Is there a difference between CV and resume?

What is the difference between a CV and a resume? My assistant asked. Honestly, my answer at the time was vague. In fact, many tend to assume that the two nouns mean the same thing. So, have you ever wondered why some call it a resume and others a CV, or have you even thought they are the same?

Actually, the difference is in the length, the purpose, and the layout. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages. A CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position, whereas the CV is normally a standard document, and any changes will be in the cover letter.

A CV has a clear sequential order listing the whole career of the individual, whereas a resume’s information can be shuffled around to best suit the applicant. One might say the main difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is intended to be a full record of your career history, while a resume is a brief, targeted list of skills and achievements.

Your resume?

This is the most common document required from job applicants, primarily.

It is a brief summary of your skills, abilities, qualifications, work history, and educational background as a candidate. It might be customized for the specific job opening and may contain only relevant information for the current position.

There are three main resume formats:

  • chronological resume format.
  • functional resume format.
  • combination resume format.


In addition, you may write a creative resume and include graphics, photos, and non-standard resume fonts for it.

Also, it has differences in its structure. For example, you may mention your biggest professional achievements or include an objective or summary section in a resume.

Traditionally, a resume shouldn't be longer than two A4 pages. It’s intended to be short, as a recruiter spends only around 8 seconds skimming an applicant’s resume.

It’s important to adjust a resume for a specific position in order to fit the needs and requirements. If you think that some of your past career experience won’t make any difference to HR, erase it.

Your CV?

On the contrary, this should be a long application document and may be even five pages long. It should cover all the information in-depth, including academic background, research experience, awards, honors, publications, teaching, volunteering experience, and other specific accomplishments.

Commonly, it is used to apply for some academic, educational, governmental, or scientific positions. A CV is used when applying for grants, scholarships, internships, and fellowships. It will come in handy for people working in the medical field as well.

So, to conclude, as was stated, three major differences between CVs and resumes are the length, the purpose, and the layout. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages. A CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages.