What’s the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

6 min read

While it’s common to hear the terms resume and CV used interchangeably. Actually, they refer to two different documents that serve two different purposes. If you’re applying for a job in an international business or academic setting. Then knowing the difference between a resume and a CV can help you choose the document. That best represents your qualifications and experience to the hiring manager who will read it. A good grasp of the difference between resumes and CVs can also help you avoid some common mistakes. Which can lead to rejection before your application even gets a chance at approval.

The origin of CVs

Resumes or CVs have been around since the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci created one for himself. At the time, CVs were used more as a way to show off someone’s accomplishments than to get a job. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that CVs began to be used for job applications. Nowadays, CVs are typically two or three pages long and include information about an applicant’s work history, education, and skills.

A resume, on the other hand, is a shorter document usually just one page. Which highlights an applicant’s most relevant experience and skills for a specific job. Whereas a CV includes everything an applicant has ever done through their career. But a resume is more focused on what an applicant can do for a particular employer.

image of a old resume or CV

The difference between a CV and a resume can be subtle, but understanding which one you need to use is key. If you’re applying for an entry-level job, you’ll likely only need a resume. But if you’ve worked in your industry for several years or have held multiple positions over time, it’s best to go with a CV so that you don’t leave out important details.

In general, CVs are used in situations where employers are looking to hire senior-level employees who they can trust with high-stakes projects or as executives of their company, while resumes are used by applicants applying for jobs that require less experience or skill.

Why would you use a CV rather than a resume?

image of a sample cv and resume

A CV is generally longer than a resume, often three or four pages compared to one or two. And CVs include more information on your educational background and qualifications, as well as teaching experience, publications, presentations, awards, and other professional achievements. A CV also includes research and community service experiences. You may use a CV when you are applying for academic, scientific, or research positions.

A resume is shorter than a CV. It usually contains your personal information, details of previous employment, skills, education, hobbies, and interests. A resume is a good choice if you are applying for an internship or entry-level position where you want to show off your educational background as well as special skills that are related to your field. For example, if you’re interested in social work, it’s good to show any volunteering experience or community service on your resume.

What should you write in your objective section in your CV or Resume?

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Your objective section in your resume or CV should be a concise, clear statement of what you hope to accomplish in your new role. Be specific about the skills and experience you bring to the table, and what you hope to achieve in your new position. For example, if you’re looking for a marketing job, you might say something like, I hope to use my five years of experience in market research and analysis to help increase sales by 10% within the first year of my tenure. This section should be no more than one or two sentences long.

Your resume isn’t just about selling yourself to potential employers, it’s also about standing out from all of your competition. One way to accomplish both objectives is to focus on tangible results you can point to.

Things to look out for when writing your CV

Length – A CV should be around two pages, whereas a resume should only be one page.
Formatting – CVs can be more flexible in terms of formatting, whereas a resume should have a clear, concise structure.
Sections – CVs will usually have sections for your education, work experience, skills, etc., whereas a resume may just have bullet points under each section.
Personal information – A CV will usually include your personal information (name, address, email, etc.), whereas a resume may not.
References – CVs will typically include references, whereas a resume may not.
Photos – CVs may optionally include a photo, whereas a resume should not include one.

Parting thoughts

A resume is a brief, usually one-page document, while a CV is more comprehensive and can be two or more pages. But a resume is typically used when applying for jobs, while a CV is used for academic or research positions. And a resume should focus on your work experience and skills, while a CV should highlight your academic achievements and research interests. In short, a resume is meant to get you an interview, while a CV is meant to get you hired.

Some job seekers may use both terms, while others may only use one. It’s important to note that although these documents are similar in their layout, they can still be very different in content. For example, your work experience and skills should be detailed on your resume (although not necessarily in an exhaustive manner), but you wouldn’t need to include them on your CV. You can also leave out some information about yourself when writing a resume that might be included on a CV, such as marital status or personal interests.

Some people even choose to leave out references from their resumes! However, if you’re applying for an academic position, both documents will likely include similar information about your education and teaching experience.


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