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CV vs. Resume


Are you applying for your dream job?

No matter what type of job you are going for, the employer is likely to ask for a copy of your resume. However, in some cases, the employer might ask you to send a copy of your CV.

cv vs resume

This can be pretty confusing for applicants, and many people struggle to understand the difference. In some cases, the terms are used interchangeably, although they are not technically the same thing.

So, let’s take a look at a CV vs. resume to work out which one you should create and why.

Resume vs. CV: The Difference

Most resumes in North America are personal marketing documents that are competency-based. They showcase the skills, work experience, and notable achievements of the candidate.

However, North American CVs are generally submitted for jobs in academia, medical fields, and scientific research. These CVs are credential-based and provide a comprehensive listing of the applicant’s education. They also include research experience, certifications, professional affiliations, and professional memberships.

What is a CV?

CV is just an abbreviation for curriculum vitae and is basically a summary of your skills and experience. Generally speaking, CVs for entry-level candidates are at least two or three pages. Mid-level candidates who have published numerous papers tend to submit CVs that are much longer.

What’s included?

A good CV should include detailed information about your academic background. This can include teaching experience, your degrees, research experience, awards, publications, presentations, and other types of achievements.

Some companies may request a curriculum vitae summary, which is a condensed version of a full curriculum vitae. It typically consists of just one or two pages. This is used to concisely and quickly highlight your qualifications and skills.

Exactly What To Include in Your CV

Your CV should include your name, contact information, educational background, skills, and experience in the field. In addition to this basic information, it will consist of more detailed information on academic achievements. It is best to start with the contact information at the top, followed by various other categories.

the cv vs resume

The following section should be your Research Objective, Personal Profile, or Personal Statement, followed by your Education section. Following that, include a Professional Academic Appointments section followed by details of work you have had published. Example sections could be Books, Book Chapters, Peer-Reviewed Publications, and Other Publications.

You’re halfway there…

Next, provide details of Awards and Honors and Grants and Fellowships. If you have led conferences, details of these conferences should appear in the following section. Next comes Teaching Experience followed by Research Experience/Lab Experience/Graduate Fieldwork, Non-Academic Activities, Languages and Skills, and Memberships.

And rounding it all out…

The last section of the CV should be reserved for professional references. Many companies state that you need to include a certain number of professional references. If not explicitly stated, it is best to have two or three references.

What is a Resume?

For general job applications, a resume is the most commonly requested document.

A resume provides a condensed summary of your work history, education, credentials, other accomplishments, and skills. You can also include additional sections like a career summary statement and resume objective.

Best practice…

It is best to make your resume as concise as possible and use bullet points to condense information. Ideally, your resume should be just one page long. However, in some cases, it can run to two pages.

the cv vs the resume

The primary purpose of a resume is to give recruiters a brief overview of your career history. The recruiter should be able to see at a single glance if you are suitable for the job you are applying for. Therefore, certain valuable aspects of your personality and skills should also be apparent.

What To Include on a Resume?

Like with a CV, your resume should be organized into different sections. You should start with your Contact Information, including the Job Title followed by the Resume Summary or Resume Objective. The next sections should be Work Experience, Education, and Skills.


Depending on your experience and the job description, there are also several other sections you could include. These could be Awards, Courses, Resume Publications, Licenses, and Certifications. Some people also have a Hobbies and Interests section at the bottom of their resume.

CV and Resume Writing Tips

When creating a CV or a resume, it is crucial to demonstrate that you are qualified for the job. It would help if you also expressed what you have to offer the organization. The document should grab the attention of recruiters and make them want to learn more in an interview.

The best way to do that?

It is critical that you match your CV or resume to the job position. Highlight your work experience, education, and skills that relate to that particular job and industry. A generic resume or CV that can be applied to a wide range of jobs is unlikely to make an impact.

cv vs resume tip

Read the job description carefully, and then pick out specific keywords and buzzwords. You should then scatter these words throughout your document in a natural way. These words will jump out at the recruiter and indicate that you are the right fit for the job.


It is recommended to use a template to structure your CV or resume. This will help to ensure that you include all the relevant sections and information. A clearly organized document will be easier to read and allow the recruiter to quickly find the information they need.

After formatting, make sure that your formatting is uniform. The last step is proofreading and editing your document. Your information should flow easily, and there must be no spelling or grammatical errors.

How to Write a Successful Resume?

Make sure that you choose the best possible format for your needs. This is likely to be dictated by your industry, experience, and desired role. You could select a chronological structure, a functional format, or a combination of the two.

How to Write a Successful CV?

Make sure you know what you need to include and how to format the information. Choose an appropriate format for your CV which matches the position you are applying for. Some jobs require a very formal CV format, while others may be more informal.

CV vs. Resume: International Differences and When to Use Which?

Outside of North America, many countries and companies use the term CV instead of resume. This includes all countries in Europe as well as the Middle East, Africa, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The term resume is never used, and CV refers to a short and targeted document used to apply for jobs.

However, it should also be stated that there are slight region-specific differences between each country. In some cases, companies in North America that are owned by one of these companies may use the term CV. It is essential to be aware of precisely what the company is looking for before applying for a job.

Some countries don’t differentiate the two…

In South Africa and Australia, for example, the terms CV and resume are used interchangeably. Both terms refer to a brief document that is two pages long.

In South Asia, job applicants are sometimes asked to send a biodata instead of a CV or resume. This type of document typically includes more personal information such as race, gender, marital status, and current salary. However, these practices are becoming less and less common, and these days applicants may be asked for a resume or CV instead.

Need More Help?

If you’re definitely writing a resume, also check out my article on Hobbies Interests to Put on Resumes. And for intensive guidance in writing your CV, I recommend the books, How to Write a CV and Cover Letter and The 7 Second CV.

Once you’re fully confident your resume or CV is perfect, we can also assist with full details on specific application processes of US-based companies. Our database has everything from Popeyes Chicken Application to ABF Freight System Application to The Ritz Carlton Application. Just type your dream employer into our search box. You’ll probably find it!

But regardless of what your dream company might be, my top recommendation is to start preparing yourself right now for potential questions that will likely come up in almost any company interview. Read my comprehensive articles on Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, responding to the questions Why Do You Want to Work Here? and Why We Should Hire You?

In terms of valuable resources to own for interviewing like a pro, check out Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies, How to Create Positive Impressions, and Interview Like A Pro.

OK, back to today’s topic…

Now You Know The Difference Between a CV vs. Resume

Most companies use either the term CV or resume, depending on where they are located.

When you’re applying for a particular job, pay close attention to which term they use. You can take your cue from the job description, as you will be asked to send either a resume or CV.

However, no matter whether you choose to create a CV or resume, it is essential to tailor it to the specific job. Instead of simply sending a generic CV or resume, make sure you include relevant job experience and other details. This indicates to employers that you have considered the needs of the company and are the right candidate for them.

Happy job hunting!

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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