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Users will be unable to save results from activities, and some of the downloadable content (e.g., PDFs) may no longer be available.


What is the purpose of a résumé

What is the purpose of a résumé

The purpose of a résumé is to get an interview. A résumé is like an advertisement: it must attract attention, create interest, and generate action on the part of the reader. A good résumé will lead an employer to invite you to discuss, at an interview, how your background and personality fit the organization. Since the average employer takes less than one minute to scan a résumé, your résumé must be brief: no longer than two pages (and for some industries, like finance, and in some cases, high tech, no more than one page). The résumé tells a potential employer what you have done, what you can do, who you are, and what you know. It also states what kind of work you seek. The résumé must provide enough information to allow the employer to evaluate your qualifications and to convince the employer to invite you for an interview.

In Canada, résumés and CVs are different documents and these terms should not be used interchangeably. Using a CV instead of a résumé or vice versa could give the hiring manager the impression that you have not done your research when applying to a Canadian position — which could impact your chance at getting an interview.

Résumé CV
Intended for employers outside of academia and research Intended for academic and research positions or applying to some graduate or professional schools
Summary of your skills, knowledge and past experience as they relate to the position you’re applying to In-depth summary of your career aspirations and full academic and professional history
1-2 pages Unlimited pages

To prepare a CV for graduate school or a professional program read CV/résumé overview.

University of Waterloo

Centre for Career Development