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Candidate Help & Advice

The Difference Between a CV and a Resume

Have you ever wondered the difference between a CV and a resume or when to use which one? They both serve the same purpose which is to get you a job. However, it is good to know which one to use in which part of the world to ease your job search process.

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae and it means ‘courses of life’ in Latin. It is a document which is two pages or longer and includes a summary of your educational and professional backgrounds as well as teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, memberships and other details. A CV should be in chronological order and should list both your academic and professional career. In some countries, it is expected to list your birthdate, gender and marital status on your CV.

CV is used mainly in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia for all types of job applications. However, in the US and Canada, it is only used when applying for academic, education, scientific or research positions. Some of the EU countries also have a different CV format called Europass. If you are looking for a job in Europe, you should list your professional and academic experiences according to the Europass CV template.

A resume is, on the other hand, a much shorter document compared to a CV. A good resume is preferably a one page document that summarizes your education and professional experience. The aim of the resume is to make you stand out from the rest of the competition. Generally, the resume reader spends approximately a minute on each resume. Therefore, unlike a CV which is very detailed and long, the resume should be brief and concise and list all of your details in a very high level.

Resume is primarily used in the US and Canada for applying jobs and internships. Since resume is only a page long document, it would be wise to adapt your resume according to different positions you apply, especially if you have a longer work history. Also, there is no strict format rule in resume so you can list your information in whichever format best suits you. I personally recommend a one paragraph summary, educational details and then, professional experience starting from your newest position. Nevertheless, if there is a different format which suits your experience better, you can follow that as well.

As a result, the main difference between a CV and a resume is their length and their format. A CV is a much longer and detailed document compared to a resume and it has a stricter format. Also, in different geographies, they get used for different reasons. Therefore, you should know which one to use where before applying to any positions.