What’s the difference between a Résumé and a CV?

Understanding the difference between a résumé and a CV is very important. Getting mixed up between the two could lead to an instant rejection. It will not matter how qualified and highly skilled you are for the role if you use the wrong format.

Having a good understanding of both formats is also important. Not just so you can send off the right application, but so you can use both formats and ideas to your advantage. There are pros and cons to each, and being able to take the pros from both will help your cause further.

What’s the difference?

A résumé is primarily used in the United States, Canada and Australia. Taking a rather more direct approach than the Curriculum Vitae, the résumé aims to be shorter and you will often see an application of just one page. There are exceptions however, and some employers don’t mind seeing two page résumés when the job seeker has an extensive list of relevant work history and/or outstanding achievements. But an employer will still expect a two page CV to be more direct and focuses than a CV often is.

Unlike the CV, a résumé will be more concise and may utilise bullet points to list the more relevant pieces of information the employer will be interested in. Everything on a résumé should aim to be relevant and focused upon what the employer has requested on their job advert. With only one page to complete, your résumé will need to be smart with the way in which your achievements and skills are presented.

In essence, you could say that the résumé is a ‘no frills’ approach to applying for a job. It helps to push the job seeker in the right direction, and only offer what the employer is looking for. The CV on the other hand is typically much longer at 2-3 pages, and will contain a more detailed career history.

CV and résumé tips

In this short guide we will cover a few tips to help you write your CV or résumé. So if you want to give yourself a great chance of getting through to the interview stage – read on.

Demonstrate both soft and hard skills

Include both soft and hard skills on your résumé to show the employer that you have the specific skills for the role, and the day to day personal attributes expected to be an effective employee. Take note of what the employer is looking for, so your skills section can adequately tick all the boxes.

A soft skill relates to a more generic trait, like communication and problem solving. These soft skills are just as important as the hard or specific skills the employer has requested. However, they are sometimes not mentioned in the job advert, so the job seeker needs to take the initiative and figure out which soft skills are important.

Keywords are king

Matching the keywords from the job advert is an essential part of writing a résumé or CV. Some employers, typically very large companies, use special software to short list the right candidates – especially when so many applications are received. This software is often referred to as ATS, which stands for ‘applicant tracking system’.

Using the right keywords should allow you to pass through the software and be presented to the hiring manager for a proper review. However, it’s important to realise you must use the right CV or résumé template to help you pass through this software. Here’s 6 ATS-friendly résumé or CV templates for your Spring job search.

By using similar or the same keywords as the job advert you are letting the employer know that you are both on the same page. You are also making their recruitment process much easier by offering them exactly what they’re looking for. In turn, you will then be more likely to get through to the interview stage – so a win-win!

Don’t ignore the job description

Align your résumé with the job description to make the hiring manager’s task as easy as possible. The employer shouldn’t have to read between the lines to figure out that you are the right person for the job. Your commercial awareness, skills, qualifications and experience should aim to align as much as possible with the role to stand a good chance of getting an interview.