Resume, CV or Bio?
Author
Keith Mackay
Date
December 8, 2010

You will come across all of these terms regularly, but what do they mean? Are they all different words for the same thing? Technically, the answer is no. They are all quite different things. In practice, Resume and CV are used interchangeably, while a Bio is something else altogether.

Resume

Or more correctly résumé, but I do not have those accents on my keyboard. This is the one you will come across most often in Australia and writing them is one of our core services.

A resume is a document you will use in a job application of course. It should be a well-presented summary of all of your strongest claims to the position you are applying for - and nothing else. That will include your career history, but not every last detail.

CV – Curriculum Vitae

The Curriculum Vitae is a much longer and more detailed document. It will detail and outline everything you have ever done in your career, whether relevant to one particular job application or not. It is not unusual to see fifteen or twenty page curriculum vitae. They are used extensively in academia – where a Professor will list every appointment held, every research post, every academic publication, every academic presentation/ speaking engagement etc.

In practice in the ‘employment world’, CV has become interchangeable with Resume. In this context it does not mean a fifteen - twenty page document!

Some countries use one term more than the other. Australia tends to use resume more than CV, the USA uses resume almost exclusively while the UK mainly uses CV. Everybody understands what they are though.

Bio – Biography

The biography is something entirely different. It is a short (usually only two or three paragraphs) summary of your background that serves a specific purpose (usually marketing related) and is not typically a recruitment document.

You will have seen biographies frequently: the bio of the author inside the dust cover of a book; the bio of an actor in a theatre production programme or the bio of a sports team member in a match programme. Of more relevance to the business world, the bio of the management of a company on a web site, like mine here.

The key point is that it serves a specific purpose and is designed to be read by a wide audience, unlike a resume/ CV which is more targeted to a narrow audience.

More information or help

See our Resume Writing Services page, call us on 1300 97 87 66 or email us. We will be pleased to help and/or answer any queries.

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