Resume versus CV - Know the difference!

You might have come across the terms Curriculum Vitae or simply, CV and resume being used while applying for job positions. Most people tend to confuse the two while many others think that they mean the same. This can't be further from the truth! CVs and Resumes are pretty distinct in many ways.

Resume versus CV


What is a Resume?

Resumes are short and concise documents containing necessary information concerning related job experience and education as well as those skills required for the job. Thus it's a summary of your work and academic history as well as your credentials.


It is to be written in reverse chronological order with your most recent and related job position at the top and previous ones following it. Only skills related to the job you're applying to are to be specified in a resume along with the responsibilities you have handled before.


It needs to have a resume objective or summary in the beginning. Depending on you how well you've fared academically or at work, either can come first after which you need to mention your skills. A resume can't be more than 2 pages long.


Also, a resume should be tailored to the organisational requirements. Employers from different companies may not have the same expectations from candidates. So, considerable effort must be made to modify the resume to fit the needs of the recruiter. This means that you'll probably need to make different resumes for different job applications.


What is a Curriculum Vitae?

In case of Curriculum Vitae, we include academic as well as professional achievements. It's a lengthier document and contains every detail connected to your academic background, teaching experience, projects handled, awards and honors, publications, degrees etc.


CVs are prepared in chronological order and must contain a list of all your achievements and education history. It shouldn't be summarized into a single page. CVs can extend till a few more pages and must contain particulars regarding your educational background, areas of interest, fieldwork, lab experience, fellowships and grants, courses completed, professional certifications, references, theses, memberships and the like.


So it's more inclined towards detailing your education as well as your accomplishments. It's not a career biography like resumes and hence can be presented over three or more pages.


A CV is a static document. Unlike a resume, it needn't be tailored to the needs of the employer. This is because it's an in-depth document containing every single detail regarding your academic and work history which can't undergo any change. Any difference will have to be made only in the cover letter where you'll have to state your objectives.  


When to use them?


CVs and resumes cannot be used interchangeably. There are certain countries where only resumes are used whereas there are some others that rely only on CVs. But the same templates can be used for both.


USA, Canada use resumes while the Middle-East and European countries like Greece, Denmark, UK, Ireland, etc.  primarily use CVs.  Photographs are a requirement on CVs in EU countries.

In India, Australia and South Africa, both are used according to the type of the job. Resumes are used while applying to private companies while CVs are used in the case of job positions listed by public organisations. A CV is also used when applying for academic or research positions.

Thus, CVs are mostly used when you're applying for international, academic, research, medical or scientific positions as well as for fellowships and grants.


All these set resumes and CVs apart, so next time you overhear any of these terms, make sure that you're able to differentiate between the two!