Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae: Guide for Employers

As a recruiter, it is significant to understand the disparity when it comes to Resume vs CV to apprehend which candidates can be put at the top of the pile. A resume depicts a concise picture of an individual’s skill sets, while a CV is more focused on overall career history. Knowing the distinctions in scope, purpose, and use cases of these documents can make all the difference to determine which candidates to shortlist based on your hiring requirements. 

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What Is the Difference Between CV and Resume?

CV and resume are often interchangeably used in many parts of the world, although the essence of each is distinguishable. A CV contains in-depth information about an individual, including their personal and academic information. While a resume is more of a short document consisting of particular achievements, qualifications, and skill sets required for a specific job. Below are some fundamental differences between CV and resume that will enable you to clearly filter candidates based on their awareness.

Purpose of the Document

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which is a Latin word indicating the course of life. As the term states, a CV should have an in-depth overview of the complete academic and professional career of a candidate. CVs are mainly required when you call candidates for academic jobs, fellowships, research programs, etc.

On the other hand, ‘resume’ is a French word that means summary. So, it should concisely collect candidates’ qualifications, relevant experiences, professional accomplishments, and required skill sets when applying for a specific job. You can call for a resume for industry positions, i.e., employment in the public or private sectors. 

Scope of the Document

CVs have a broad scope, where candidates can incorporate information from the commencement of their academic and professional life. From educational history to job experiences, from publications to dissertations, everything is cited in a CV to give a complete overview of the career flow. Candidates may also include detailed personal information, contact information, interests, and references for a detailed view. 

While on the other hand, a resume focuses predominantly on the candidate’s most recent job experiences, career objectives and relevant certifications of skills for the specifically applied job. The focus on personal information or educational qualification is negligible unless the candidate is a fresh graduate.

Length of the Document

One of the most apparent differences between curriculum vitae vs resume is the length of the document. A resume is usually concise, one or two pages at most, which is adequate to portray all relevant qualifications and achievements. 

While on the other hand, there is no limit to the length when it comes to curriculum vitae. It depends entirely on the career history of the candidate. As their career evolves, you can expect them to add new achievements, publications, experiences, etc., to their CV. 

Tone and Format of the Document

You can expect a formal tone of writing with standard formatting when it comes to CVs. Going through a CV should be rather straightforward, without any section reaching for your exceptional attention. Regardless of the type of CV, the entire content should have the same precedence, so that you can extract all the necessary information quickly.

A resume, on the other hand, uses a more informal tone of flow and context. As a result, you might see emphasis in some sections of the resume to direct your attention towards a specific segment. However, all the details on a resume should be quickly scannable.

Types of Curriculum Vitae vs Resume

All CVs or resumes might also not be the same when it comes to formats. Here is a quick breakdown of the most common types of CVs and resumes.

Types of CVs

You will commonly come across the three types of CV. What follows is a comprehensive view of the formatting styles, and how each can provide you with a 360-degree view of the candidate’s work history. 

Chronological CV

In this format, all the academic and professional information of a candidate is organised in sequential order. For example, in this type of CV, a candidate will begin with the most recent position, followed by his career history from last to first. A chronological CV comes in convenient to get a complete idea of a candidate’s career and determine any gaps in their career history.

Functional CV

A functional CV does not focus on the career history in a serial order. Instead, it focuses on the most significant achievements and experiences of the candidate. This kind of CV is often indicative of a candidate’s gap in career history.

Combination CV

A combination CV may emphasise the fundamental skills and experiences of the candidate while also showcasing the entire career history in a chronological order. Candidates usually use this type of CV when they have little work experience and want to highlight their most eminent qualifications.

Types of Resumes

Resumes have an additional format compared to standard CV formats. Here is a quick overview of them.

Chronological Resume

Candidates mostly use this resume format, where they organise their work experiences and achievements in a progressive order. When you are hiring, such a resume lets you have a quick look at the most recent positions of the candidates. 

Functional Resume

When switching career fields, candidates might choose skills instead of chronology, which is what makes a functional resume. This resume structure comprises the most noteworthy skills and experiences of candidates to make the resume more practical for you to skim through.

Combined Resume

In this format, a candidate will blend skills and work history to make the resume more credible. Skills typically lie at the beginning of the outline, followed by their work history.

Targeted Resume

When a position requires distinct aptitude and background, a candidate can tailor the resume to exclude unnecessary elements to only drive priority on the relevant information. This type of resume can only be appropriate for the specific job it is submitted for, making your screening process simple. 

What Can You Expect in A CV?

The content of a curriculum vitae can include a wide range of information based on the academic and professional life of the candidate. The scope of a CV will vary depending on how solid the work history of the candidate is. However, here is a generic list of items you can expect in a fitting CV.

  • Full name of the candidate
  • Detailed contact information
  • Summary of the CV or career objective
  • Educational qualifications
  • Work experiences
  • Teaching experiences
  • Publications
  • Research experiences
  • Grants and fellowships
  • Technical skills
  • Personal skills
  • Certifications of achievements
  • Language proficiency
  • Volunteering experiences
  • Interests
  • Awards
  • References

What Can You Expect In A Resume?

As mentioned, the structure of a resume is much shorter than that of a CV. So, you can expect precise information about the candidate in a good resume. By checking out the following elements on a resume, you can quickly determine how well-suited the candidate is for the job.

  • Full name of the candidate
  • Detailed contact information
  • Desired position or job title
  • Career objective or summary
  • Career history
  • Professional achievements in previous positions
  • Educational qualifications
  • Personal skills 
  • Technical skills (if required)
  • Professional awards and honors
  • Certifications
  • Recommendations

What To Lookout For In A CV or Resume?

What follows is a list of characteristics of an exemplary resume or CV, therefore check for them when accessing candidates: 

  • Clearly written material without rambling or using “fluffy” terminology.
  • A career history that is comparable or pertinent.
  • Even if they are not an exact fit, look for their skills that can be used in the position to be filled.
  • A pattern of the candidate’s progress, elevation, or expansion and numbers that indicate this.
  • Match the listed role in terms of knowledge.

Key Takeaways about Resume vs CV

Here are some key takeaways from the above segments that might help you to distinguish between a CV and a resume much faster. 

  • Ask for a CV if it is an academic or research-oriented position.
  • Ask for a resume when the position is non-academic. Corporate jobs and governmental positions will also require a resume.
  • A rich resume should contain dense information about the most recent career growth, relevant skills, and achievements for a specific position.
  • CVs will cover all academic and professional information of the candidate.
  • Resumes should not be more than two pages. But CVs can have several pages.
  • A CV is static and cannot be customized, however, a resume is dynamic and varies depending on the position.

Differentiating between resume vs CV is crucial for screening applications to discover candidates that have exceptional efficiency. Knowing the difference between the two enables you to have the right set of information about the candidate in terms of criteria that are necessary to evaluate their position. As an employer, this information further helps you to only hire quality candidates who will add more value to your organisation. 

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