What is a CV in the UK?

What Is a CV in the UK

If you made it to the page, you must be wondering what a CV is – especially if you live in or are travelling to the UK.

Maybe you wish to apply for remote work, or you are moving to the UK. Or, you may live in the UK but plan to apply for a job abroad.

Below, we will answer some common CV-related questions, including:

  • What is a CV, anyway?
  • Is a CV the same thing as a resume in the UK?
  • Are UK CVs the same as those used throughout Europe?

Are you looking to make a CV? Search no further! This handy CV maker can make the job easier.

What Is a CV?

what is a cv

The letters “CV” are short for curriculum vitae. This is a Latin term meaning “the course of one’s life.”

A CV, then, is a document that charts the course of your life – especially your work life, your career. CVs are used (in the UK and other places) when you are applying for a job. They introduce you to your potential employer and highlight why you are a good fit for the job.

CVs contain several essential sections – your contact information, work experience, and education.

Is a CV the Same as a Resume?

If you are from the States, you may be more familiar with the resume (from a French term meaning “a summary”) as your go-to career-ready document.

Are British CVs the same as the American resume? In short, these documents are very similar. They serve the same purpose and contain much of the same information. They are usually of the same length (one to two pages). The same basic formats are used – reverse-chronological, functional, or combination. Most American resumes could double as CVs in the UK, and vice versa. In fact, some countries, such as South Africa and India, use the two terms interchangeably.

In the States, when people hear the term “CV,” they usually think of a much longer resume-type document that is used primarily in academic settings. This type of CV is also used in academic environments in the UK.

Are CVs in the UK the Same as Those Used in Europe?

Are CVs in the UK the Same as Those Used in Europe

According to European Language Jobs, “Despite the fact that employers around the world tend to look for the same qualities in their applicants, however, within the various countries, there might be some differences in the application process. The CV format and style may differ according to the region you are applying.”

If you plan on applying for a new job in a European country but outside of the UK, consider making the following adjustments to your CV:

  • In France and Germany, “recruiters do not appreciate boasting.” Avoid words like “best,” “outstanding,” “excellent,” “great,” or “exceptional.”
  • In France, CVs are typically limited to one page.
  • In Greece, CVs are often three to five pages.
  • In France, Belgium, and Germany, passport-style photos are common on CVs (these are generally discouraged in the UK).
  • Some countries, such as France, Italy, and Spain may require you to include your birth date, marital status, the number of children you have, and your nationality (these should not be included in the UK).
  • While Work Experience is usually listed first in the UK, Education comes first in France and Germany.
  • In Germany and some other copies, you may be asked to provide “evidence” of your accomplishments, so have a binder full of photocopies ready.
  • English CVs may be acceptable in some places; in others, they should be in the primary language of the country. Generally, you can submit in English in Switzerland, Scandinavia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium, or when applying for an international position, or when contacting a company based in an English-speaking country such as the UK or America.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. If you are applying in another country, research the requirements and trends in that land.

Key Takeaways

  • A CV is a document that summarizes your career while highlighting your skills and qualifications.
  • American resumes and UK CVs are basically the same type of document. They differ from longer academic CVs.
  • CV formats and content expectations differ from country to country. If you are applying for a job in another country, research CV standards in that land.


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