What’s the difference between a CV and a resume?

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We tend to think of a resume as being the North American name for a CV. That’s half right: they are both application documents, the resume is preferred in the US and the CV being preferred in Europe, but the documents themselves are rather different.

The main difference is in the length: a resume is always only a page whereas a European CV should be around two pages long. That’s because the CV includes more information on education and employment history than the resume – although detail on experience from over ten years ago is generally omitted or very limited. Whilst a European CV should always be tailored to each application, with relevant skills and experience highlighted, a US resume will contain only the most pertinent skills and experience, not necessarily in chronological order, with education often excluded.

The complication comes when the US CV is thrown into the mix: it is an entirely static document of between 3 and 20 pages, detailing all work experience and education. A comprehensive record, it is used primarily for research, medical, academic and teaching posts.

No personal information (other than contact information) or photos are included in either the US resume or the UK/Irish CV, but in mainland Europe photos, marital status, number of children and age are sometimes still expected.

New Zealand uses a CV similar to the UK/Irish document, as do Australia, India, and South Africa, but, confusingly in those countries, the words ‘CV’ and ‘resume’ are used interchangeably with the CV tending to be used for the public sector and the resume for the private sector.

It’s essential to be aware that there are differences in the format, content, and style of the application document required in different countries. Then there’s the added complication of applying to a firm that has offices in different countries: a US firm in the UK or vice versa, for example. It’s usually the local version, but if you are at all unsure about what is expected in the company or country you are applying to, ask.

Source: HN Global.