CV vs Resume: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume? Better yet, when should you use a resume and when is it a better choice to use a […]

CV vs Resume: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume? Better yet, when should you use a resume and when is it a better choice to use a CV? The difference between a CV and a resume can be a confusing subject. That’s we will be exploring the difference between a CV and a resume so that you can understand which is best for a particular situation. 

The primary differences between a resume and a CV are what’s included, the length, and what each is used for. While both are used in job applications, a resume and CV are not always interchangeable. Keep reading for a breakdown of the differences between a CV and a resume as well as some tips for writing both!

The Main Differences Between a CV and a Resume

The main differences between a CV and a resume include the document’s contents, length, and purpose. It’s also important to consider which region of the world you’re applying in as well as your career path when deciding which is more appropriate to use in that situation. In the United States, for example, a resume should be a concise collection of your professional experience, qualifications, and skills that are specifically relevant to the job that you are applying for. A CV, on the other hand, presents an in-depth history of your professional and academic credentials and accomplishments. 

Some of the main differences include the following:

  • Experience: CVs are most commonly used to apply for more academic roles or grants, programs, research, and fellowships or perhaps teaching positions. It is possible that you have a CV if you are applying to or have graduated from a doctoral or masters program. Resumes, on the other hand, are used for applying for jobs in either the public or private sectors which are often referred to as “industry positions” in contrast to academic positions.
  • Length: Seeing as a resume includes your qualifications and skills for only a specific role, it should typically be somewhere between one and two pages in length. A CV, on the other hand, will not have a length limit and is typically much longer than most resumes because it includes much more information, including much more detailed descriptions of research, presentations, and coursework. 
  • Geographic location: Finally, in other regions of the world (such as New Zealand and the UK), employers use the term CV to describe both CVs and resume-type documents rather than using the word “resume” at all. In other regions such as India and Australia, the terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably. In the United States, however, a resume and CV are two distinctly different types of documents used for different purposes. 

What is a CV?

A CV, an abbreviation for curriculum vitae (a Latin word meaning “course of life”) is a detailed and comprehensive document which describes the entire course of both your professional and academic accomplishments. CVs are usually formatted in chronological order and start with a description of your educational experience. Although there is no length requirement for a CV, most will range from three to ten pages, with some being even longer. With the more experience that you have, generally, the longer your CV will be. 

What Should You Include on a CV?

Now that you have an understanding of what a CV is, you may be wondering what specific information you should include when you are writing your CV. In most cases, you’ll want to include your career history as well as your awards, education, grants, scholarships, special honors, education, research projects, and publications on your CV. It’s also a good idea to include professional references, fieldwork, and coursework as well as a personal profile that lists your relevant attributes and skills. 

What is a Resume?

Put simply, a resume is a document that is meant to act as a summary of your skills, education, and career history. There are also optional sections that you can include in your resume including a resume objective and a career summary statement. It is important to remember that a resume should be as concise as possible. While a CV can be very lengthy, a resume should be no more than one to two pages long. 

What Should You Include on a Resume?

Typically, a resume will include a professional or “summary” statement, a dedicated skills section, and a condensed description of your recent and relevant professional achievements. These should be listed in reverse-chronological order, starting with your most current job. You may also want to include details surrounding your educational experience, volunteer work, or relevant professional associations. 

When to Use Each Type

Now that you have an understanding of the main differences between a resume and a CV, as well as the basic definition of each, it’s time to figure out how to best determine the right time to use each type. If you’re unsure of whether your employer requires a resume or a CV, you can ask yourself the following questions in order to best determine which document fits the situation best:

  • Where is the company based? Considering that one of the main differences between a CV and a resume have to do with the fact that they are used mainly in different geographic locations, it is important to consider this when deciding which type to use. Depending on where a company is located, “CV” may refer to a standard resume or it may refer to the longer form listed above.
  • What kind of job are you applying for? It is equally important to consider the type of job that you are applying for when deciding between a CV and a resume. If you’re applying for a job in academia (especially as an educator), for example, then you’ll probably need a CV. If you are applying for an industry-level job, however, a resume is likely the best choice. 


  • The main differences between a CV and a resume are length, purpose, and content.
  • Resumes are typically between one and two pages.
  • CVs have no specified length restrictions but are often between three and ten pages.
  • A resume is a concise summary of your professional accomplishments as they are relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • A CV is a comprehensive document that offers in-depth information presenting your relevant academic and professional achievements and are often used when applying for either teaching or research positions. 
  • When deciding whether to submit a resume or a CV, you should consider the job role and the geographic location of the position. 

Create the Perfect CV or Resume With BuzzCV!

Now that you know the difference between a CV and a resume, you’re prepared to use the right one depending on the job role you are applying for. But what’s the easiest way to create the perfect CV or resume? With BuzzCV, of course! Check out our free CV templates today to get started and register as a member for free today

As a member, you’ll have access to:

  • Free CV templates
  • Free Cover Letter Templates
  • Digital CV
  • Digital cover letter
  • Personality test
  • Job search
  • Customer support

And don’t forget to always attach a cover letter to your CV when applying for a job. If you need help writing a cover letter we have the perfect article for you.

Thank you

Rating: 3.8 from 78 people who have rated this

Written by

Max Andresé
Max Andresé
Solid experience in HR and recruitment and a career writer expert. Main focus area is how to write CV's

Try our professional CV-builder

More articles like this