What is the difference between a resume and a CV? Which is appropriate when applying for a job? When applying for a job, you may find yourself unable to choose between a CV and resume, especially when it is not specified which to submit.

We know how frustrating it can be when trying your best to create a perfect first impression and not sure whether to submit a resume or CV. We are here to help you understand the difference between the two and guide you on when it is appropriate to use either. Let’s get started.

What is a CV?

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CV is the short form for Curriculum Vitae which is Latin for “course of life.” A CV describes the whole course of your career in full detail. It contains details about your professional career, education, honors, awards, publications and other achievements. Basically, a CV is very detailed and has many sections.

In Canada and the USA, a CV is used only for academic applications such as grants, academic jobs and fellowships.

You can learn more here on how to create a CV for academic applications.

What sections to include in a CV

Below is a list of all sections a complete CV must have:

  • Contact Information
  • Research Objective, Professional Profile, or Personal Statement
  • Education
  • Professional Academic Appointments
  • Books
  • Book Chapters
  • Peer-Reviewed Publications
  • Other Publications
  • Awards and Honors
  • Grants and Fellowships
  • Conferences
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience / Lab Experience / Graduate Fieldwork
  • Non-Academic Activities
  • Languages and Skills
  • Memberships
  • References

What is a resume

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Unlike a CV that is detailed and often lengthy, a resume is brief and used for job applications in the USA and Canada. A resume is also spelled as résumé, which is from French “to sum up.” Both spellings are correct.

A resume is used to provide a brief overview of the applicant’s work history. It is usually specific to the job and short, one or two pages long. Here are some resume templates and examples you may want to consider.

You can learn more here on how to make a resume for a job.

Sections to include on a resume

  • Contact Information
  • Resume Summary or Resume Objective
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Additional Sections (Awards, Courses, Publications, Certificates, Conferences, etc.)

The main difference between a resume and a CV

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  • A resume is typically one to two pages long. A CV has no limit, but it is advisable to keep it short.
  • A resume is used to apply for jobs. A CV is used for academic purposes.
  • A resume summarizes work experience and skills. A CV details the whole course of your career.

International differences

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  • In New Zealand and all of Europe, the term CV is used to describe an equivalent of a US resume. There is no such thing as a resume there. 

For more information on the difference between European or New Zealand CV and an American resume and how to write one, click here to learn more.

  • In South Africa and Australia, a resume and a CV mean the same thing. They are used interchangeably and refer to a brief document, an equivalent of the US resume.
  • In South Asia, a CV and resume mean the same thing in America. But job seekers are required to use a biodata instead of the resume or CV when applying for jobs. A biodata contains more biographical data such as marital status, race, salary, gender and date of birth; hence the name biodata.

Note: If asked to submit a CV or resume in South Asia, don’t send a biodata. Submit a document that follows the American resumes rules or styles.

Conclusion

The above are the key difference between a resume and a CV. We hope everything was clear. If you feel we missed something or need further clarification, let us know in the comment section below, and we shall respond promptly.

 

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