What's the Difference Between A CV and A Resume

Attius Li- Author
Atticus Li
Resume & Cover Letters
June 20, 2024
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You might wonder about the main differences between a CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a resume. Well, these two documents play big roles in the job application process but serve different purposes.

A CV offers a detailed look at your entire career, focusing on academic achievements. It's perfect for jobs in education, research, and some other fields. On the other hand, a resume gives a shorter summary of your work experience and skills customized to the specific job you're applying for.

CVs can be several pages long because they cover everything from education to every job you've ever had. They also include things like research projects and publications. This makes them ideal for when you’re aiming for academic positions or roles where your scholarly contributions matter most.

Resumes are shorter — usually one to two pages — since they spotlight key parts of your professional journey relevant to the particular position at stake in corporate or creative industries.

Both types need something extra: a cover letter that shares more personal insights into why you're the best fit for the role. Knowing when to use which can make all the difference in landing your next opportunity. 

Let's explore how each one works!

Table of Contents

I.  Difference Between a CV and a Resume

  1. Definition of a CV (Curriculum Vitae)
  2. Definition of a Resume

II. Detailed Comparison: CV vs. Resume

  1. Length and Detail
  2. Purpose and Usage
  3. Common Formats and Structures

III.When to Use a CV

  1. Academic Positions
  2. Research and Scientific Roles

IV.When to Use a Resume

  1. Corporate Jobs
  2. Creative Industries

V. Key Components of a CV

  1. Education and Academic Achievements
  2. Publications and Research

VI.Key Components of a Resume

  1. Work Experience
  2. Skills and Achievements

VII.Additional Tips for CV and Resume Writing

  1. Tailoring Your Document to the Job
  2. Importance of a Cover Letter


Difference Between a CV and a Resume

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a resume serve different purposes in job applications. The distinctions lie in their length, detail, and usage scenarios.

Definition of a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

A CV, short for Curriculum Vitae, paints a full picture of your professional journey. It covers everything from education and work experience to achievements like publications and awards.

This detailed document is especially crucial for professionals in the medical, legal, academic, and science fields. A typical CV will highlight research projects, educational history including scholarships and fellowships gained, teaching roles held as well as memberships in professional associations.

With its comprehensive nature, a CV often stretches over multiple pages to encompass all relevant information such as contact details, educational background with any doctoral programs undertaken, peer-reviewed research outcomes you contributed to or led on your own or part of a team.

Your CV is not just a document; it's an exhibit of your entire academic and professional timeline.

Including elements like speaking engagements at conferences or workshops attended adds depth showing engagement with the wider community within your field. By listing volunteer positions alongside interests that align with the job role sought after showcases personal traits alongside professional abilities.

Making sure every section from publications to licenses and certificates is precise ensures hiring teams see the full extent of what you bring to their organization.

Definition of a Resume

Moving from understanding a CV, we explore what sets a resume apart. A resume is a document usually running on one page but can stretch to two if necessary, really depending on your length of experience. This brief highlights key facts about your job qualifications.

It focuses sharply on work experiences that match the job you apply for, relevant skills you've developed, and your educational background. In places like the U.S., as well as several European and Asian countries, handing in a resume is how you apply for most jobs.

A standard resume includes sections like contact information at the top—making it easy for hiring managers to reach out to you. Following that are lists of your skills and work history that show where you've been and what you’ve achieved professionally.

Education comes next, showing off your academic foundations. Sometimes, people also add awards they've won or volunteer activities they're proud of to showcase their well-roundedness.

These elements come together in fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman, making everything clear and readable when printed or viewed as an Adobe PDF file—which helps keep employment discrimination laws in mind by focusing on merit rather than personal details. Keeping in mind the font and format that’s readable by the ATS.

Detailed Comparison: CV vs. Resume

A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, tends to be longer and more detailed than a resume. It typically includes comprehensive information about academic achievements, research experiences, and professional affiliations.

On the other hand, a resume is shorter and focuses on work experience, skills acquired through employment and education, mostly  tailored for specific job applications.

Length and Detail

CVs often stretch over 2-3 pages and can even go beyond 10 pages when needed. This length allows for a thorough account of one's entire career, including in-depth details about academic achievements, publications, research, teaching experience, and professional affiliations.

Unlike CVs, resume lengths are much shorter – usually just one to two pages. They give a concise overview of work history and skills without going into too much detail.

The difference between a CV and a resume lies not just in length but also in the level of detail provided about your accomplishments.

While crafting a CV requires listing out every project, publication, or conference presentation alongside detailed descriptions of roles and responsibilities; creating a resume means selecting only the most relevant experiences that match the job you're applying for.

In resumes, the focus is on brevity - highlighting skills and achievements with enough impact to catch the recruiter's eye quickly. Words like "proofread" become crucial here as ensuring error-free content is essential due to the limited space.

Whether it's using LinkedIn for networking or adding internships to showcase practical knowledge - precision matters greatly in resumes.

Purpose and Usage

A CV, or curriculum vitae, is your go-to for jobs in academia, like teaching or research positions. It gives a detailed list of academic wins like degrees, publications, and research you're proud of.

If you're eyeing a fellowship, grant, or a spot in postsecondary education as an instructor or researcher, pull out your CV. For these roles, showing off every bit of your academic journey is crucial.

On the flip side, resumes are streamlined and focus on skills for the hiring process in businesses and creative fields. Think corporate roles or jobs in the arts where what you can do matters more than all your educational credentials.

After working for a year or so outside school walls—aim to highlight work experience on your resume. This switch tells employers you've got hands-on skills ready to be put to use right away.

Common Formats and Structures

Resumes usually stick to one or two pages. They pack in a lot of info with sections like a professional summary, skills, work achievements, education, and volunteer work. Think of it as your highlight reel for jobs.

On CVs, there’s more room to expand. They include your; whole job history, all your education, this might be a lot if you’re in the medical field, awards, publications you’ve contributed to, and detailed projects like research or academic ones.

You might even list out every detail about dissertations you’ve worked on.

The structure matters too—CVs often follow a set order starting with education then moving through items like publications and research details step by step. It's arranged in a chronological order telling your professional story from start to finish without skipping the boring parts because those could be what lands you that Ph.D.-level role or that intriguing research position.

Meanwhile, resumes flex depending on what job you're aiming for; they let you pick what goes at the top starting with your professional summary, so your best feats catch an employer's eye right away—the perfect setup for jumping into corporate worlds or creative fields where showing off specific skills can give you an edge.

When to Use a CV

Use a CV for academic positions, research, and scientific roles. It's ideal for seeking grants or fellowships in academia or applying for international opportunities.

Academic Positions

Academic positions require a curriculum vitae (CV) over a resume. A CV details your entire academic history, research, publications, and any teaching experience you've had. It starts with your education section and lists your academic achievements in reverse-chronological order.

This format helps hiring committees see the depth of your knowledge and experience easily.

For these roles, candidates must include all their relevant work—like research projects or scientific papers they've published. The flexible order of topics in a CV makes it easy to customize.

You can highlight what's most important for the job you're applying for. Resources are available that provide help for formatting CVs and examples specifically geared towards academic positions.

Your CV is not just a list of accomplishments; it's a reflection of your scholarly identity and dedication to academia.

Research and Scientific Roles

Moving from academic positions, the role of a CV takes on even greater importance in research and scientific fields. Here, it showcases not just your educational background but also your contributions to science and knowledge.

This includes any research projects you have worked on and publications where your work has been featured. Your CV should detail these achievements clearly, focusing on how you've added value to the field.

In these roles, conducting company research is crucial before crafting your curriculum vitae (CV). Understanding the organization's goals and how they align with your experiences can make your application stand out.

Listing honors and awards becomes vital here—it shows recognition from peers for contributions to the field. Also, including extensive information about past research endeavors paints a detailed picture of what you bring to the table.

For those eager to pursue research and scientific careers, tailoring this document carefully can open doors to exciting opportunities in academia and beyond.

When to Use a Resume

When applying for corporate positions or seeking roles in creative industries, using a resume is more appropriate. It helps highlight your work experience and key skills relevant to the specific job you are seeking.

Corporate Jobs

For corporate jobs, a resume is the key tool you need. It's short and to the point, usually one or two pages long. The focus here is on skills and accomplishments that match the job you want.

Think of it as your personal profile for success in various industries, whether in private or public sectors.

Resumes for these roles should highlight your best work experience and achievements. They're used across different areas in both private companies and government positions. This means making every word count by emphasizing what you can bring to the table with your unique skill set and past wins.

Your resume is a snapshot of your professional journey relevant to the path ahead.

Creative Industries

For creative jobs, your resume is key. It shows your best skills and achievements in a short form. Resumes are perfect for roles in music, design, art, and writing. In these fields, it's all about showing what makes you stand out.

Include examples of your work like designs or articles you've written. Make sure your resume speaks to the private or public sectors looking for unique talents.

In the creative world, tailor every resume to match the job you apply for. Highlight projects that show off your creativity and problem-solving skills. Use a functional resume format if you've worked on many different projects.

Decoding job descriptions makes your resume stand out. This helps focus on what you can do, not just where you have worked. Your objective is to grab attention fast with something special only you can offer.

Pro tip: When applying for jobs, if you're unsure between a CV and resume, prioritize the document relevant to the position, resume for most and make it shine. This lets you showcase the most relevant skills and experiences upfront, grabbing the employer's attention. Remember, both benefit from professional writing that clearly highlights your qualifications. A professional resume or CV writer can be your game-changer. They'll take your background and translate it into a document that grabs attention.

Key Components of a CV

A CV includes educational background and academic achievements. It also lists publications and research accomplishments.

Education and Academic Achievements

When crafting a CV, it is crucial to highlight your educational background and academic achievements. This includes listing all degrees obtained in reverse-chronological order and providing detailed information about research projects, publications, and academic accomplishments.

For instance, if you have received any academic honors or awards during your studies, these should be prominently featured in the education section of your CV.

In academia, using specific terminology when discussing scholarly pursuits can add depth to the document; for example, instead of simply mentioning "research projects," consider specifying the areas of study or research methodologies undertaken.

This not only showcases expertise but also demonstrates a keen understanding of specialized concepts within the realm of academia. When presented effectively, this level of detail can enhance the overall quality and impact of your CV.

Publications and Research

The section in a CV for publications and research highlights any papers, studies, books, or conference presentations. This is crucial in academic and scientific roles to showcase an individual's contributions to the field.

Moreover, underlining honors and awards in this document is vital for demonstrating achievements within the realm of academia.

In a resume, the emphasis shifts towards work experience along with skills and accomplishments. The inclusion of research experience and publications sets CVs apart from resumes as they cater specifically towards academic positions and scientific roles.

Key Components of a Resume

A resume typically includes key sections such as work experience and skills that showcase an individual's professional background. It also highlights achievements and qualifications relevant to the job being applied for.

Work Experience

A resume emphasizes work experience, usually spanning one to two pages. It includes sections such as work history, contact information, educational background, professional summary, and skills and expertise.

Resumes are vital tools in applying for jobs in industries, non-profit organizations, and the public sector where professional skills take center stage. They provide a concise overview of a candidate's work history tailored to the job being applied for.

Including pertinent details about previous roles demonstrates suitability for the targeted positions while showcasing relevant accomplishments and contributions.

When it comes to gaining an edge over other candidates with similar qualifications and experiences.

Skills and Achievements

Transitioning from work experience to skills and achievements, it's important to note that these sections play a critical role in showcasing qualifications. Skills and achievements are essential components of both CVs and resumes, with the resume including a dedicated section for this purpose.

This section should highlight relevant skills and accomplishments tailored towards the specific job application, emphasizing their direct applicability to the desired role or industry.

Not only do American CVs reflect an individual's professional achievements, but they also underscore how those accomplishments underpin their expertise.

In both documents, tailoring your skillset towards the prospective job is imperative. A resume’s skills and achievements directly support its objective format by highlighting key attributes that align with corporate roles or creative industries—while academic positions or research/scientific roles emphasize details within a comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Highlighting robust accomplishments through quantifiable data in both sections can significantly enhance your document’s impact.

Additional Tips for CV and Resume Writing

Ensure your document is tailored to the specific job you're applying for. Don't forget the critical role a cover letter plays in making your application stand out.

Tailoring Your Document to the Job

When customizing your document to the job, match your skills and experiences to the job description. Highlight relevant achievements and tailor them towards the requirements of the specific role.

Use industry-specific keywords in both your resume and cover letter to make you stand out from other candidates. Research about the company, its culture, and values to align your application with their needs.

Customize each application for each position by adjusting key details such as job titles or skills.

Remember - A customized resume increases job chances by 61%. Employers may highlight whether they require a CV or a resume in the job description.

Importance of a Cover Letter

When applying for a job, including a well-crafted cover letter can significantly boost your chances. A cover letter allows you to express your enthusiasm and showcase specific skills tailored to the role.

It complements the resume by providing a more personal account of your qualifications and desire for the position, aiding in setting you apart from other applicants. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to address any potential concerns or gaps in your resume directly.

Remember that both CVs and resumes benefit from the inclusion of a cover letter - it’s an essential tool in your job application.

Key takeaway: Think of your CV as a detailed autobiography for academic jobs, listing all your research and publications. Resumes are shorter, tailored to each specific job you target, highlighting relevant skills. Cover letters are your chance to connect the dots, showcase enthusiasm, and address anything missing from your main document. The more you customize each application, the better your shot at landing the interview.


In summary, a CV and a resume have distinct purposes and content. A CV is comprehensive, encompassing an individual's career history and academic achievements, while a resume focuses on work experience and essential skills.

Understanding the difference betwween a CV and a resume is crucial when tailoring your application to specific job roles. By grasping the nuances between the two documents, you can strategically present your qualifications according to employer expectations.

It's key for applicants to be well-versed in crafting both formats to effectively showcase their expertise and stand out in the competitive job market. Consider teaming up with a professional resume or CV writer. They know how to use the keywords and achievements that can bypass Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and impress the hiring managers at first glance.

So let your skills and achievements shine through with a perfectly tailored application.


1. What's a resume, and how is it different from a CV?

A resume shows off your skills and experiences in a short, snappy way—usually one-two pages. A curriculum vitae (CV), on the other hand, is much more detailed about what you've done, including all jobs, education, research, and any special projects or achievements.

2. When should I use a resume instead of a CV?

You'll want to use a resume when applying for most jobs in the United States because employers here prefer something brief that tells them quickly why you're right for the job and usually this has to do with the Applicant Tracking System or ATS. Use a CV when you're aiming for positions in academia or research since these fields love lots of detail about what you've accomplished.

3. Can I include my hobbies on my resume or CV?

Yes, but keep it relevant! On resumes where space is tight and every line counts toward making an impression that lands you an interview—only mention hobbies if they show skills or interests directly related to the job you want. For CVs? You have more room to share details about yourself—including hobbies—that paint a full picture of who you are professionally.

4.What kind of information do I need to fact-check on my resume or CV?

Always double-check dates of employment and make sure there aren't any gaps that might raise eyebrows unless you can explain them away smoothly during an interview. Also verify job titles, educational degrees, and certifications are accurate; getting these wrong could be seen as dishonest by potential employers.. Finally, review contact information—for both yourself and references—to ensure recruiters can reach you without trouble.

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