What is a Resume?

A resume, or rather a résumé (pronounced rhe-zhum-ay) is effectively a curriculum vitae.

It is somewhat ironic that the term résumé includes French accents, because the French tend to use the term ‘CV’ (short for curriculum vitae).



The term résumé is however popular in numerous countries worldwide, and in particular North America.

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Further advice on resumes

As mentioned, a résumé is effectively a CV. And just like CVs, there is no such thing as a typical resume; they come in all shapes, fonts, sizes, formats and layouts. International conventions do vary from country to country, so for example, objectives sections are more common on American resumes than UK CVs. At the same time, there is no hard and fast rules on this, and plenty of people in America use resumes without objectives - and vice versa - whilst most people in the UK use personal profiles instead of objectives, not everyone does, and there are no hard and fast rules.

Resume Length

Similarly, one page resumes in America are more common than one page CVs in the UK, but again this is quite a generalisation, and many people in UK use one-page CVs if they have the writing skills to refine the length of their CV down to just one page.

Some people will have you believe that if you want to apply for a job in America then you will need a standard American resume. This sounds good in theory, the only problem with it is that there is no such thing as an American standard resume. Yes, there are sets of writers who write resumes in a particular fashion, but there are variations and contradictions even within these sets. Similarly, there is no such thing as a UK standard CV. Both CVs and resumes vary enormously. Even the likes of recruiters use CVs which differ greatly. So for example, one recruiter may use a CV which is very long, cluttered and highly detailed, whereas another might use one which is short, more legible and more general.

So which is the best resume? And what should you use?

You should not lose sight of is the fact that your CV/resume is effectively a sales document, and you need to write it to maximise your sales potential. Consequently, the best CVs/resumes are written with sales and marketing principles in mind. However, most people (and even many professional CV writers) don't think to work on these principles, instead they seem to work to artificial resume writing rules. Little wonder therefore that many people find their resume extremely ineffective in the job market.

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'what is a resume?' Article Author

This 'what is a resume?' article is taken from an original,in-depth CV book by one of our senior consultants.
It is not for copy or distribution.

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