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CV Vs. Resume: How are they both different from each other?

Published: Saturday 29th August 2020

A curriculum vitae or CV and resume are both legal documents essential for the procedure of job hiring and interviews. However, they are not the same. It has been noticed that the terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably but in some parts of the world hold two different meanings.

If you are wondering what separates a CV from a resume, we are here to help!

This blog will explain to the reader in detail the difference between CV and resume so that they can understand which one is more appropriate for them at their professional stage.

Ideally, both aforementioned are essential in the process of applying for a job vacancy, their purpose is not interchangeable.

Confused woman trying to figure out the difference between CV and resume

What is a CV?

CV is the abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae which translates to “the course of life” in Latin. A CV is a document that showcases a candidate’s professional life events including academic history, work experience, past projects, skills acquired, or research conducted. In the US and other parts of the world, these are used only to apply for academic or research-oriented jobs.

A CV consists of the following details:

  • The candidate’s publications and dissertations
  • Title and summary of past research work
  • previous academic experience non-academic positions
  • Conferences attended
  • Academic achievements and credentials
  • Grants received and approved
  • Any professional memberships, if any.

You can learn to write an excellent CV here.

What is a resume?

A resume is a straight-forward document that displays your professional details necessary to get you the job you have applied for. This includes past work experience, important technical skills, and the relevant qualifications.

A resume is generally a page long but can run into a maximum of three pages in the case of a highly skilled professional. This document can be used to apply for nearly every job position in any sector in the market that is outside the purview of academia and research.

A resume has a unique section called “Key Skills” that showcases all the important skills a candidate has acquired relating to the job they have applied for.

You can learn to create a compelling resume here.

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

There are three elements that distinguish a CV from a resume. These are:

1)      Scope: While a CV showcases the life’s work of an applicant, a resume only displays professional information related to the job the applicant is seeking.

2)      Aim: A CV is essential for a candidate applying for a graduate program, doctorate program or a job in academia.

3)      Length: A CV can be quite lengthy, running into more than 20 pages in some instances. However, a resume is short and kept between 1-3 pages.

Below, you will find the main differences between a CV and resume at a glance:


  • Lengthy with no page limitation.
  • Used for job applications in scientific, academic, and technical industries.
  • Comprises all your achievements, accreditations, certifications, licenses, published works and more.


  • Short and concise with a 1-3 pages limit.
  • Used for job applications in almost every industry.
  • Displays information relevant to the position applied to.

International difference between CV and resume

In the US and Canada, a CV is used to apply for academic posts and graduate schools.

In European countries and the UK, a resume is rarely used term because a CV is the only relevant document used for all job applications.

New Zealand and Australia both use CVs and resumes for job applications. A resume is just a page long whereas a CV spans to a maximum of 3 pages.

In South Africa, the terms CV and Resume are used interchangeably.

In India, a CV is a static document that has all the achievements of an applicant whereas a resume is relevant to the job opportunity it is being used for.


We hope that this blog made it easier to understand the difference between CV and resume. You may now know which one applies for your career and job applications. Our jobseeker blogs section has a collection of works to help candidates put their best foot forward.

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