From time to time, I get asked questions about applying for a new job. This largely stems from my previous job, where - among other things - the organisation provided career coaching. And many friends have successfully used such advice to secure roles so the word gets around.
One such event happened last week. A friend, looking to get employed either in a sales / banking role, asked me how to prepare a CV (Curriculum Vitae).
I often get shocked by such a question, even though it is something that I am asked quite frequently. A resume is NOT a CV.
Even seasoned practitioners in human resource roles fall into this unfortunate inaccuracy. Many seem to use the terms inter-changeably, especially in Asia.
A CV is something a person would need if, for example, he is applying for a research position at a university. It is often gives detailed information about your education, the papers you have published, the conferences you have attended and the subjects or topics that one has taught in educational institutions. A CV is predictably much longer and comprehensive than a resume.
A resume is something an individual needs when he is pursuing a career in all positions other than scientific, academic, education or research jobs. It is essentially a summary, in one or two pages, of outcomes, results and achievements, while in school, or at work or play. If a resume fleshes out too much information, it is possible for it to end up a CV.
Before deciding how to prepare a resume, it is more important to ask why one needs a resume and what does one want the resume to do. Many people often make a leap here.
They often reply that the purpose of a resume is to help one find a suitable job, so they end up putting things that one would normally be asked in an interview. Perhaps, it is more accurate to say that a resume is meant to open that door for you to get an interview, which eventually leads to a suitable job.
Once there are specific objectives that one wants the resume to achieve, it becomes easier to prepare a resume.
A friend of my former boss, Paul McGee, has written a very useful book called "Write A Great CV"; it is a useful read.