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What’s the difference between a CV vs. resume?

CVs and resumes are used for job application and hiring purposes; however, CVs tend to be longer and provide an in-depth picture of a candidate’s qualifications. Resumes are more concise.

Is a CV the same as a resume?

No. While these documents are similar in purpose and appearance, they have some crucial differences.

Differences between resumes vs CVs:

  • Resumes usually fit onto one or two pages, and CVs may stretch from two to 10 or more pages.
  • CVs are longer because they give additional information about your education and background that resumes omit.
  • Resumes are the standard hiring document in the U.S.
  • CVs are the preferred hiring document outside of the U.S.
  • In the U.S., CVs are primarily used for academic and scientific roles.

International CV and resume differences

A CV is the standard resume format in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. In some countries, “one-page CVs” may be requested; these are more or less resumes.

Check out our full breakdown of CVs vs resumes by country and continent.

What is a CV? + example

CV is short for curriculum vitae, Latin meaning “course of life,” and it’s an application document that shares your life’s personal and professional details.

Like a resume, it outlines your contact information, work history, education and skills. It also includes additional sections like research, educational or professional trips, speaking engagements, experiments, publications or memberships.

Who should use a CV?

People applying for jobs outside the U.S. should use a CV. In the U.S., specific academic, legal, medical, research or scientific roles may also use CVs. Otherwise, U.S. job seekers should use a resume.

What to include on a CV

A well-written CV should contain the following information:

  • Name/contact information
  • Professional title
  • Resume summary or resume objective
  • Research
  • Education
  • Publications (academic papers, journals or books)
  • Teaching experience
  • Work experience
  • Conferences and coursework
  • Skills
  • Certificates
  • Languages
  • Grants or fellowships

CV example

Check out this sample CV to see how all the sections fit together.

We’ve also got a vast collection of CV examples to use as guides when writing your CV.

Better yet, give our CV Builder a try. The Builder automates the writing process, making it fast and easy to create a professional document.

It offers pre-written, industry-specific content and helps you tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for.

You can add as many custom sections as you’d like using our builder.

Build My CV Now

What is a Resume? + example

A resume is a document that summarizes the top reasons, skills and experience that qualify you for a job.

Since it’s a summary, it’s shorter than a CV. It’s not the full scope of your life, just a highlight of your top achievements and professional work.

Who should use a resume?

You should use a resume to apply for most jobs in the U.S. However, there are a few fields in which CVs dominate, including academia, law, medicine and science. For other roles, resumes are standard!

What to include on a resume vs CV?

A well-written resume should include the following information:

Resume example

Check out this sample resume to see how all the pieces fit.

If you find this helpful, we have a complete library of 400+ resume examples. You’ll be sure to find inspiration for your document.

For the highest level of help with your document, use our Resume Builder! It comes pre-loaded with industry-specific content written by professional resume writers, which saves you a lot of time.

You can have a resume ready in under 15 minutes!

Build My Resume Now

Make a CV or resume fast

Ready to get an edge and save time making your document? Use a template!

Templates are preformatted CV or resume designs that ensure your document looks professional! We have plenty of well-designed CV Templates and Resume Templates you can use.

Better yet, we feature 25+ templates in our Resume Builder. It can make both resumes and CVs because it allows you to add as many customizable sections as your document needs.

Resume vs. CV: international differences + where to use each

The main resume versus CV debate comes down to the location of where you’re applying for a job.

To simplify it, we’ve compiled this helpful chart to help you understand which document different places worldwide prefer.

Earth

CV vs. Resume

Usage by Country/Location
North America: (non-academic role)

Resumes are the standard document in the U.S. and Canada. In Mexico, they’re called “CVs,” but they’re the same one-page document as resumes.

North America: (academic role)

In North America, it’s best to submit a CV if applying for an academic job. That’s because it provides additional information about your educational background.

South America:

Most South American countries prefer to call the hiring document a “CV,” but it follows a basic North American resume format.

Europe:

In Europe, CVs are more popular, but some countries use resumes. You should check which document each country prefers. It’s also more common to use pictures on European hiring documents.

Australia and New Zealand:

In Oceania, the primary type of hiring document is called a CV, but it is more or less the same as an American resume in its contents.

Africa:

In Africa, employers prefer CVs. However, some countries may request a one-page CV, like a resume, and others may request a “Comprehensive CV,” a longer version.

Asia:

In Asia, you should submit a long-form CV rather than just a resume to apply for a job. It varies by country, so look up the specifics of where you’re applying.

Key takeaways

To recap, here are some of the main points to know about CVs vs resumes:

  • CVs and resumes are both application documents to help win you a desired opportunity.
  • Both documents include your contact information, plus details about your education, skills and work experience. CVs contain additional sections.
  • CVs are less common in the U.S. and are specifically for academic, research, or science jobs.
  • Resumes are the standard application document for most jobs in the United States.
  • CVs are the standard application document for most countries outside the U.S. and Canada.
  • Some countries call documents “one-page CVs,” almost identical to American resumes.

Also, remember whether you send a CV or resume to apply, including a cover letter is standard.

A well-written cover letter should reinforce the points you make in your resume and provide additional information that proves you’re the best candidate.

To ensure you nail your cover letter, check out our most helpful tool, our Cover Letter Builder.

The builder can speed up writing a great cover letter by hours because it provides professionally written content suggestions you can add with a click!

Generate my cover letter

Resume vs. CV FAQ

What is a CV?

A CV is a document used for hiring or academic purposes.

Its goal is to convince someone that you’re the right candidate for an opportunity and hopefully score an interview.

It’s usually longer than one page and features information about your education, coursework and publications, if applicable.

How do I know if I need a CV vs a resume?

The surest way to find out is to check the official listing for the job, role, academic opportunity, or internship. They usually mention the document they want you to send by name.

Otherwise, use these guidelines to know if you need a CV vs resume:

1) Location: Where are you applying, and what are the norms in that country?

  • Resume: Standard in the U.S. and widely accepted in the corporate world.
  • CV: More commonly used internationally and for jobs in science or academia.

2) Purpose: What are you using this document for?

  • Resume: Geared towards most jobs, especially those in the private sector, emphasizing relevant skills and work experience.
  • CV: Primarily for academic, research, science or international positions, focusing on comprehensive details and educational background.

What is a CV vs. resume?

CVs and resumes are both hiring documents. In some countries, you can use the terms interchangeably.

They mainly differ because CVs tend to be longer and include additional sections.

CVs are the more popular document outside the U.S.; they’re standard. In the U.S., most people use resumes, while CVs are for academics, law, medicine, research or science jobs.

What does CV stand for?

CV stands for curriculum vitae, Latin for “course of life.”

It’s a document that outlines your education and work experience in a way that helps a reader understand what you’ve done throughout your life.

Its Latin roots explain why CV is the standard document in Europe. Likewise, in the U.S., it’s associated with higher education, and dead languages are primarily academic.

Is a CV the same as a resume?

Not entirely; many countries treat resumes vs CVs differently.

In the U.S., resumes are different from CVs. Differences include:

  • Resumes are the primary document for job applications, whereas CVs are specifically for academic, legal, research and scientific roles.
  • Resumes are shorter, one page per every ten years worked. CVs contain more sections and details about your education, so they’re longer.

However, in different parts of the world, like Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America, “CVs” are the standard document. In some countries, a “one-page CV” is the same as a resume.

Should I use a resume or CV if applying for an academic role?

Colleges and universities are the most common places CVs appear in the United States. For academic opportunities like fellowships, grants, internships, professorships, research, TA positions or postdoctoral posts, it’s more common to submit a CV.

Since these opportunities are education-focused, CVs are preferred because they highlight your studies, research and publications more than resumes.

However, use resumes for non-academic roles at a college or university, such as administration, groundskeeping or facilities management.

What file format should I save and send my CV or resume?

Check the job ad and look carefully to see if the employer specifies a file format for your resume or CV.

If no format is specified, PDFs are standard. Google Docs or Microsoft Word files may also be acceptable. You can also submit your document in two file formats to ensure your reader can access it.

When it comes to the “Save as” name you choose for your file, use this template: [Your Name] [Target Job Title] [Resume or CV].FileFormat.


Here are some examples:
Jill Ferguson Resume.pdf
Tamara Hall CV.doc

Is there a difference in resume vs CV formatting?

There is no CV resume difference when it comes to formatting. Both documents follow standard business formatting practices.

Stick to these CV resume formatting guidelines:

  • One-inch margins on all sides of your document.
  • Choose a reader-friendly font, such as Arial, Helvetica or Verdana.
  • Keep your font size between 11-13 in the main text and slightly bigger, 14-18 for section headings.
  • Line spacing should be between single and 1.5.

Does the section order matter on a CV?

Listing your contact information at the very top of your CV is standard. Then, it’s clear who you are and how to reach you.

After that, organize the most useful background information for the role near the beginning of your CV, not on page four.

That way, a recruiter will likely see this vital information at first glance.

For example, if you’re applying for an academic role, you might want to include sections like Education, Research or Publications at the top of your CV. For private roles, you’d probably want to give sections like Skills, Work Experience or Awards more prominence.

About the Author

Eric Ciechanowski

Eric Ciechanowski Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Eric Ciechanowski is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), certified by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC). He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a B.A. double major in Creative Writing and Philosophy. His career background includes fields as diverse as education, hospitality, journalism, copywriting, tech and trivia hosting.

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