CVs vs. Resumes: Three Major Differences

If you have applied to a job, you are probably well acquainted with a resume and the significant role that they play in the hiring process. While resumes are undoubtedly a requirement, they aren’t the only means by which a candidate has to showcase their skills and qualifications. There are videos, portfolios and projects that people can use to demonstrate their qualifications. In addition to these options and the resume, there is the curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a CV.

What Is A CV?

A curriculum vitae is a written document that outlines a candidate’s skills and qualifications for a job opportunity. The term curriculum vitae is a term that translate to “the course of my life.” They are used around the world as the standard professional record for job-seekers, with origins dating back to painter and musician Leonardo DaVinci.

Major Differences Between A CV and a Resume

While there are bold similarities between and a CV and a resume, there are three key differences between the CV and the resume.


A CV is generally longer than a resume. A resume is usually regarded as a single page document that outlines a candidate’s professional history. A second page is generally allowed for persons with an extensive work history in one area of expertise. CVs however are at a minimum of two pages. Persons using a CV are allowed the space to be as in depth as need be when showcasing their qualifications, which typically go beyond work history.


The general anatomy of a resume includes an objective statement or personal statement, a summarized job history, education and technical/software skills. The purpose of a resume is to be short, sweet and to the point. In direct contrast, the CV includes more elements to allow a candidate the depth to expound upon their experiences. In addition to the aforementioned, a CV can also include teaching/academic experiences, publications, awards, presentations, trainings, conferences, professional and academic groups, and extracurricular activities. A candidate is free to include any elements they deem relevant to creating a captivating and inclusive document.


A resume is used apply to most professional jobs throughout the US and Canada. While a resume can be used to apply to academic positions, a CV is preferred. The CV is preferred when applying not only to academic positions, but to research and scientific positions as well. When applying to global positions, the CV should be used over the CV as it is a global standard for job seekers in non-US countries.

Whether you are building a CV or a resume, you must make sure that you are focused and acute in elaborating your skills and qualifications. While they are very similar and interchangeable, do not think that using one over the other is a matter of preference. They have distinct purposes and knowing which one to use and when might be the key to landing your next job.

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