your career achievements and job history. Sure, you may throw in a nod to your Alma Mater, areas of study, and awards, but save the in-depth details for your CV.

Resumes are short and sweet, while CVs can easily span half a dozen pages or more, depending on the length of your career.

CVs are relatively static documents that are only changed as your accomplishments grow. 

Resumes are usually tailored to each position and company you apply for.

When you apply for a job, you’ll either be asked to produce a current resume or CV. You can always bring a copy of the other one along to the interview for good measure.

Who Uses a CV, Anyways?

CVs are commonly associated with jobs in the academic field, but they aren’t the only ones.

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Many counties outside the United States, such as New Zealand and the U.K., will require a CV for every job because they don’t use resumes. Countries in Europe have their own CV style, so if you’re applying for a job abroad, it’s best to understand how to tailor your CV to their standards.

Other companies may offer their own CV template, which you will need to fill out. This is an easier process if you have an existing CV to pull from. It’s important to design your CV to the company’s specific requirements to increase your chances of moving forward.

Bottom Line: Do I Need a CV?

If you didn’t know the whole CV vs resume comparison, don’t feel bad. Even highly regarded professionals will scratch their heads if you ask them about the difference.

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But most importantly, don’t let what you don’t know scare you off from the job you deserve. The simple fact that you’ve read this article explaining the difference shows that you’re a dedicated professional who isn’t afraid to tackle any obstacles that stand between you and a new job, even if that obstacle is just two little letters.

Do you need help creating a standout CV and prove to your recruiter that you know your stuff? Reach out today to take the next step in your career!