You might be applying for a job and have been asked to submit your “resume” or “CV”. This is often the first step to landing your dream job. However, we tend to confuse these two.
You might be wondering, what does each mean? Are they simply different terms for the same thing, or are they different altogether? Let’s clear the air. In this article, we demystify the "CV vs. resume" confusion once and for all. We'll explain what each term means, give tips on how to craft an effective CV or resume, provide examples, and highlight common mistakes to avoid.
Many of us treat these terms as interchangeable or synonymous. However, these are two very different things.
Primarily, most job applications require a resume – a brief summary of your qualifications. A CV, on the other hand, is more detailed and comprehensive.
Knowing the differences between the two could be your ticket to your dream job. Understanding which one to use can significantly increase your chances of getting hired.
“CV” is an acronym for “Curriculum Vitae”, a Latin phrase that translates to the “course of one’s life”. Typically, a CV is lengthier, as it covers the entire course of your professional and educational experience.
A CV should accurately reflect your career, detailing each of your stops and key accomplishments along the way.
A CV is much longer than an average resume, often more than two pages. While there’s no set maximum length, some CVs can reach as many as 10 pages, depending on your career and scholastic experiences.
The contents of a CV are more extensive because they’re typically used when applying for roles in academia or highly specialised jobs in government. These require a complete picture of your entire career and educational journey. Make your CV stand out by including your relevant studies, projects, positions held, and key accomplishments.
Your CV should contain these sections:
This provides a short introduction to the employer or university official reading your CV. It should include your name, address, contact information, and any additional relevant information, such as your nationality, date of birth, or marital status.
In this section, mention your educational background, additional school-related qualifications, papers you wrote, honours received, and other achievements.
Detail your work experience as comprehensively as possible. Include relevant internships, promotions, and programmes or projects that you were involved in. Describe each job or position, detailing your duties and accomplishments.
List your skills based on your degrees and courses you’ve taken.
If you’re an academic, list all of your published work and subjects covered in each research work or article. Mention any lectures, presentations, or public speaking engagements to strengthen your case as an expert in your field.
List all your awards, grants, and other significant citations in your career.This list indirectly endorses your work and qualifications.
Include all your affiliations, especially if you hold a significant position within them. Being part of a professional group can add prestige to your qualifications.
Mobile number: 013-2517659
Email: [email protected]
Marital Status: Married
Masters in Politics and Communication
Thesis: Media Ethics in the Age of Social Media
Bachelor of Arts in Communication
Professor in Media Studies
Courses Taught: Intro to Media and Culture; Social Media in Everyday Life; Media Solidarities in the Age of Global Crisis
Wong, T.O. (2021). "The Secondary Contagion of Stigmatization: Racism and Discrimination in the Pandemic Moment". Social Science Research Council Media Well. https://mediawell.ssrc.org/literature-reviews/the-contagion-of-stigmatization-racism-and-discrimination-in-the-infodemic-moment/versions/1-0/
Wong, T.O. & Lopez, D. (2020). "The Media (Studies) of the Pandemic Moment: Introduction to the 20th Anniversary Special Issue". Television & New Media 21(6): 1-7.
Ong, T.O. & Mills, S (eds). (2020). Special Issue: "Intellectual and Institutional Turbulence in Media Studies: 20th Anniversary Issue of Television & New Media". Television & New Media 21: 6
AWARDS AND GRANTS
Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Awardee 2022 (one of 28 scholars selected in the United States). Project: Human Costs of Disinformation. September 2022 to August 2024.
Principal Investigator. "Social Media Influencers in Contexts of Medical Populism". Media Ecosystems Group / Gates Foundation. September 2021 to January 2022.
Founder: DevComm Global Network
Member: World Media Consortium, Asian Media Association
“Resume” comes from the French word “Résumé,” which means “to summarise”. A resume is a concise snapshot of your accomplishments and qualifications.
Since a resume should be brief, it should not exceed two pages. Ideally, fit all of your relevant experiences on a single page.
Resumes are primarily used in business and non-academic positions where a brief yet compelling snapshot of your career trajectory is needed. Its purpose is to quickly show recruiters your skills, experiences, and achievements that make you the ideal candidate for the position.
Most jobs in Malaysia would only require the job applicant to submit a resume instead of a CV.
A typical resume contains the following sections:
Just like in a CV, provide your name, phone number, email address, and physical address (though this may be optional depending on location).
Include a brief statement about your career goals and how you aim to benefit the company. This can be in the form of a career objective or professional summary. Keep it concise and tailored to the job you are applying for.
List your educational qualifications, starting with the most recent. Include the name of the institutions, degree earned, and the dates you attended. If you’re a recent graduate with limited work experience, this section can include relevant coursework, projects, or other notable accomplishments. You may include your Grade Point Average (GPA) score, as well as extra-curricular activities that may be relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Unlike the CV, your work history should be succinct. Begin with the most recent job and work backward. Include your job title, the name of the company, and dates you worked there. Add a few bullet points detailing your most significant accomplishments and responsibilities during your tenure.
This is where you highlight the specific skills that make you a good fit for the job. These can be both hard skills, like proficiency in a foreign language or software, and soft skills, like problem-solving or communication. Today, many employers appreciate soft or transferable skills like leadership and multitasking.
List any professional certifications, licences, or notable credentials that are relevant to the job.
Including an awards and honours section can set you apart from other candidates and display a proven track record of excellence in your field.
The volunteer experience section is a great way to showcase your transferable skills, dedication, and community involvement – even if they were not in a corporate capacity. You can mention all your pro bono or volunteer work, especially if it shows your capacity for leadership, organisation, and teamwork.
Mobile number: 013-2517659
Email: [email protected]
CAREER SUMMARY AND OBJECTIVE
Driven and detail-oriented manager with 3 years of experience at an export warehouse, growing on-time client deliveries by 13%. Looking to leverage my skills and experience in managing ABC Corporations’ daily operations and meeting its business targets.
XYZ Export Trading, 2017-2020
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Alpha University, 2008-2012
If you are applying as a professor or similar position within an academic institution
Roles like PhD student, research assistant, or research associate require a detailed CV.
In European Union countries, job applicants usually submit a CV. However, note that CVs and resumes are often used interchangeably there.
Jobs that require impressive portfolios or comprehensive work descriptions would suit a CV.
Common corporate jobs, such as in Marketing, Customer Service, Finance, and Sales.
Certain government services roles, like social security and local government services, require resumes.
Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and foundations often prefer a brief resume.
Fresh graduates can apply for internships and entry-level jobs with a concise resume.
On the topic of how to write a skills-based CV, Andrew Morris, director of Queensland and Western Australia at Robert Half, emphasises that a CV should push your qualifications for the specific job opening. Therefore, highlight the skills required by the position or programme.
Include your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) result, degrees, research work, and other academic achievements prominently.
Mention awards or grants received to show your impact in your field.
CVs establish credentials and credibility. Hence, include all your knowledge, expertise, skills, and relevant certifications.
Always adapt your resume to the job description and requirements.
Place pertinent work experience at the front. Use key words from the job ad to increase your chances of getting hired.
According to Peter Noblet, senior regional director at Hays, on how to know if your resume is right, the key responsibilities and unique selling points must be emphasised in your resume. Detail the biggest and most successful projects you were involved in and your role in their success.
List down your skills, but also explain how you apply them. For Roy Tan, a project manager at Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) Singapore, it’s all about “the most difficult challenges they (jobseekers) have been through, what was the technical skill set that they use, (and) how that individual works through that role.”
Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Garamond. For readability, avoid font sizes smaller than 11.
Your sections should be ordered according to the emphasis point. For CVs, that’s educational background and research credentials. For resumes, it’s work experience. The following sections should support this focus.
This makes your key details easier to read and recall.
The way you write and organise your CV or resume reflects your attention to detail. So, don’t hit “send” until you have double-checked every single detail.
For resumes, one to two pages is common practice. CVs, on the other hand, usually range from 3 to 10 pages. You may optimise your resumes and CVs by reducing clutter and highlighting only relevant jobs to the role you're vying for.
Avoid informal or overly artistic formats if you’re applying for corporate jobs, and too formal formats for creative or artistic positions.
Mentioning information that’s not required for the job will only make your CV or resume unnecessarily longer.
These errors can suggest a lack of attention to detail or poor communication skills.
Sending the same CV or resume to all employers, regardless of job requirements, can give the impression of a lack of attention to job requirements.
CVs and resumes both showcase your qualifications for the job or programme you’re applying for. But CVs are longer and more detailed, designed for academic positions or programmes. Resumes are more concise, highlighting the key points of your career for corporate or other non-academic roles.
Knowing the differences between the two can ensure you apply for a job with the appropriate document. Use a CV for positions or programmes in academia, artistic institutions, or specialised government roles. For business, corporate, or industrial jobs, write a resume instead.
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