Though sometimes thought as the same, and is interchangeable, resume and Curriculum Vitae are two different breeds that has significant differences, and purpose. Different regions and companies are also having differences in preference so you might want to do some research before you submit that application and regret it later on, for example:

  • Corporation in the North America are favouring short and concise resume; a short summary usually no longer than a page which outlines the most relevant and highest achievements the applicant have. Details are to be included only when it’s really necessary, as to conserves space. The reviewer then, can quickly point out if you are fit to the position offered, and find out more about you during the interview
  • In Indonesia on the other hand, perhaps modelling its government rigorous and process-driven recruitment — which I doubt have ever been updated from the time of Dutch colonization — still sticks to the more traditional form used in the old Europe, that requires applicants to have their fully extended CV (Curriculum Vitae) which explains their personal information, skills, education, and work history in details
  • In the rest of the world, many countries are more and more referring to USA and American companies in setting their requirements

To put it short, resume is where you need to wrap your life-long experience into one or two pages of short and concise outlines, outlining your best and most relevant experiences and achievements. CV is where you need to be specific and get into details of what you have achieved in your career (and life) so far.

However with the detailed information provided on CVs, even though it enabled the reviewer with a bigger picture of the applicant’s life, usually this model has failed to address the more important thing for the reviewing process, especially for those that are popular and has a lot of applicants: to quickly find out if an applicant is qualified to be included in the further selection process.

This happens because, with this full-blown CV format, applicants usually skip the “why” part of their fitness to the position, and just put everything they have been doing on the table, letting the reviewers to find out themselves whether the applicant fits to the position or not. This is a bad practice that more than often labelled the application as “unqualified”, if the reviewer has tens or hundreds of other application letters s/he must read, with the main reason to saves time.

This format however, address requirements on the more scientific fields of work better, like education jobs, or research jobs, where a person could have a single page or more to list his published work alone.

Applying for UX Jobs

Applying for the UX Jobs has no significant difference with the rest of the non-scientific job fields, however content-wise since this field encompasses actions from business analysing, user profiling, developing task flow/Information architecture, up to designing buttons and icons for the GUI visualization, it is better to show your prospective employer that you have a general understanding of the processes involved on the UX field, while also pin point the relevant experiences and skills for the specific position applied.

Different customs and formats throughout the world

Should you are also hunting for international career, don’t forget that each countries have their own styles of CV/Resume, and supporting application documents, which might need you to tailor your CV/Resume even further. For example:

  • USA: Most private sector for profit companies and corporations prefer a 1-page resume for the initial pre-screening of candidates, followed by roughly 2-4 pages of a more detailed resume should the candidate be selected for the interview process
  • Canada: Uses bullet points, with 2-page maximum length. Some companies and government agencies still want to see personal information and have Education placed before Employment.
  • Africa/Middle East/Asia: Use bullet points, with a 2-page maximum length. Personal information should come right at the beginning of the first page, under the contact information.
  • Europe/South America: Traditional Curriculum Vitae format. Document lengths preferred to be under six pages.
  • Pacific Rim/Australia: Bullet point style, or combination bullets and paragraphs. Up to 3 pages maximum length, 2 pages preferred. Personal information at beginning or end.
  • Mexico: Some companies prefer traditional CV, while others will accept a resume with bullet point format.
  • Indonesia: Most companies still prefer traditional CV that contain detailed information about your background and achievements.

Following are some article resources in writing your CV/Resume in general, also on adapting your CV/Resume for work in specific countries:


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