A ‘CV’ or a ‘Resume’ – What do they really want?

For many years the recruitment industry specifically requested a resume to be submitted when applying for a position. The trend has started to change and depending on the agency, the recruiter or the individual writing the advert, you will be asking for a resume or CV. This is where the confusion starts. So what are they really, and which document should professionals be asking for?

The first important thing to remember is that a resume and CV are not the same document. The CV and resume are traditionally two very different documents and serve two very different purposes. The confusion between the terms is one of the reasons recruiters are getting frustrated at the quality of documents being submitted in response to a job advert.

Internationally, the use of the term CV has increased due to its ease of use – it is only 2 letters and no one has to worry about whether it has an accent over one, both or none of the e’s! As the trend started to increase people started to not understand the differences between the documents and then those that were aware of the differences, also started to lose control of the correct use of the term. Basically, it just became easier to go with the easiest term.

So the outcome is that the quality of documents being submitted has reduced, and individuals are submitting a combination of resumes and CV’s which are not meeting the requirements of HR or recruitment professionals. By not understanding the differences, or using the correct terminology, the job of interpreting individual’s skills and capabilities becomes much more complicated.

So what is the difference between a resume and CV?

Globally you will have many different perspectives over what the difference is. Locally there are a number of key differences between the two documents that will help to identify the most suitable one for your requirements. Some key differences include:


■Is written in first person.
■Is a summary of an individual’s entire life, the life story both professional and personal.
■Is very suited to research, academic, science or medical positions. Although there are still exceptions to this as well.

A Resume:

■Is a synopsis of the professional career over the last 10-15 years.
■Is written in first person without the personal reference ie: Experienced professional, not ‘Jim is an experienced professional’ or ‘I am an experienced professional’.
■Is written in direct statements utilising bullet points and highlights of information.
■Can be a narrative style or skills based depending on the type of focus required.
Most recruiters in Australia, unless they are in a medical/science, academic or research based position as a rule, should be asking for a resume. A resume is the most powerful marketing tool and document that focuses on quick identification of core skills and capabilities within the shortest time frame!

Article written by Rebecca Fraser from Recruitment Services Resume.

, , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.