While most of us use the terms 'Curriculum Vitae' (CV) and 'Resume' interchangeably, there is a difference between these two documents.
All over the world (including India) except the US, employers ask potential employees for a CV while applying for a position. While both documents are used in the job application process -- there is a difference in what the contents of each should be.
To understand this, let us look at the literal meaning of these two terms:
Curriculum Vitae: The course of life; Resume: summary
A close look at the meaning of these terms makes things clearer. While a CV discusses the course of life of a person, his Resume is a brief summary of his skills and achievements. The meaning of the words offer the basic differences between the two:
- While a CV is detailed, a Resume is to the point
- A CV is longer than a Resume. Usually, a CV is two or more pages long while a Resume is essentially one page long.
- A CV can contain some information about other facets of your life such as hobbies and extracurricular activities. A Resume strictly contains information relevant to the job.
- A CV is usually used in USA only for academia and when you are required to apply for a government grant. Potential employers usually ask for a Resume there.
- This means that while your CV when applying to two different jobs could be same, your Resume has to be different, highlighting different achievements in different cases.
So, what term should you use? While most times you will be asked for a CV all over the world, you have to be cautious if you are in the USA. In the USA, employers expect you to abide by the rules when they ask you for your Resume.
Kshipra Singh is a contributor to CareerRide.com, a website that offers a common platform for employers and candidates to discuss career opportunities.
Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters