What is the Difference Between a UK CV and an American CV?

The biggest difference between the UK CV and the American CV is that the American CV is not required as often as it is in UK. In the United States, the CV is generally only required by very elite, specific universities as a part of the application process for prospective students. The CV is hardly ever used in the professional world in place of the traditional resume.

US CV Format

  • This limited use of the CV in the United States greatly impacts its content requirements.
  • An American CV is generally supplemented by other documents, so its importance is greatly diminished.
  • An American CV is usually more focused on a topic that is not covered elsewhere in any other documents submitted. The CV is often treated similarly as the resume, though there should be distinct differences between the two.

UK CV Format

  • The UK CV could very well be a student or professional’s determining factor. Therefore, the emphasis placed on the CV is much greater.
  • In the UK CV, more broad and inclusive topics are generally covered, as it is the only source of information that the reader will receive.

Personal Information in American CV vs UK CV

In the American CV, as well as the resume, personal information such as sex, race, marital status, religion and several others are considered to be inappropriate content. Requesting this type of information in the US can even result in lawsuits. Judging a candidate based on these criteria, in part or in full, in unacceptable. However, in most of Europe this type of information is commonplace. Without it, the CV would be considered incomplete. Even a current photo of yourself is often required. This type of information is considered to be important for a company, university or organization to make an informed decision as to whether a candidate is qualified.

US vs UK CV Format

Another fundamental difference between the American CV and the UK CV is the format in which it is written. A resume is generally a brief, concise list of qualifications and experiences. There is little depth, and it is meant to be this way. The American CV often mimics this in a least a few ways, mostly brevity and lack of depth. The UK CV, however, is a summary, generally written in the form of an essay. It give a detailed account of one’s professional and academic experiences, and then compares these against the requirements for whatever position the applicant is striving for.

Overall, the CV is defined in similar ways in the UK and in America. However, a difference in professional and academic culture brings forth a superficial distinction between the two. Should you need to transfer from one method to another, pay close attention to this culture shift in order write the most successful, and culturally correct, CV for the position you wish to hold.