Take the Confusion Out of Your Job Search

Some of the job searchers I see often complain about having to provide a résumé then fill out a job application, but don’t know why. Others tell me they want to create a (Curriculum Vitae) CV when they need a résumé.  Understanding what each means will help you understand the job search process and know when each is right. 

I have attempted to give a brief explanation for the differences in resumes and job applications and CV’s.  Of course, there is more information on the subject, but this is meant to give you basic information to either satisfy your curiosity or to tempt you to learn more about each.   

What is the difference between a résumé and a job application?

Take the confusion out of your job search.

Take the confusion out of your job search.


Although the information in a résumé and on a job application is generally the same, there are some differences that are minor.  There is one significant difference.  But first the similarities; the résumé and the application include most of the same information such as contact information and places you have worked including the dates, place, and job title; the job application includes the supervisor, starting and ending salary.  In a résumé, you list your accomplishments not duties.  The résumé is customized by each applicant while the job application is a standardized form to be answered by all candidates.  On a job application, you are asked the reason for leaving your jobs, the name of your supervisor and whether or not the company can contact your previous employers.  Another difference is the résumé is subjective and is created to highlight the creators’ best attributes; the job application is strictly factual information. 

The biggest difference between the two is that the job application is a legal document.  The résumé is not.  While both should contain only true statements, the job application requires a signature attesting to the validity of the information.  Should the applicant be hired and false statements are discovered, they can be fired for falsifying the job application.  The factual information in both should be the same; otherwise, red flags are raised and the candidate could no longer be considered for employment.

Generally you will submit a résumé and have to fill out job application.  If you apply online, you may have to submit the two at the same time.  If not, you will be asked to fill out the application when you are interviewed. 

What is the difference between a résumé and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

In the United States, a Curriculum Vitae is used for applying to academic, research or science positions.  All other positions need a résumé. Other parts of the world (Europe, the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia) use a CV for almost all positions.  

One of the many differences is the length of the document.  The resume states relevant accomplishments, qualifications, skills, and education in a concise matter to exceed no more than 2 pages.  The CV is expected to be much longer and includes professional and personal information with dates and places, such as, education; coursework; thesis and dissertation research and results; teaching experience; publications and professional papers authored, co-authored or edited; conference attendance; presentations at conferences; awards and honors for teaching or research; fellowships; grants awarded; and professional associations.

Knowing what to use and when to use it is confusing.  I hope I have taken some of the confusion out of the job search.  And that you are now more confident in your job search skills.

How can I help you in your job search?

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