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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 resume vs. a CV 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 spread over two or more pages. A CV will contain a high level of detail about your achievements, education, work experience and any accomplishments that you have achieved. 

This document is organised chronologically and provides the employer with an overview of your full working career. CVs usually remain static for each position, with changes being made in the covering letter.

What is a resume?

A resume, on the other hand, is a concise document. It’s usually no longer than one page. This is because the reader 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 to every position they apply for. It’s important to tailor the document to the requirements of each specific post. 

Also, a resume usually doesn’t have to be ordered chronologically, and doesn’t have to cover your whole career 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 CV’s 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 covering letter. On the other hand, a resume will be tailored to each position. Also, a CV has a clear chronological order which lists the whole career 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 working history. 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, or if they were searching for a research or academic oriented position. 

However, you should use a CV in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand for all purposes. In these countries, resumes aren’t 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 £45.

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