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CV vs Resume: What Is the Difference and Which One to Choose

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: What Is the Difference and Which One to Choose

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? Let’s take a closer look at the difference between a CV and a resume.

 

Here’s what you’re about to learn:

 

  • CV vs resume: Which one should you write
  • Why some jobs require a CV and others require a resume
  • How to submit the right document when applying for jobs abroad
  • Key differences between CV and resume.

 

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What is 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 Goes on a CV in America?

 

An American CV contains:

 

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

 

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, Then?

 

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 skills.

 

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

 

What to Include on a Resume in America

 

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

 

  1. Contact Information
  2. Resume summary or resume objective
  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.

 

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.

 

American 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.

 

Whatever you’re writing, our resume & CV builder can do it all.

 

The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.

 

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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: 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!

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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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