CV vs. Resume: What’s the Difference?


Have you ever applied for a job online that asked for a “resume/CV”? Or perhaps your future employer requested a CV outright? Depending on where you’re from, you may be unfamiliar with either the resume or the CV.

You may be wondering, “What is a CV? What is the difference between a resume and a CV? When should I use each type of document? Do I need both?” We’ll answer these burning questions below.

Check out this website for more information on the differences between CVs and resumes.

What Is a Resume?

If you grew up in the United States, you are probably more familiar with the concept of a resume. The term “resume” comes from the French word for “summary.” A resume is a short document that summarizes your skills, education, and work background. It can also include optional sections like volunteer work, hobbies and interests, or licenses and certifications.

Resumes are typically written in reverse-chronological order, starting with your most recent experience.


What Is a CV?

The term CV is short for curriculum vitae, a Latin phrase that means “the course of life.” CVs are detailed documents. According to the Indeed Editorial Team, CVs may include “your career history… education, awards, special honors, grants or scholarships, research or academic projects and publications… professional references, coursework, fieldwork, descriptions of research projects or dissertations, hobbies and interests and a personal profile that lists your skills and positive attributes.”

CVs usually follow a chronological order, starting with your education.


CVs and Resumes – What’s the Difference?

CVs and resumes have a lot in common. Both serve as advertising media for your skills and experiences. They advertise you to your potential employer.

The basic layout of the CV and the resume are also the same. They have similar sections, such as contact information, a list of skills, work experience, and education. Most often, they are written in chronological (or reverse-chronological) format. In each, functional and hybrid/combination formats are also available.

There are some distinct differences between CVs and resumes.

  • Length. Resumes are short. Generally, they consist of just one page or two pages at most. CVs, on the other hand, can be quite lengthy. Most are at least a few pages in length; they are as long as is necessary.
  • Tailoring. Resumes should be tailored to each job you apply to. Because space is limited, you may want to adjust your skills and job descriptions to best fit the job at hand. CVs, on the other hand, include most if not all of your experiences. They are added to over time, but seldom tailored. 

Having a CV can make tailoring your resume easier, as you’ve already committed to paper (or a computer screen) the descriptions of every experience you’ve ever had.

It should also be noted that in some countries, the terms resume and CV are used interchangeably. This is the case, for example, in Australia, India, and South Africa. In New Zealand, the U.K., and some other parts of Europe, “CV” refers to a short document like the resume described above.

In the United States, however, resumes and CVs are distinct as described above. Typically, CVs are only used by those in academic or scientific roles such as master’s and doctoral students, professors, or academic researchers.


Should I Use a CV or a Resume?

When deciding which type of document to submit, consider the following three areas:

  • What was requested? Pay attention to the wording of the job listing or application. It may specifically request a resume or a CV, or it may indicate that either is acceptable.
  • Where is the company based? Especially if you are applying for remote work, pay attention to where the company is located. If it is outside of your home country, do your research to find out which document type is generally expected. As a general rule, countries in Asia and Europe prefer CVs.
  • What is the industry? In the United States, resumes are used for most industries. With high volumes of applicants, these short documents allow hiring managers to consider candidates quickly. In academic or scientific fields, fewer candidates generally apply for the available jobs, allowing hiring managers more time to dig into the details. These details also play a greater role in the decision-making process than in other industries.

If you are in doubt as to which type of document to use, don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter or hiring manager for clarification. If you have both types of documents on hand, you will always be prepared.


In Conclusion

Resumes are most commonly used in the United States. These brief, one-page documents summarize your skills and abilities. Longer CVs are used in some other countries and in academic or scientific circles within the U.S.








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