CV or Resume – Which to use?

Basically it depends which side of the Atlantic you are on – even though both words actually originated from Europe.

Back in the USA…

There is some difference between them in the US. At only one to two sides of A4, a resume tends to be shorter than a CV, which can take up two or three sides of A4 and even longer in some circumstances.

The resume saves space by omitting some of the headings you’d expect to see in a UK CV, such as ‘References’ and ‘Hobbies and Interests’, while ‘Education’ is often restricted to last High School or College. Often they use small fonts with limited white space, giving a rather cramped impression to an outsider.

There is also a difference in the target audience in America. Resumes tend to be used when applying for commercial positions in the private sector. CV’s are more likely to be used for academic and public sector positions that require high levels of education. The structure is fundamentally the same as a resume but with more detail on educational and professional attainments.

CV in the UK…and Europe

In the UK and generally in Europe, the term CV dominates and can effectively be regarded as the same as a resume. BUT the structure of the UK CV isn’t exactly the same as either of its US counterparts:

· Two sides of A4 is a generally accepted rule.

There are exceptions when applying to very high level posts, or academic jobs that require an account of publications or research undertaken

· References are always included, although ‘Available on request’ is regarded as acceptable.

· Hobbies and Interests and at least your last Secondary School are usually mentioned as well as post-school education.

Vive la difference!

CV conventions still vary a lot from country to country. In India photographs are still required for some occupations and many applicants in mainland Europe still use them. In Italy, CV’s must contain a standard sentence for data protection purposes and in Germany ‘Marital Status’ remains a must and some organisations still prefer an old-fashioned ‘essay’ format.

Oh!… and stay away from the so-called Euro CV promoted by the European Union. It’s just a mish-mash of all the different approaches that won’t cut it with any but the most Brussels minded employers.

Now read the really interesting bit..

Should I pay for a CV or resume?

What you really need to know is that the internet is full of FREE information on the right way to write a CV or resume where you live. FREE advice on your drafts is available from many state-run careers advisory services. That means you should NEVER NEED TO PAY someone else to write a CV or resume for you – the internet and a wordprocessor with spellchecker are all you need to get started.

Colin Taylor is a careers adviser and freelance writer who has been publishing careers and employment related material for over five years. Find out more about him at http://www.coltext.com

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