European vs US Resume: Tips From CV Writing Service UK


CV writing service UK

European CV vs American resume: What is the difference?

The main purpose of any resume or a CV is to land you a job. However, the unspoken rules of resume writing vary in different countries. The standard phrase "Please apply with a CV" can mean different things in the US and Western Europe. If you send the wrong document when applying for a job, it might lead to confusing situations.

If you plan to apply for a job abroad, you'll want to know the local resume or CV format and practices first. In this article, our experts will show you all the differences between an American resume and a European CV. After reading it, you will know what document you need for a successful job search in the US, UK, and other countries, and expand your knowledge of cultural differences in business.

Have no time to study the resume-writing rules?Our expert can prepare the right document (CV or resume) for your target country and industry. We will emphasize your hard and soft skills and accomplishments in line with the cultural norms of your country. You can order a personalized cover letter and a LinkedIn profile development to increase your chances for an interview.

What is the US resume?

If you apply for a job in the United States, a resume is your primary document. It is concise, usually one or two pages long. The resume is focused on your career history and achievements, and any other details are listed briefly. The US resume needs to be customized for your target job description. In other words, you keep relevant jobs and achievements and skip the rest.

US resume format and how to write

Basically, a US resume is one or two pages long and lists your jobs, education, and projects in a reverse chronological resume format. Let's have a closer look at how to write a US resume.

The length

The American resume is a one-page document (if you are at the beginning of your career) or two pages (if you are a professional with 10+ years of extensive experience). Longer American resumes are not welcomed by employers and can get rejected.

Personal information

In the American resume template, you shouldn't add any personal details except for contact info. No photo, no marital status or anything that might refer to your ethnicity, age or race. This is considered unprofessional and most employers don't accept such resumes to avoid claims of discrimination. There's one exception that allows you to attach your photo: if appearance matters for your career (for instance, modeling, acting, etc.)

Resume objective or summary

In the US, using a resume objective is considered obsolete and is appropriate for career changers only. In all other cases, you should use a summary that highlights your professional strengths and competencies.  A summary is optional to use in your resume.

Work history

American resumes mostly use a chronological format. You can use a functional resume format only if you are new in your field and lack relevant experience. When listing your professional background in the US resume, no need to list all your duties and projects. Focus on specific results and achievements in the first place. Go back only 10-15 years to save resume space.

Education section

In the American resume, you should put high school information only if you haven't earned any college degree. Moreover, if you have an MA in Marketing, it goes to the top of the list in your Education section. If you graduated over 5 years ago, no need to include any details about your college such as awards and coursework - only add the school name and your major.

The content

The US resume is often called a marketing document. It means that you are expected to sell your strengths and brag about your accomplishments. Plus, it is acceptable to remove any information that seems irrelevant to your target job. You needn't list all your jobs and activities from the beginning of your career.


A resume has to be concise with no references. The line References available upon requestmake no sense as well.

However, do prepare a separate list of references to bring for an interview or provide to employers if asked.

Interests and hobbies

It is not uncommon to list your hobbies at the end of the resume. It is assumed that they don't add much value to a potential employer. However, if your hobbies are highly relevant to the job (i.e. learning foreign languages if you apply for a job as an export manager), be sure to include them at the end of the document.

American resume example

Take a look at this resume template to get an idea about the US resume format and structure:


Have no time to learn the rules?Our experienced resume consultant can create the right type of document for your career needs. Order today with a 15% discount for new customers!

What is a European CV?

The CV (or curriculum vitae) in Europe is used for job search too, but it is longer and more detailed. It has more sections, such as Academic publications, Conferences, Community involvement, etc. Today, many countries in the EU use a Europass CV, which is a standardized version of the CV for the employers' convenience.

European CV format and how to write

In Europe, the terms ‘CV' and ‘resume' are used interchangeably and mean the same document for job application. Here are the features of the European CV.

The length

The perfect length for a European CV is 2-3 pages. It includes your complete professional history, educational background, skills, research, and other details. It also has a simpler format than the US resume - often black and white and less creative.

Personal information

It is acceptable to share personal information in a CV - usually, your marital status and age. Adding a picture is also acceptable and won't surprise the hiring managers. You can add other details, but that's optional: employers don't usually ask for them (unless otherwise is stated in a job posting).

Resume objective or summary

In European countries, it is acceptable to use both the objective and career summary. However, if you opt for an objective, try making it unique and avoid copy-pasting like “professional looking for challenging role to develop his skills”. If you find it hard to create a compelling objective, ask for help of professional CV writing services.

Work history

In Western Europe, you are also expected to list jobs in a reverse chronological order. List all jobs you had, even if they are not relevant to your target position. Give a complete picture of your responsibilities, achievements, and projects in the workplace.


European employers expect to see information about your secondary education – at least the school name. Add all the milestones of your education, including high school, university degree, and training, even if your degree is not relevant to the potential job.


The European CV provides the overall picture of your experience and strengths as an employee. It has the same tone as an American resume, but, unlike the latter, it's not so limited in space – as you remember, it's normal for a European CV to be 2-3 pages in length. Thus you can be more detailed about your career history, responsibilities and strengths.


A CV typically includes a list of both professional and personal references. You'll need to provide them in a traditional format (i.e. name, organization, phone number, e-mail).

Interests and hobbies

European CVs often contain information about the applicant's hobbies – and often they take more than one line at the end of the document. So, when applying for a job in Europe, be sure to add more personality to your resume.

Skills section

You can add the Skills section to both the CV and resume. It is not obligatory, however, it shows your key strengths to employers at a glance. Computer and language proficiency, professional software, leadership and industry-specific skills – all of them belong to this section. It's better to use bulleted lists for skills to make them easy noticeable at the first page of your CV/resume.

European CV example

If you are looking for CV examples for a job search in Europe, here's one you can use as a reference:


What is the American CV and when do you need it?

In the United States, a CV is used to apply for research and teaching positions in postsecondary institutions. It's a comprehensive document that presents educational background, academic credentials, research interests, and affiliations of a job-seeker.

Let's look at how the American CV is different from a resume.

The content

A successful resume in the US is a snapshot of relevant skills and experience adjusted to the job description and filled with the relevant keywords. It is mostly focused on professional experience in a private sector and education, although other sections are possible. The resume starts with a name, geographic location, contact information resume summary and then proceeds to relevant experience and professional affiliations.

CV presents the job-seekers academic qualifications in the first place. They may include teaching experience, professional associations, conference presentations, publications, patents, scholarships, and more. You may include a personal statement as well, but that's optional. The goal of the CV is to list the breadth of your academic and research expertise.

The length

Most resumes are 1-2 pages long. This is enough for the hiring manager to understand whether the candidate is a good fit for the company. Most modern resumes are tailored, which means that you remove irrelevant jobs and training thus making the document even more concise.

A sample CV always takes multiple pages. When it comes to CVs, more is always better. Since the CV should presents all academic activities and employment history of the candidate, it can exceed 10 pages, and this is considered a norm.

The format

A good resume format uses short sentences, lists and bullet points. Hiring managers spend under a minute on each resume during the application process. A skimmable structure helps them quickly evaluate many job-seekers.

In a CV it is acceptable to use paragraphs instead of lists and use more text as you might need to present complex information about your research.

The purpose

Resume is the traditional application document in the US, used to apply for all private sector and federal jobs. If you open a job site, most employers who post job descriptions will expect you to submit a resume and a cover letter.

Conversely, CVs are mostly for academic applications and research positions. You may also need a CV for international jobs (we've talked about this above).

We hope that these main differences were helpful and you are no longer confused about what document to use to be considered for your new job. However, both a resume and a CV can be very tough to write. So, we started a career blog with resume writing tips (link at the top of the page). In our blog, you'll find 100+ free articles about how to compose a strong resume, avoid grammatical errors, and get shortlisted.

The bottom line

As far as you can see, there's a plenty of differences between the resume/CV writing in the United States and most Western European countries. If you want to succeed in getting a job overseas, you need to take into account the specifics of resume writing in the country given.

Moreover, you might need a compelling cover letter to get your foot to the door. Here you can find free sample cover lettersyou can consult when creating your own one.

Looking to continue your career abroad?

Our talented writers with 9+ years of experience can assist with writing your resume/CV and any complementary documents. We will write custom documents for you at an affordable price, considering the specifics of the country and industry you're interested in.

Moreover, you can take an advantage of our FREE resume critique to find out if your current resume is effective enough and what can be improved about it. It is free and doesn't oblige you to place an order.

Have you ever written a resume to apply for a job abroad? Did you get a job offer?

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