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CV vs Resume: Key Differences & Professional Examples

CV vs Resume: what’s the difference between those two? Find out whether you should write a resume or a CV based on where you live.

Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Career Expert
CV vs Resume: Key Differences & Professional Examples

You’ve probably heard the words “CV” and “resume” more than a few times in your life. Sometimes they’re used to mean the same thing, sometimes not.

What’s the deal, then? Which one should you write?

This guide will show you all you need to know about the CV vs resume difference.

Here’s what you’re about to learn:

  • CV vs resume: which one should you choose
  • Key differences between a CV and a resume.
  • What is the meaning of a CV and a resume.
  • What do a CV and a resume look like. 

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CV vs. Resume: The Difference

If you are here just for a quick summary, here's the CV vs resume difference:

In CVs (curriculum vitae), you list your professional and educational backgrounds in a longer and more detailed manner. It's typically used when applying for academic or research positions. Meanwhile, a resume summarizes your professional and educational experience for the purpose of applying for a job.

Typically, a resume is one to two pages long and highlights your relevant skills and work experiences for a particular job or role. If you're still unsure what's the difference between a CV and a resume, see the full overview below. 

What is a CV?

Here's the definition of a CV: CV is short for curriculum vitae, a Latin phrase that means “the course of [your] life”.

In the United States and Canada, the word CV refers to a long, in-depth document that provides a full picture of a person’s professional and academic achievements. You need to write a CV when applying for grad school, looking for a senior academic position, applying for a scholarship, and so on.

What to Put in a CV:

  1. Contact information
  2. Research objective or personal statement
  3. Education
  4. Professional academic appointments
  5. Books
  6. Peer-reviewed publications
  7. Awards and honors
  8. Grants and fellowships
  9. Conferences
  10. Teaching experience
  11.  Research experience / Lab experience
  12.  Non-academic activities
  13.  Other publications
  14.  Languages and skills
  15. Memberships
  16.  References

There’s no page limit for CVs. Researchers who are just starting out usually have CVs that are 2–3 pages long, while senior academics can easily boast 10-page-long CVs. If you're interested in how to tackle writing a CV, check out the linked guide.

CV Example

Here’s an example of a CV that you can use. To give it that professional look, use one of our CV templates or head straight to the CV builder.

Ella B. Hall

CURRICULUM VITAE

2022/01/25

Ella B. Hall

Lecturer on Applied Linguistics

The State University of New York, Albany, NY

295 Johnson Rd., Corona, NY 11368

551-251-4884

ella.hall@eeemail.com

linkedin.com/in/ellahall.ph.d

EDUCATION

2021 Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

The Department of Modern Languages

Thesis Title: “A Mixed Methods Analysis of Corpus Data from Reddit Discussions of the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Thesis Supervisor: Kenneth M. Hildebrand

2016 M.A. in Applied Linguistics, Graduated Summa Magna Cum Laude 

The City University of New York, NYC, NY

The Department of Modern Languages

Thesis Title: “Using Corpus Methods to Investigate Classroom Interaction”

Thesis Supervisor: James Nutini

PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENTS

Lecturer on Applied Linguistics

The State University of New York, Albany, NY

Department of Modern Languages

2021–Present

Developed 2 undergraduate courses and supervised 3 M. A. theses.

PUBLICATIONS

Books

The Language of the Pandemic. New York: Hill and Wang, 2022.

Book Chapters

"Sociolinguistic approaches to Reddit discussions" In New Challenges of 21st Century Linguistics, edited by Stephen Regan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2022.

"EFL student discourse: a corpus-driven perspective" In Inside the Classroom, edited by Michael Tomaszewski. London and New York: Faber & Faber, 2020.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Conundrum: A Story About Reading,” New England Review 38, no. 1 (2015): 212–230, Project MUSE.

“A Pig That Was in the Icebox,” Verso Magazine 8, no. 4 (2013): 91–109.

AWARDS AND HONORS

2018, PROSE Award for Single Volume Reference in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Honourable Mention

2020, Fulbright / The City University of New York Award in Humanities

CONFERENCES

2022, The Limits of an Institution, International Conference, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain; Paper title: "The Limits of Sociolinguistics."

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Teaching Assistant

University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

2018–2022

LANGUAGES

French: Advanced

German: Intermediate

Arabic: Can Read With a Dictionary

Wondering how to make your academic career look just as impressive? Check out our in-depth guide to writing an academic CV.

What is a Resume?

In North American usage, a resume is a short, usually one-page document you write when applying for most jobs. It’s closely tailored to a specific job opening and presents a selection of your most relevant achievements and best skills.

A perfect resume length is typically one page, unlike the academic CVs that become longer as your academic career progresses. Although, very experienced professionals can opt for two pages.

What to Include on a Resume:

What should you include on your resume when applying for a job? A standard American work resume has the following resume sections:

  1. Resume header with contact Information
  2. Resume summary or resume objective (known as a resume profile)
  3. Work experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional sections, if relevant (Awards, Publications, Certifications, Conferences, Volunteer Experience, or Hobbies and Interests)

Make sure to align your resume closely with the job ad you’re responding to. Find out how to target your resume with absolute precision so that it fits the specific job opening like a glove.

American Resume Example

Here’s a typical resume sample for the American job market:

Steven S. Somerville

Line Cook

Los Angeles, CA 90017

416-992-3060

steven.somerville@eeeemail.com

linkedin.com/in/steve.sommerville.2947 

Summary

Creative line cook with 3 years of experience. Helped create the new seasonal menu at Tornellais, which was voted LA’s best dining experience. Eager to please Pusigno’s customers with exquisite meals and contribute to its excellent reputation.

Work Experience

Line Cook

Tornellais, Los Angeles, CA

March 2018–March 2022

  • Assisted the chef in creating a seasonal menu that was voted LA’s best dining experience by the LA Taste magazine
  • Contributed to the restaurant’s 4.7-star rating on Tripadvisor
  • Strictly adhered to all food safety rules and procedures

Education

Diploma in Culinary Arts

Institute of Culinary Education, Los Angeles, CA

Graduated in 2018

  • Excelled in classes on French and Italian cuisine
  • Successfully completed an externship at Rossoblu

Skills

  • Mediterranean cuisines
  • Seafood preparation
  • Preparing desserts
  • Knife skills
  • Meal presentation
  • Time management
  • Multitasking
  • Teamwork

Certifications

  • California Food Handlers Card

Interests

  • Food photography
  • Hiking

Use our full guide to writing a resume to write one that’s just as good. Pick a resume template to make sure your resume layout follows all best practices, or head straight to our resume builder that will take care of design and formatting your resume.

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CV vs. Resume in a Nutshell

  • A CV is a detailed account of your academic and professional career. It includes everything you’ve ever done, from the very first student conference to your latest academic book. CVs can get very long as your career progresses.
  • A resume only provides information that’s relevant to a specific job opening. Speaking at a conference on historical phonetics is unlikely to be considered a professional accomplishment outside the academic world. A one-page resume is enough for almost everyone, from a rookie candidate to a seasoned pro.

Resume vs. CV in Other Regions

The difference between a CV and a resume is pretty clear in American usage. Though if you’re applying for an international job, you’re probably wondering why they want to see your CV rather than your resume.

In Australia and South Africa, the words CV and resume are synonymous and used interchangeably.

But, in the UK, Ireland, other European countries, and New Zealand, a CV is equivalent to an American resume. It’s a short document used to apply for regular, non-academic jobs. 

Expert Hint: Depending on where you want to work, you’ll have to write a resume, a CV, or… a biodata. This is a document that’s popular in South Asia. It’s similar to a resume, but it includes a lot of personal information: date of birth, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, marital status, and current salary.

So does it mean you write a European CV just like an American resume, then?

Yes and no. While a European CV is very similar to an American resume, some country-specific differences exist.

For instance, British CVs are usually written in the first person,I boosted sales by 30%...

In the US and Canada, it’s more common to write, “Boosted sales by 30%...”

Another thing is the use of photographs on CVs. In some countries, such as Germany, Poland, or Portugal, employers might still expect your headshot on a CV. But in the UK or the US, a picture on a resume or CV will actually hamper your chances of landing the job.

Last but not least: Europeans typically use the A4 paper format, whereas Americans and Canadians traditionally prefer Letter-size documents. The difference between the two formats isn’t dramatic, but it can still mess with your resume (or CV) layout.

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Key Points

Here are the most important items to remember regarding the CV vs. resume difference:

  • In North America, a CV is a longer, more detailed document used for applying for academic posts. A resume is brief and targeted document you submit it for non-academic jobs.
  • In the UK, Ireland, the rest of Europe, and New Zealand, a CV is basically the same as the American resume: a short outline of your work history and skills. The term “resume” is not used.
  • In South Africa and Australia, both CV and resume are used synonymously. There’s no difference between them.
  • In India and other South Asian countries, another document is commonly used to apply for jobs: a biodata. It contains more personal details such as race, religion, family origins, and ethnicity.

Is the difference between a resume and a CV still unclear? Unsure which one to pick? Drop me a line in the comments, and I’ll do my best to straighten out your queries!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

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Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Olga is a career expert with a background in teaching. At ResumeLab, she writes actionable guides to help job-seekers highlight their unique strengths and unlock their career potential.

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