Resume . . . or CV? Students are often confused about the definitions of both of these documents, and students often have questions regarding when it is appropriate to use each.


What is a CV?

CV stands for “Curriculum Vitæ,” which means “course of life” in Latin. This document is very detailed, and can be two pages long. It contains information regarding your education, professional background, publications, honors, awards, etc.  A CV provides a very good overview of your background and accomplishments.


What is a Resume?

A resume (which can also be called a résumé) is a much more concise document. In most cases, it is just one page. The resume is not a place to list of all your accomplishments: rather, its purpose is to provide an overview of your background and skills, and hope that it sets you apart from other applicants. It does not need to include all of your previous positions: only those that your potential employer might find interesting.


What are the differences between a CV and a Resume?

From the above-mentioned definitions, the major differences between a CV and a resume are clear: they vary in length and in purpose.

Additionally, a CV lists your experience in chronological order. A resume, however, can include only what the new company might find useful. In this way, a CV is more like a complete record of your career, whereas a resume is a brief snapshot of your relevant experience.


When do we use each?

The United States and Canada almost exclusively use  resumes. The UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and most of Europe use the CV. (In fact, there is a European Union CV format for applicants to follow.) Germany, however, uses the CV in addition to other required application documents. Australia, India, and South Africa use the words “resume” and “CV” interchangeably. Some say that the word “resume” is more applicable to private sector jobs, whereas a CV is appropriate for public service jobs.

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