CV (Curriculum vitae) vs. Resume

Understanding the difference between a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume When you apply for a job the…

Understanding the difference between a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume

When you apply for a job the first step is to submit a CV (curriculum vitae) or a resume. All employers require one or the other of these from all applicants. For this reason they are essential tools in gaining employment in any career. They provide information about your qualifications and experience for the employer and they are used to make a decision about whether or not to call you for an interview. Of the two, a CV is the lengthiest and provides the most details.

The application you submit to an employer in response to a job posting is the way in which you market your skills. The tools used are curriculum vitae and resume  because both of these  give the employer a bird’s eye view of your educational background and work experience related to the job for which you are applying.

What is a CV?

A CV is a detailed look at your qualifications for the position for which you are applying. In this document you list the following:

  • Past work experience
  • Major projects that you have worked on
  • Academic background
  • Personal attributes, responsibilities and skills related to the job

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary of your education, work experience and personal attributes but it is not as detailed nor as lengthy as a CV. Employers use a resume to determine which applicants are more suited for the job. A resume portrays a positive image of the applicant and has to be concise providing brief listings of jobs and responsibilities in each one.  There are different formats that a resume can take so to avoid receiving a bunch of different ones to look through, some companies are now only accepting job applications online and have a specific resume format for applicants to use. These resumes have blank fields and the applicants simply fill in the information.

The difference between a resume and a CV

CV and resume are tools to use when applying for a job. They are so similar that they are often used interchangeably. A curriculum vitae is longer than a resume and contains a lot more details about a person’s education, work experience and personal characteristics that would make him/her a good candidate for the position. This means that this document is comprehensive in listing everything an employer needs to know about the applicant and can make a more informed decision about whether or not to hire this person.

There are different preferences for resumes and CV’s in various countries and for various types of careers. In the US, the preference seems to be for resumes, but in most other parts of the world, employers prefer to see a CV submitted with the application. CV’s are most often requested for positions in the academic world and for jobs in research because the work experience clarifies the types of work that has been done in the past.


Your CV or resume must be better than the others that are submitted when you apply for a job. It does not mean that you have to use any special paper or use other than normal fonts. What it does mean is that you have to provide the details of your skills and experience so that employers will want to hire you as soon as they read it. Some employers prefer one over the other, but it is always wise to have both a CV and a resume ready.

Writing a CV and a resume are two tasks that you cannot rush. Take your time to format each one properly or hire a professional to do the writing for you. It is important to remember that there is a distinction between the two so that you will submit what employers ask for in a job posting.


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