You have been looking for the perfect job and at long last there is an ad in the newspaper or online that catches your eye. It states to send your resume or CV to them within the next week. You have never heard of a CV and hope this isn’t some sort of test to get the job.
These two documents are sometimes mistakenly used as interchangeable terms for the same thing. However there are differences in both the contents and the type of job to which one should be submitted over the other. So what are the differences between a CV and a resume? A CV or Curriculum Vitae lists your life history, work history, achievements, and special skills. A resume is brief listing of your skills, experience, and education.
Now you are probably saying well that is clear as mud! The main difference between these two documents is the content of the information you are conveying and the purpose for which you are using it. A CV contains detailed information about the categories of information covered and may span several pages in length. These are typically required when applying for a position in academia, education, research, or for grants and fellowships.
A resume is a brief synopsis of information and is best when no more than 1-2 pages in length. A resume is meant to point out qualifications quickly so that these can be explored in more detail at the job interview. Keep in mind that your resume may only be given a minute or so of review and you must maximize that by using clear and concise language that highlights your potential. Basically, your resume needs to be perfect!
With either document you must keep in mind this is your one chance to convince a potential employer of your ability to perform the job to which you are applying. This means that your resume or CV should be ever changing to suit the job description as outlined. Don’t disqualify yourself off the bat by failing to think creatively about your experiences and abilities. Many jobs while seemingly unrelated in nature have similar underlying skill requirements that transfer nicely from one position to another. Employers or human resources personnel make not make this connection if you don’t make it for them in your resume. Read the job posting and tailor your resume or CV accordingly with truthful statements that sell you as the person they want for the job.
It cannot be stressed enough that when your resume or CV is not the place to display artistic creativity (unless you are in this field of work). Simple, clean, and legible should be your goal. If employers have to weed through clutter to find the information they seeking your document will likely end up “on file”.