Resume Versus CV: Which One is Right for You?
What is a CV vs. a Resume?
A lot of people aren’t sure what a “CV” is and when to use it. CV is an abbreviation for curriculum vitae, which is Latin for “course of life.” It’s a comprehensive record of your entire academic credentials and work history including awards, achievements, skills and qualifications.
Typically, a CV is most often used in the other industries, such as medicine, as well as academics. When you’re applying for grants, fellowships, post-doctoral or research positions, you’d prepare and submit a CV. This document doesn’t really change with the positions for which you’re applying; it’s basically a static record of your academic and professional achievements in chronological order. Your CV should list your education, work history, skills, publications, public speaking engagements, awards and interests and can run multiple pages.
On the other hand, a resume is a more concise document (typically 1 or 2 pages) that sums up your job-related education and experience and is tailored to the specific job for which you are applying. On your resume, you list your professional history in reverse order… you current job first, going back through previous, relevant jobs. The same reverse-order for your education: your most recent degree first, followed previous education. Your resume should list your relevant skills, experience, job responsibilities and achievements.
How does this Apply to the Hospitality Industry?
We’re more familiar with resumes in the United States and Canada, but if you’re applying for work in other parts of the world, you may need a CV. For instance, many European employers request CVs over resumes, particularly in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.
In Germany, you’d also use a CV more than a, but it’s referred to as a Lebenslauf. In Australia, India and South Africa, “resume” and “CV” are used interchangeably and you’ll find that resumes are more commonly used for private sector jobs and CV’s for public service jobs. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a European Union CV format you can use.
Be aware, it’s not uncommon for other countries to request a photo and additional personal information (such as date of birth, nationality, marital status, etc.) that is prohibited in the U.S.
When applying for work overseas, it will likely state in the job description which type of document they prefer. However, it makes sense to invest the time to prepare both. Even if you never use your CV in an application, it’s a great way to keep all your relevant work experience and education in one place as a “master resume” for future reference.
Crafting a Successful Document
- Be aware that your resume needs to be written not only for humans, but for the Applicant Tracking System that many companies use to sort and select candidates for interviews.
- Keep your document structure consistent: if you’re using bullets in one job description, use bullets for all your job descriptions.
- Know what to include and how to format a “CV” vs. a “resume”
- In the U.S., do not include a photo or any personal details; for European applications, you may need to include those. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure.
- On your resume, be specific and match your experience and education to the position. Don’t use general descriptions like “motivated, punctual and confident.”
- Provide a clear focus and a commitment to your career, backed up with relevant skills and education.
- Use LinkedIn – not just to make contacts, but for research. Look at what others in the field have done and use them as a reference point in building your own CV or resume.
- Proof your document. Have someone else review if for typos and grammatical errors. The importance of this step cannot be overstated. Make sure you do it.