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CV Vs. Resume – Know the Difference

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Are you preparing to step into the professional world and seeking a job? You may have come across the terms CV and resume while applying for different positions. But what exactly are they, and how do they differ? Let’s break it down in simple terms.

What is a CV? A CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which translates to “course of life” in Latin. It is a comprehensive document that includes every detail of your achievements, rather than just a brief overview of your career. A CV typically lists your education, professional background, as well as any special honors, awards, or publications.

CVs are usually longer, often stretching to two or three pages, or even more if needed. Unlike resumes, CVs remain constant and do not change for different job applications. So, if you apply for various positions, you may need to adjust your cover letter accordingly.

What is a Resume? A resume comes from the French term “résumé,” meaning “to sum up.” Resumes are concise documents that provide a brief summary of your educational background, skills, talents, and work history. The main objective of a resume is to share a quick outline of your professional journey with potential employers.

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A well-crafted resume should not exceed two pages, as recruiters won’t spend much time on it.

Unlike a CV, a resume is not static. It is tailored to a specific audience and needs to be adapted for each job application. Many applicants list their work history in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent job.

A typical resume includes sections like contact information, a summary or objective, education, work experience, and skills.

Usage Per Region The usage of CVs and resumes varies from country to country:

  • Canada and the US: Resumes are the preferred document for job applications across different fields. CVs are used mainly for applying for jobs abroad or academic and research-centric positions.
  • Mainland Europe, UK, Ireland, and New Zealand: These countries don’t differentiate between CV and resume. The term CV is used to refer to what is commonly known as a resume—a concise, targeted document for job applications.
  • India, South Africa, and Australia: In these countries, CV and resume are used interchangeably. CVs are commonly used for public service job applications, while resumes are more common for private companies.
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Differences between CV and Resume At first glance, CVs and resumes might seem similar, but there are important differences:


  • CVs contain exhaustive details of each aspect of your achievements, including education, skillsets, and career history.
  • Resumes are shorter and provide specific details only when needed. They focus on work experiences and skills.


  • A CV covers your entire educational and professional career, including academic achievements, research projects, publications, and awards.
  • A resume highlights your skills and can be customized for different job positions.

Order of Events:

  • A CV follows a chronological order, showcasing your achievements based on when they occurred.
  • A resume can be designed chronologically, functionally, or in a combined order.
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Choosing Between a CV and a Resume If you are applying for academic positions or jobs abroad, a CV is the better choice. Its comprehensive nature provides a detailed understanding of your career growth.

For private sector companies, especially in IT or technology industries, resumes are more suitable. Their concise, targeted format allows employers to quickly assess your qualifications and skills.

In conclusion, both CVs and resumes have their specific uses, so it’s essential to understand which one is appropriate for your job application.

Remember, if you’re still unsure, you can always reach out to the recruiter for guidance. Otherwise, sticking to a well-crafted resume, highlighting your skills, is a safe option for most job applications.

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