A resume and CV are professional documents that demonstrate one’s qualifications, skills, work experience, and notable achievements. Both are used in a job application to impress potential employers by providing a deeper understanding of the candidate’s skills, experience, and strengths.

Resumes and CVs are important because they are the first direct communication with the employers and serves as an opportunity to showcase an individual’s abilities in an area of concern to prospective companies. Therefore, they should be carefully designed and written to make an immediate positive impact on employers. While the terms resume and CV are most often interchangeably used by both employees and employers, the two documents are different in their meanings, content and use.

Let’s define and explain the two documents in detail and then look into the key points of difference between them.

Definitions and meanings

CV

A CV is the short abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae, a Latin phrase which means course of life. It is a detailed document that highlights the whole academic and professional journey of an individual. CVs include extensive information of an individual including, his personal information, education, work experience, publications, honors, awards, and other achievements, a great deal more than just a career biography.

A CV’s content is typically focused on academic work and research. It is not a situation specific document because it gets updated as the individual’s accomplishments grow in one or more areas.

Resume

A resume is a concise document that provides a summary of an applicant’s career history and accomplishments. The key goal of a resume is to make a candidate stand out from the competition. A good resume showcases the specific skills and contributions an individual has made in his previous work which can be useful for the prospective position. As compared to CV, a resume is highly situation specific document which reveals the potential capabilities of an individual to handle a particular situation or a job position. Resumes are mostly used to apply for jobs in the public or private sector for industry positions where each job requires a specific role.

Difference between CV and resume

The five key points of difference between CV and resume are given below:

1. Basic meanings

The term ‘CV’ is an abbreviation of the Latin word ‘Curriculum Vitae’ that refers to the “course of life” while a resume is a French word that means ‘summary”. Therefore, CVs include more information about an individual’s academic background and skills than resumes.

2. Purpose of preparation

CVs are normally used for research grant applications, postdoctoral ship positions, consulting work, leadership positions, and demonstrating qualifications for an academic or research-oriented work. On the other side, resumes are used for job hunting in both private and public sectors which are referred to as “industry positions” in contrast to academic work. Therefore, a CV is prepared with the purpose to provide in-depth educational and professional information that includes every work experience, awards, publications, skills, and conference presentation from a career. On the other side, a resume is tailored to the specific job and shows only the relevant skills to the recruiting team about the qualification for that job.

3. Length of the document

Although a CV does not have a page limit, it can range from 2 to 10 pages. Generally, more experience or accomplishments means a longer CV. Unlike a CV, a resume should be as shorter as possible to give a quick overview of one’s abilities in specific areas. A resume is typical of one page but depending on the level of professional experience, a description of personal or academic projects can be included provided it remains highly relevant to the position applied for and does not exceed two pages.

4. Content

A CV provides the reader with full educational and professional history that includes every job, academic qualification, research or academic projects, award, grants or scholarship, special honors, and publications. A resume, on the other hand, does not include the history of every job, rather includes a professional summary of relevant and recent achievements. The content of an applicant’s resume written to apply for two different posts in the same organization may vary significantly.

5. Organization of information

CVs are organized in reverse chronological order, with the most recent jobs, education, awards, and publications coming before older ones. Resumes may also be organized in reverse chronological order, but they are highly customized and can be changed from one job application to another to meet the needs of a specific job position.

CV vs resume – tabular comparison

A tabular comparison of CV and resume is presented below:

CV vs Resume
Meaning
A CV stands for Curriculum Vitae which means course of life. A French word which means summary.
Purpose
Used by individuals seeking fellowship, grants, or a high-level position. Used in job hunting, tailored to a specific job.
Length
Can be up to three to ten pages long Maximum one to two pages long
Content
A full educational and professional history. A summary of the most recent qualification, experience, or skill  relevant to a specific job.
Organization
In chronological order starting with the most recent work experience. It can be customized according to the requirements of job requests

Conclusion – CV vs resume

Both CV and resume are important documents that are provided to a prospective employer while applying for a position. When choosing about CV or resume, you are basically concerned with providing the depth i.e., going into details about the work you have actually accomplished towards your career.

In many ways, a CV is a detailed version of a resume with some additional pieces of information but they are not interchangeable and must be used according to the type of job applied for. Whether the applicants are required to submit their CVs or resumes is generally mentioned by the employers in their job announcements.

Having the right document for a job application is critical, and keeping both the options on hand will ensure that an individual is prepared to apply for potential opportunities. Irrespective of the nature of job you are applying for, the document should be professionally drafted and visually appealing because, at the end of the day, you are showcasing who you are.