Resume vs. CV (Curriculum Vitae): which one do you need?

Resume vs. CV (Curriculum Vitae): which one to choose?
Resume vs. CV (Curriculum Vitae): which one to choose?

While both resumes and curricula vitae are used in job applications, some employers will accept either of the two, but it is important to identify which is preferred, particularly when only one form is accepted.

This article focuses on the differences between a CV and a resume, what information should be on each, and when to use them. Consider this post as a guide when planning your job applications.

What is the difference between a CV and a resume? #

Among the key differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae, or CV, include the document’s length, its contents and purpose. However, most employers in English-speaking countries now prefer resumes, while employment seekers in continental Europe favor the CV format.

In the United States, a resume is a brief and curated collection of your professional skills and experience, and the qualifications that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. A CV, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive document that presents an experience-based overview of one’s academic and professional career.

1. Length #

CV or resume – the main difference between a resume and a CV is the length. A CV is typically much longer than a resume. It may include publications, grants, awards, research and teaching experience. A resume, on the other hand, is limited to one to two pages long, includes mostly experience, and emphasizes results.

2. Experience/career type #

Resumes are documents that summarize your background and work experience. This type of document is used to apply for a job in the public or private sector. Conversely, a Curriculum Vitae (CV) highlights your academic and work history for academic or research positions. A CV is generally used when applying for higher education, research, or teaching jobs.

3. Geographic location #

In the U.S., a resume and curriculum vitae (CV) are two different styles of document used for different job application scenarios. In other regions of the world, such as the UK, New Zealand and parts of Europe, an employer may refer to both a resume and a curriculum vitae when recruiting candidates. In South Africa, Australia, India and other parts of the world, the terms career summary and curriculum vitae, or CV for short, are often interchanged and often don’t describe a specific style document or can include other formats like portfolios.

What is a resume? #

A resume is a formal document that provides an overview of your professional qualifications, including your relevant work experience, education, skills, education, and notable noteworthy achievements. The term originates from the French word résumé, which translates to “abstract” or “summary.”

 

What to include on a resume? #

A resume must include a brief professional summary, a list of skills and accomplishments, and work experience listed in reverse-chronological order, beginning with your most recent position.

Experience is more important than qualifications. You may decide to share details about your education experience, relevant professional associations you’re a part of, or volunteer work. If you don’t have a lot of professional experience in Monitoring and Evaluation, you might want to list any relevant internships, apprenticeships, volunteer work, or personal passion projects you worked on instead.

Why is a resume important? #

Before a prospective employer can seriously consider your application, they will first need to favorably view your resume. If they don’t find your resume appealing, they will move on to other candidates who have provided better resumes.

Think of a resume as a tool for marketing yourself. When an employer is serious about hiring you, your resume is the first thing that they want to see. Make sure that everything is organized and that you list your skills and experiences in such a way that an employer can easily see how they can help their company.

What is a CV? #

A CV (abbreviation or short for the Latin word curriculum vitae, or “course of life”) is a comprehensive document listing your academic and professional qualifications, experience, and accomplishments

Most CVs are written in chronological order, starting from the moment when someone leaves school. CVs don’t usually have a .pdf upload limit, so if you have a lot of important accomplishments or a job history with more than one company, it might be a good idea to write a slightly longer résumé to help your recruiter better understand your past.

While there is no length requirement on a CV, most range from three to ten pages though some might be even longer. Generally, the more experience you have, the longer your CV will be.

What to include on a CV #

Typically, you’ll include your career history as well as education and awards on your CV. Of course, no two CVs are alike so please remember to customize the CV for your specific job application! You might also include professional references, coursework, fieldwork, descriptions of dissertations, and a personal profile that lists your relevant skills and attributes.

Why is a CV important? #

An engaging CV is important to help prospective employers learn more about your professional experience, educational background, and qualifications, with the hope of securing an interview. It’s a bit like a biography: it helps you tell your story in an interesting, relevant, and engaging manner.

Should you have both documents prepared? #

It depends on what monitoring and evaluation department you work in.

Most M&E professionals don’t need to submit an elaborate CV to get a working job. When you’re writing your resume, it’s fine if that’s what you do. But, it’s also good to know how to write a complete curriculum vitae for your professional reference purposes.