Someone recently asked me to explain the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae, or CV. While these documents are largely similar, they use different formats to present a candidate’s work history because they’re intended for different audiences.
In the fast-paced professional world, hiring managers usually aren’t interested in more than your last ten to fifteen years of work history. They’re not trying to be jerks—it’s just that most careers progress in such a way that what you were doing fifteen years ago doesn’t have much relevance to what you do today. Additionally, you may have recent experience that’s just not pertinent to your application for a specific position today. On a resume, you want to omit anything that doesn’t strengthen your case as a candidate for one specific job.
CVs are typically used in fields where your work history generally will matter for the rest of your life. The most well-known example of this is the field of academia. If you’re a professor, the research you published seventeen years ago about your field of expertise might still be referenced in further academic studies today. Likewise, a prolific author would include his entire body of work, even if he began writing thirty years ago.
Often, another difference between a resume and a CV is how the documents are delivered. Resumes are frequently designed to be uploaded into online application systems where they are then searched for keywords. Industries that prefer CVs are typically more specialized industries that may allow you to e-mail it directly to the hiring manager.
If you’ve been working in a field where CVs are the norm, you’ll probably need to edit out some material when applying for a job that requires a resume. Conversely, a position requesting a CV is looking for more detailed information than is standard for most resumes. Be sure you’re clear about what type of information a company is seeking.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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