What you Need to Know About the Differences Between a Resume and CV?

What you Need to Know About the Differences Between a Resume and CV?

A resume is a targeted marketing document that shows you’re the best candidate for an open position. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) does the same thing. So, why do some places want a resume and other places want a CV. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between a resume and a CV.

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary of your career that’s targeted to a specific job. It doesn’t contain everything you’ve ever done in your career life but only the information a company would need to know in order to ascertain if you’re the one they want to hire.

A resume accomplishes this by offering a snapshot of your skills, experiences, education, and career achievements. There are 3 resume formats which are widely accepted:

  1. The Reverse Chronological format is exactly what it sounds like – a chronological listing of your work roles starting with the most recent and working backward.
  2. The Functional Resume focuses on skills rather than work history. Be careful with this one as there is a stigma surrounding its use.
  3. The Hybrid Resume (sometimes called the Combination Resume) format is the best of Function and Chronological put together.
Chronological Resume
Here’s what a reverse chronological resume looks like.

When do I use a resume?

Resumes are accepted for almost all job types in the US, Canada, and Australia. Generally speaking, it’s because these countries have laws that don’t allow employment discrimination, and a CV has more data that provide personal information.

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

The words “curriculum vitae” literally translates to “the course of one’s life.” So, rather than it simply being a targeted summary of career events, it details everything you’ve done during your career. A CV in the United States is often used for people who seek positions as college professors, doctors, researchers, and scientists. This CV is different from the CVs that are accepted in other parts of the world.


Resumes and international CVs should only contain about 10 years of career information.

If you’re using a CV to apply for an academic or scientific role in the US, it should contain all jobs you’ve had since the day you got out of school.

Here’s what a Curriculum Vitae (CV) looks like.

When do I use a CV?

In the United States you’d ONLY use a CV to apply for those academic and scientific roles mentioned previously. Outside the US, you’d use a CV in the place of a resume. In fact, in some countries in Europe using the word “resume” instead of saying “CV” will earn you some awkward glances.

The layout differences between a resume and CV

The information contained in each document is also laid out differently. For example, in a resume the education is usually near the bottom but in a CV it’s nearer the top. You should also never include references, or even mention that they’re available, in a resume. However, you include them in a CV.

The U.S. resume layout 

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Title
  • Professional Summary
  • Skills
  • Experience (usually in reverse-chronological order)
  • Education
  • Awards, Affiliations, and Volunteerism

The International CV

  • Name 
  • Contact information
  • Professional Summary 
  • Academic qualifications (including relevant courses studied, GPA, papers written, and studies performed)
  • Additional training 
  • Skills
  • Languages
  • Software tools 
  • Experience 
  • Achievements
  • Awards and Honors
  • A declaration (“All information is true…”)
  • References

Be sure that you’re sending the right document for the right job. It’d be a shame to be automatically rejected simply because the format of your resume or CV was not what the company expected to receive.