CV or Resume? Know the Differences & When Each One is Appropriate

A lot of you might have wondered about this, especially when applying for a job.

Are resume and CV (short for curriculum Vitae) the same thing?

Well believe it or not, these two terms mean very different things. But a lot of people here (especially in Pakistan) use these two words interchangeably without knowing the purpose behind the two. And this ‘small’ mistake could cost you your job application.

If you ever wanted to know how your resume differs from your CV, and what to use when applying for a job/position in a company, then you have come to the right place.

The CV and resume differs in 3 crucial ways:

  • length of document
  • purpose behind document
  • the overall layout

Your CV

Curriculum Vitae comes from Latin, and it means ‘course of life’. Based on its definition, a CV serves as a near-complete record of your professional as well as academic achievements.

Simply put, the CV is a long document that is required by certain companies and organizations who are interested in going into the details of your achievements.

When is the CV normally used?

The CV is usually used to apply for scholarships, grants, or an academic position. The CV makes it a good point to highlight the full extent of your experience.

Its not unheard of for a CV to be several pages long. It needs to list your interests, awards, work history, education, publications, speaking engagements, and more.

Interestingly, the term CV is also used in place of a resume in USA and select EU countries. Its not just Pakistan where this happens!

Here’s how a typical CV looks like:

A Professional CV with details

Now let’s move on to what your resume is supposed to say about you.

Your Resume

Suppose you are applying for a job. Then you need to prepare and send them your resume.

A resume is a short 1-2 page document that gives your employers a brief overview of your professional work experience.

Resume comes from the French word “résumé” that simply means ‘to sum up’. You basically have to list your work-related experiences and accomplishments in your resume.

Here’s how a resume looks like:

Professional Resume

When is a Resume Normally used?

Any job position that doesn’t relate to the academic field requires a resume (unless otherwise stated). Your 1-2 page resume should have all the job-related information in a short and concise format. It also needs to display your contact information prominently because a lot of recruiters need that crucial information at the finger tips. If its hard to find, busy recruiters might not give you a 2nd thought as they move on to the next applicant.

Its also a good idea to list all your skills there. As well as a short snippet of your educational accomplishments.

Concluding Thoughts

Remember what they say about making a first good impression? This holds doubly true when you’re applying for a job and thinking of sending your documents for consideration.

A lot of people opt to type out their CV or resume with boring fonts and layout. Why do this when you can in fact make your own resume with nifty online tools?

And while you’re at it, pay attention to what sort of job position you are applying to. If you are pursuing an academic career, then a CV is all that you need. For all other industries and job fields, a resume probably does the trick.

Recruiters want to know how good you are and fast, which means a concise and up-to-the-point resume is all you need to get their attention.

We’ll be starting a series of guides for prospective job seekers in Pakistan. Let us know in the comments below about the kind of information you’d like ProPakistani to cover for you when it comes to helping you carve out your name professionally.