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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Monday, March 21, 2011

Resume or curriculum vitae?

Summary and commentary by Ian Mondrow

Throughout my career, I have met people of different backgrounds. Some people have doctorates, others have been working for fifth-teen years and some people are just entering the job market. It was not until I applied for my friend's former position, that I realized some people use curriculum vitae (CV) instead of a resume. I decided to investigate this methodology further by asking my HR and recruiter friends. 

A survey was developed using Google docs and participants were obtained via LinkedIn and LinkedIn. In total, 12 participants completed the survey. Of these participants, 4 of them were human resources professionals, 4 worked in the recruitment industry, 3 were company owners and 1 person identified themselves as other. All participants were asked to rank a collection of statements based on a 5-point likert scale of agreement (1 = disagree and 5 = agree). Below are the following statements that were assessed:

  1. A resume should only be one page.
  2. A curriculum vitae works just as well as a resume.
  3. A curriculum vitae is best suitable for a PhD or PhD ABD.
  4. An individual with a graduate degree can have a resume that is more than one page.
  5. A resume can be more than one page if a candidate has enough job experience.
  6. A curriculum vitae is only applicable for jobs in academics.
  7. A curriculum vitae is only applicable for jobs in research.
  8. Bachelor graduates should not use a curriculum vitae.
  9. A resume is far more effective than a curriculum vitae.
  10. Recent graduates should apply for jobs with a curriculum vitae.
Figure 1: A resume should only be one page
Questions 1, 4, and 5 questioned respondents on the lengths of resumes and their preferences. Contrary to the teachings of many career centers, 10 out of 12 respondents disagreed that resumes should only be one page. Furthermore, no respondents agreed with that statement. Figure one demonstrates these results in a bar graph. Questions 4 and 5 continue by asking if there are exceptions to the 1 page standard. 9 out of 12 respondents agreed that it is more acceptable for individuals with advanced degrees (i.e. Masters, PhD, etc.). Moreover, all participants agreed that it is acceptable to have more than one page if an individual has enough job experience. Figure 2 demonstrates their agreement in a bar graph. 

Items 2,3 and 6-10 focused on the usage of a CV instead of a resume. As expected, most participants agreed that a CV is best for candidates with a PhD, at least according to 10 participants. It was expected that CVs would be preferred for academic or research jobs but there was no consistent pattern between participants. Please refer to figure 2 and 3 for a representation of these results. Surprisingly, no one completely agreed with statements 6 and 7. The usage of the word "only" in these statements may have impacted the results.

Figure 2: A CV is only applicable for jobs in academics

Figure 3: A CV is only applicable for jobs in research
Results continued to shock as no participants showed any agreement to item 10, which states that graduates should use a CV. In general, there was no preference between a CV or a resume.

In general, one's job experience seems to be the determining factor of resume length. If an individual has enough experience to fill more than one page, it is more acceptable to include 2 pages if the content consumes at least half of the second page. One respondent mentioned that recruiters won't read 2 pages but all participants agreed that having a 2 page resume can be beneficial if it contains significant accomplishments and relevant information. 

The only exception to that rule is if an individual utilizes a CV. CVs are generally longer in length. Using a CV instead of a resume appears to be personal preference and hiring managers have their preference as well.  When participants were asked if they prefer a CV or a resume, most of them responded that it varied on the market and the job. Therefore, job applicants should conduct research to determine if a resume or CV would be more suitable. 

Figure 4: A CV is only applicable for jobs in academics
There are several limitations to this study. First and foremost, the participants are not a true representation of the population. This representation is difficult to achieve with only 12 people. Second, the size of the participant pool can drastically alter the results of a study. The fewer participants that participate, the more weight their market has. 

Thank you for all those who have participated!

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