What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

When applying for a job, many companies require that a resume or a CV be submitted so that hiring managers can review a potential hire’s qualifications before calling him or her in for an interview. Those who are interested in applying for a new job should understand the differences between a resume and CV before they move forward with the application process.

The Basics of a CV

A Curriculum Vitae, or a CV, is a highly-detailed document that is generally one or more pages in length. These documents go in depth about a person’s achievements and can cover a potential hire’s education in addition to any other accomplishments, such as awards or industry-related certifications.

One of the main differences between a resume and CV is that CVs tend to be organized chronologically so that a person’s full working career is covered. Additionally, these documents are static and remain consistent regardless of what type of position is being applied for.

The Basics of a Resume

Another one of the biggest differences between a resume and CV is that resumes are very concise, usually not exceeding one page in length. The main reason why resumes are not long documents is because they are not intended for the reader to dwell on them for extended periods of time. Instead, the purpose of a resume is to help a candidate stand out from his or her competition.

Resumes should also be tailored to the job being applied for so that a candidate’s main skills and qualifications can be highlighted. Additionally, since a resume is a highly customizable document, it does not have to be in chronological order or cover a person’s entire career history.

Adding References

One thing both resumes and CVs have in common is that adding references is not an unusual practice. However, if a resume is being submitted, the employer will generally request references after an interview is scheduled or an initial round of interviews is conducted. Therefore, those who decide to submit a resume can consider adding references to this document as an optional practice unless they are specifically requested.

Although it is not uncommon for resumes to have references included, it is more common for CVs to come with an added page of reference information. When putting together this page, candidates should make sure the titles and contact information of anyone included are correct.

When to Use a Resume and CV

When given a chance to choose between a resume and CV, there are many factors job applicants should consider. Mainly, applicants should think about what type of job they are applying for. Generally speaking, resumes are most appropriate for nonacademic jobs. For example, if a candidate is applying for a job as an engineer or an administrative assistant, he or she would be better off submitting a resume.

Comparatively, CVs are mostly used when applying for grants, fellowships, or faculty positions in government, academia, or industry. Typically, whenever research work or teaching experience is considered valuable, a CV should be the document submitted.

Converting a Resume to a CV

Many professionals may think about converting their resume to a CV or vice versa at some point in their job searches. When doing so, candidates should consider whether they want the document they submit to focus more on their skills or their accomplishments, as well as what a hiring or HR manager might be looking for during the recruiting process.

If the position is more geared towards their accomplishments, potential hires should convert their resume to a CV. In comparison, if skills are more valuable during the hiring process than achievements, candidates should switch their CV to a resume.


Submitting a resume or a CV can often make the difference between getting an interview or being ignored for a position. Before turning in any document to a potential employer, candidates should carefully consider which document would suit the situation the best.


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