What major differences are there between a European style CV and an American style Resume?

Sunday, October 5th, 2008 - CV Writing, Job Application, resume writing

Alistair asks: What major differences are there between a European style CV and an American style Resume?

In answer:
Simply – there are not many.

The most complex issue is the terminology used:
– a CV in Europe is 2+page factual career summary, focused on a particular job application. The North Americans would call that a Resume
– a CV or more correctly a Curriculum Vitae in North America is a full career history, most normally used by those in academic or scientific careers
– the term Curriculum Vitae is most universally used, as it normally means the full career and research history to academics and researchers

British CV’s tend to be the most American Resume in format – focused on that particular job. Many European CV’s tend to be more derived in format from the standard Europass CV, than the American style Resume.

In employment law regulation, Europe tends to be further ahead (ie – restricted) about what needs/what can not be disclosed in a job application, and so European CV’s now tend to include less personal data. This trend is often followed legally by the more liberal states law bodies in America, and now being picked up by most Resume writers with the exclusion of key date issues. Much of this is focused around age discrimination law development, but personally accepting that at some point you have to disclose your age to the employer – and quickly reducing birth rates that will force employers to re-evaluate hiring strategies – I think this writing trend as opposed to legal need will receded as quickly as it came in.

In terms of style, Europeans tend to include more personal information and softer issues in first drafts (selling themselves), where as North Americans focus on the results they achieved in post (selling the results). Employers and recruiters love the later, and really couldn’t care less if you have a dog or not – they just don’t want you to be socially isolated.

Good Luck!

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