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Andrew Arkley|February 25, 2014

Resume vs. CV – The Difference Between A Resume And A CV

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Ever wondered why a British person applies with a CV and an American with a resume? They’re not different words for the same thing – in fact, there is more than one difference between a resume vs a CV.

This blog will answer your queries about the difference between resumes and CVs. 

We’ll also tell you whether it is appropriate to use a CV vs resume in the UK, and in other countries around the world.

What is a CV?

A CV, also known as a Curriculum Vitae, is an in-depth document. CVs are typically two pages long. 

A CV will contain a high level of detail about your relevant skills, academic credentials, work experience and any accomplishments that you have achieved. 

This document is organised with a reverse-chronological work history and provides hiring managers with an overview of your full working career.

What is a resume?

A resume, on the other hand, is a concise document. You’ll often see resume examples that are usually no longer than one page. This is because the hiring manager won’t spend much time reading this document.

The goal of a resume is to make you stand out from the crowd when applying for a certain job role.

Job seekers should adapt their resume for every job application. It’s important to tailor the document to the job description, highlighting the skills relevant for the key responsibilities and requirements of each specific post.

Also, a key resume difference is that usually, it doesn’t have to be ordered chronologically, and doesn’t have to cover your whole employment history like a CV does. 

What’s more, a resume is a highly customisable document, which means it can be changed again and again.

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What is the difference between a resume and a cv?

The key differences between CVs vs. resumes are the length, layout and purpose of the two documents.

  • Length – A resume is a brief summary of your experience and skills over one or two pages. A CV is far more detailed and can span well beyond two pages. 
  • Layout – The CV will remain the same for each application, with changes made in the cover letter. On the other hand, a resume will be tailored to each position. Also, a CV has a clear reverse chronological order which lists the whole job history of an individual. The information found on a resume will be shuffled around to best suit the applicant.
  • Purpose – The main difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is intended to show a full record of your professional history and academic achievements. A resume, however, is a brief, targeted list of achievements and skills.

Where should you use a resume vs. a CV?

CVs and resumes are used differently around the world. In the United States and Canada, a resume is the preferred document. 

Americans and Canadians would only use a CV if they were applying for a job abroad. A common exception is for academic positions. If they were searching for a research or academic career then they could use an academic CV – here’s how to write one.

However, you should use a CV in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand for all purposes. In these countries, the resume format is not used at all. 

A CV is also most popular in mainland Europe – there’s even a European Union CV format that can be downloaded and used.

The differences between resumes and CVs: a summary

Now you know more about the difference between a resume and a CV. However, if you’re still stuck on how to write the document you need, we’re here to help.

Check out our CV Writing Service page to see how you can get a professional, bespoke CV – starting from as little as £50.

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