Curriculum Vitae (CV) vs. Resume : The Difference and When to Use Which

By | May 11, 2017

A Curriculum Vitae or CV as it is popularly known is often used interchangeably with Resume in many countries in Asia including India. People commonly mistake a CV to be the same as a resume. However, this is not true. Though the purpose of both is almost the same – i.e. summarizing your professional and educational history to prospective employers for work-related opportunities, they have their differences. In the U.S, people largely prefer to use resumes within the business world while in most of Europe and U.K, CV is mainly used.

Difference between a CV and Resume

Varied Composition

Curriculum Vitae and Resume offer two different insights to your academic and career qualifications. It is safe to say that a CV is an extended version of a resume. It is longer and more detailed than a resume. An ideal resume is often a one document summarizing your career life in a compact and precise presentation, although at times it does extend to two pages. It is usually presented in bullet points and short paragraphs. Resume writing experts usually advise job seekers to keep it simple and precise with only relevant information in short sentences. This is because employers ask for resumes only to get a quick idea of your qualifications and not read about your life history. On the contrary, a CV is a more elaborate document with greater and detailed information of your qualifications and therefore can stretch beyond two pages.

Domain of use

While a resume focuses mainly on your professional skills and accomplishments, a CV is generally about your academic qualifications, course works, fellowships etc. This is so because a resume is normally intended for applying to paid job opportunities while a CV is basically for applications for academic and research positions, fellowships etc. Therefore, the key sections in a CV would be Educational Qualifications, Certifications and Training, Awards and Affiliation, Honors and Grants and Other Relevant Course work.

Format and Layout

There is another stark difference between a CV and a resume that is worth mentioning – the format. A CV is ALWAYS written in chronological order irrelevant of the applied position applying to. Therefore, it remains the same for every application and does not change it’s content with each application. But a resume is only a brief summary of your skills and work experience and therefore needs to be curtailed every time, to be a close match with the job posting.

How do I know which one to use?

So, here’s the rule. If you are applying for a paid job position, use a resume. And if you are looking for internships, research works, higher studies like PhDs etc. in India or abroad, ideally apply using a CV.

So basically, a Curriculum Vitae should highlight your:

  1. Educational Qualifications
  2. Academic Accomplishments
  3. Research Experience
  4. Certifications and Achievements
  5. Honors and Affiliations etc.

, while your Resume should highlight:

  1. Technical Skills
  2. Work Experience
  3. Project Details
  4. Educational Qualifications
  5. Certifications and Achievements etc.

It is always better to prepare and keep both your CV and resume handy in case you ever need one of the two.

Stay tuned to this space for more tips and guidelines to write Curriculum Vitae.

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