Curriculum Vitae vs Resume: The Differences And When To Use Which (2022)

Usually when a job application demands a curriculum vitae, often referred to as CV (Curriculum Vitae) and maybe another asks for a résumé, confusion might set in. You’d probably be wondering, what’s the difference between a curriculum vitae vs resume?

Is it possible that they mean the same thing? Or are they two different terms that people use interchangeably? Is it possible to submit both for a job application? All these and many more, we would address in this article.

Is CV, the same thing as a résumé?

Find out!

The answer to the above question is unequivocal NO!

The fact that curriculum vitae (CV) and a résumé have a lot of things in common and almost similar in many aspects, does not rule out the fact that they are two entirely different documents.

A look at their structure and different usage will show you how distinctly different they are. Although, both documents detail your accomplishments and credentials.

What is Curriculum Vitae?

CV Template

1. Name   2. Contact Information   3. Professional Summary   4. Highlights   5. Awards   6. Accomplishments   7. Professional Experience  8. Publications   9. Conferences/Workshops Attended   10. Languages   11. References  

By the way of definition, CV is abbreviated from the Latin word Curriculum Vitae, which is translated to mean “the course of your life”.

A CV is a step by step detailed document describing one’s career journey, with all the necessary personal information contained therein. It is equally considered a comprehensive description of every major task you have carried out that had a huge impact on your life, all the achievements you feel great about, and every publication that has your name stamped on it.

People update their CVs every time they feel they’ve accomplished something new academically or professionally. From a new job to something they newly published, when they obtain a new certificate, etc., the list goes on.

Also Read: Professional Resume Writing Basics and Nanny Resume Samples 2022

What is Résumé?

Resume Template

1. Name   2. Contact Information   3. Profile   4. Highlights   5. Education   6. Professional Experience   7. Technical Skills   8. Certification

A résumé is usually short, straight-to-the-point, and detailed. It is often created chiefly for the purpose of applying for a specific job.

In a résumé, only the required information is supplied, with mentions of the aspects of one’s work experience and skills that are relevant to the job they currently applying for.

A resume emphasizes the individual’s specific contributions made in previous work and also showcases how their different skills can be an added advantage for the position they are trying to fill.

A résumé is usually accompanied by an attached cover letter which expresses the individual’s intention for seeking to fill the position.

The cover letter only throws more light on the skills and experience mentioned in the resume, explaining how they will help the applicant excel at the job that they’re applying for.

Having established what each document means, let’s see their differences.

The Differences Between A Resume And A CV

Here are the major differences and similarities between a CV and a résumé.

First, one difference between a résumé and a CV lies in each document’s length and the ability of the individual to customize each to suit their purpose per time.

Unlike a CV, résumés are kept as short and concise. In most cases, employers demand something not more than 1 page. For most people, who have garnered many years of working experience, let’s say 15 years or more and they strongly believe that the extra information they hope to mention will add extra value to their application, the advice is to keep it two pages max. This is because employers may not have all the time in the world to go through an application that is more than two pages.

So for a résumé, endeavor to keep it as concise as possible, ideally only one to two pages, but a CV can run several pages in length. This is because a CV should contain more information than a résumé.

Secondly, the two documents differ in usage as it pertains to the individual’s work experience and career type. Often times, CVs are mostly used by individuals in the academic field. For these categories of people CVs are usually required if they are applying for a doctoral or masters program, or if they are applying to work as a professor or researcher at an academic institution.

The third difference here is the ability to customize a résumé. You can only update the information contained in your CV and continually add new information as you progress in your professional career, but the information therein will not change. Unlike a CV, a résumé is often tailored to outline specific skills or experience relevant to the position or career. CVs are static and résumés are not.

Another difference is the regional factors. It is important to note that geographical factors can determine the usage of either document, it also determines the content and structure of each document.

This advice is important, considering the fact that curriculum vitae in one country or region may mean something different in another country, say the U.S. for instance.

In any other place curriculum vitae may be a one-page document that looks almost like résumés. But in the U.S., a CV is regarded as multiple pages detailing the history, sort of, of an individual. It’s like a comprehensive documentary of their career life and achievements.

Again, résumés detail relevant job experience, specifying what duties the individual performed and how the job experience has equipped them for the one they are applying for.

Both documents are carefully customized to fit the individual’s needs on each job application they apply for.

Additionally, a curriculum vitae reflects an individual’s career and achievements. While a résumé focuses more on their skillset and abilities.

The Similarities Between A CV and A Resume

A curriculum vitae and a résumé are not so different– both documents describe what an individual has done and how that has equipped them for the current job they are applying for. There are also many similar ways to prepare each of these documents.

Our experts advise that it is very wrong for applicants to submit a CV that concentrates more on the responsibilities than their achievements.

If for instance, as a delivery man your responsibilities were to pick up deliveries, explain how long it took you to pick up those groceries and mails, state how well it went, and what role your job played in the overall success of your organization.

Both curriculum vitae and résumés reflect an individual’s communication and writing proficiency. Hence, the need to rid them of grammatical errors. Neither of them should include lies that you believe will boost your career prospects and chances of securing the job.

Differences Between Resume And CV Based on Location/Region

Outside the United States, the word résumé is generally regarded as a CV. This has led to some international confusion, which we hope to clear up in this section.

The United Kingdom and Europe

In most European countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, “curriculum vitae” refers to the short, one-page document you write for a job application. Résumé is a rare term but is still understood by most hiring managers.

CVs for academic positions are also called CVs in Europe. However, you might hear them called academic CVs since it makes the meaning clearer.


Canadian businesses uses résumé in the same way as American companies, likely due to Canada’s proximity to the US. Similarly, a CV is used to apply for academic posts.


In Australia, résumés and CVs are both used to apply for jobs. Résumés tend to be one page, summarizing the main highlights of your career, while CVs are around two to three pages and outline all of your professional experience.

New Zealand

Similar to Australia, a résumé is usually one page and a curriculum vitae is two to three pages long in New Zealand. Both are used to apply for jobs.

You might need to create both since employers will either ask for one or the other.

When to Use a CV or a Résumé

If you have doubts as to whether an employer requires a resume or CV for that job you’re applying, then I’d advise you to ask yourself the following questions in order to determine the appropriate document.

What career type are you applying for?

If you’re putting in an application for a job in academia, especially as a lecturer, teacher, teacher assistant, or researcher at a college or university, then you should know that what you need is a CV. Some of these higher institutions of learning give stipulated guidelines for what to include in your CV, so ensure you check the school’s website for all the necessary information before you apply.

Where is the organization located?

Where the organization or company is located may determine whether you should submit a CV or a resume. Depending on the location or region a CV may be a standard resume or the highly detailed document that highlights all your career and achievements.

So, to determine which is appropriate to send, first consider the career/job type and location. If it’s for a job in academia or for a research position, the organization is likely to ask for a traditional CV.

However, if you’re still in doubt about which to send, contact the recruiter or hiring manager and seek clarifications.

Finally, if you have a CV and do not have a résumé, it is important to put one together. CVs are generally more detailed with the constant addition of new information, so it is much easier to create a résumé from a CV, considering the fact that it’s usually shorter and more concise.

It is important to have the right document for a job application and to keep both documents on hand. This will ensure topnotch preparedness beforehand, no matter which of them the employers request.

What you will find in CVs

  • Full name
  • Contact information
  • Professional title
  • Résumé Summary or Résumé Objective
  • Research interests
  • Education
  • Publications (academic papers, articles books, etc.
  • Teaching and/or lecturing experience
  • Work experience
  • Conferences/Courses
  • Skills
  • Certificates
  • Languages Proficiency
  • Grants of fellowships
  • References

These are typically what you’d find in curriculum vitae. Now, let’s see the content and structure for résumés.

What you will find in Résumés

  • Full name
  • Job title (that is the title of the position applied for)
  • Contact information
  • Resume Summary (usually referred to as Objective)
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Relevant skills
  • Languages Proficiency
  • Relevant certifications and/or interests
  • Hobbies

Those are the information usually contained in résumés.


Now, let’s do a quick recap of all that we discussed.

  • A résumé is usually a one or at most two page summary of work experience and background relevant to the job being applied for. While on the other hand, a CV is a much longer academic history that highlights all your work experiences, certificates, and publications.
  • Résumé is one or two pages, while CV is longer.
  • Résumé is used for job hunting in all industries, while CVs are used for jobs and admissions in Academia
  • Résumés are customized to meet specific job requirements, while CVs are more comprehensive.


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