Do we call it Resume or CV?

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307_mortar_board_burgundyHaving a great resume is the single most important part of your job search. If you can’t get the interview, you will never get the job. The simple and logic purpose of a resume? Yes, to get an invitation to come for an interview.  

You may be in another job already but want to consider a career move should the right position at the right company become available. Or you may not be working at the moment, what we call in-between-jobs. In whatever case, you will need to present yourself in writing to a potential employer.

You will hear some people use the word CV rather than resume when describing the document used when applying for jobs. CV is an abbreviation of the Latin word curriculum vitae and means course of life.

In some parts of the world a CV is generally recognized as a special format of the resume for academic or scientific candidates. Others define a CV as a detailed, lengthy and structured listing of education, publications, projects, awards and work history, a document which could easily run up to 10 or 20 pages.

For the purpose of introducing yourself to a prospective employer, it will be nothing else but suicide to send more than 1 – 2 or maximum 3 pages. You get the idea? That is why we call it resume and not CV. Resume is a French word meaning summary.

I want to let you in on a little secret. Your resume will be read in about 20 seconds. That is all you get to sell yourself before ending up in the Yes or No pile.

You will of course like to do everything you can to end up in the Yes pile by making the recruiter’s job easier, right? The recruiter could be the Human Resources Manager in the company, or it could be a consultant in a recruitment company who is engaged by a client to assist with a search for staff. Who ever it is, that is the person you must impress.

Do not keep the best for last. Start your resume with a short paragraph, a Career Summary, say 3-5 lines, in which you introduce the highlights of your career, the most desirable skills and experiences you bring to the job. And please, please do not write Resume or CV on the top of the paper. We all know what it is when we see it. A resume is a resume is a resume.

There is one important thing to keep in mind at all times when you are preparing your sales letter i.e. your resume: it is called KISS, meaning Keep It Short and Simple.

Remember that the resume only has one function: to get you an interview.  It is not the story of your life and it is not the place to comment on what you think about the Prime Minister, the current business climate in the country or how much you admire the company you want to work for.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.