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CV vs Resume: Key Differences [+ Examples]

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Is a CV any different from a resume? Why do some candidates apply with a CV, and others use a resume? Is any of the two actually better than the other? Is resume just another word for CV, and vice versa?

In 5 minutes, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the CV vs. resume difference.

This guide will show you:

  • CV (Curriculum Vitae) definition and sample, and a resume definition and sample.
  • The difference between a CV and a resume compared.
  • When to use a CV and when to use a resume when applying in the US or Canada.
  • What CV stands for outside of North America and what document to use when applying internationally.

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

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Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.

CV vs. Resume: Regular Job Resume Example

Mason Campbell

Business Analyst

123-456-7890

mason.campbell@email.com

linkedin.com/in/mason.campbell

Summary

Certified Business Analyst with 5+ years of experience. Seeking to help Cloud Creation lower its operational costs by leveraging data-driven decision-making and project management abilities. Reduced costs by 20% at Bloom Beverages by implementing a new strategic approach to budgeting.

Experience

Business Analyst

Bloom Beverages, Denver, CO

June 2016–Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Conducted in-depth data analysis to drive process improvements, boosting productivity by 15%.
  • Streamlined financial reporting processes, reducing the budgeting cycle from 6 to 3 months.
  • Presented technical information to non-technical audiences.
  • Created PowerPoint reports for key stakeholders.

Key Achievement:

  • Reduced costs by 20% by implementing a new strategic approach to budgeting.

Business Analyst

Pulse Productions, Denver, CO

January 2014–May 2016

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

  • Designed and implemented operational improvements to increase efficiency.
  • Liaised between business and technical personnel to ensure a mutual understanding of processes and applications.
  • Created monthly reports on market trends.

Key Achievement:

  • Led a project team that redesigned the company’s data input system, improving accuracy by 18%.

Education

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

University of Colorado, Denver, CO

August 2009–May 2013

Skills

  • Data Analysis: Proficient in analyzing and interpreting complex datasets to uncover valuable insights and trends.
  • SQL: Experienced in querying and manipulating databases using SQL to extract and transform data efficiently.
  • Python: Skilled in Python programming language, utilizing its versatility to develop data analysis scripts and automate tasks.
  • Project Management: Well-versed in managing projects, coordinating resources, and ensuring timely delivery of objectives.
  • Communication: Excellent verbal and written communication skills, effectively conveying information and collaborating with diverse stakeholders.
  • Team Leadership: Proven ability to lead and motivate teams, fostering a collaborative and productive work environment.
  • Decision Making: Strong decision-making capabilities, utilizing critical thinking and analytical skills to make informed choices.
  • Problem Solving: Adept at identifying and resolving complex problems, employing a systematic and logical approach.

Certifications

  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), International Institute of Business Analysis, 2014

Awards

  • 2016, Analyst of the Year, Bloom Beverages

Memberships

  • Member of the International Institute of Business Analysis since 2014

Languages

  • English—Native proficiency
  • Spanish—Intermediate proficiency

Interests

  • Organizing monthly meetup events for Denver's local Business Analyst community.
  • Reading and summarizing business books for my LinkedIn followers.

If you're just looking for the bottom line, here it is:

The Key Difference Between a CV and a Resume

A resume is a one- to two-page document presenting key facts about your professional experience, educational background, and skills. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a longer document that details the whole course of your career. A resume is used for job search, and a CV—for academic purposes.

The difference between a CV and a resume

Not quite clear? See the detailed overview of a CV versus a resume below:

What Is a CV?

A CV (short for Curriculum Vitae—course of life in Latin) describes your whole career. It’s usually 2–3 pages long but can be over 10+ pages if necessary. A CV presents your education, professional career, publications, awards, etc. It’s used in the USA and Canada only for academic applications.

To see what it looks like, check out the CV example below:

Curriculum Vitae Sample

sample cv templatesAs you can see, what goes on a CV is very detailed and comprehensive: many sections, no bullet points, just plain text (after all, CV meaning is a course of life, no wonder it’s that long!).

Below you’ll see a full list of sections you may use when writing a CV:

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

Before we show you a full resume/CV comparison, let’s quickly define résumé.

Read more: What Is a CV? Meaning & Definition

What Is a Resume?

A resume (or résumé, from French “to sum up”) is a short, concise document used for job applications in the US and Canada. The purpose of a resume is to provide recruiters with a brief overview of the candidate’s work history. A good resume should be targeted at a specific job and be 1–2 pages long.

Have a look at the below example made with our builder in US resume format. The difference between a resume and a CV is clear, isn’t it?

American Resume Sample

A comparison of the differences between a basic resume and a visually appealing, professionally-formatted resume created using the Zety resume builder, featuring the Cubic resume template with a sleek, full-color header section and a two-column layout that presents the candidate's contact info and proficiencies on the right-hand side of the document.
A comparison of the differences between a basic resume and a visually appealing, professionally-formatted resume created using the Zety resume builder, featuring the Cubic resume template with a sleek, full-color header section and a two-column layout that presents the candidate's contact info and proficiencies on the right-hand side of the document.

What should be on a resume, then?

  1. Contact information including job title
  2. Resume summary or resume objective
  3. Work experience
  4. Education section
  5. Skills section
  6. Additional resume details (awards, courses, resume publications, licenses and certifications, personal interests, etc.)

So now you know how should a resume look, but before we move on, a technical thing that confuses many job seekers: How to type a resume? Although originally spelled “résumé” in French, in English both forms—”resume” and “résumé”—are correct.

If you want to learn more about how to write a job-winning resume, switch over to: How to Make a Resume for a Job (Samples & a Writing Guide)

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and our resume checker will tell you exactly how to make it better.

What Is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

The difference between a CV and a resume lies in the length, layout, and purpose of these documents. A CV has no length limit and details the whole course of the candidate’s academic career. A resume summarizes skills and work experience and is typically one to two pages long.

CV Versus Resume: Comparison

Now, let’s analyze the differences between a resume and a CV in more detail:

  • Length—it’s the primary and most obvious distinction between the two. A CV is longer—it might be two or three pages (in fact, there’s no page limit), depending on your experience, while a resume is typically one page long.
  • Layout—a CV is an in-depth description of your academic and professional experience, while a resume is a brief document highlighting your professional experience.
  • Purpose—a CV is used to apply for academic positions, while a resume allows you to apply for any job in any industry. 

Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume: International Differences & When to Use Which

The resume/CV meaning differences pertain only to the United States. In other countries, the term resume either doesn’t exist or is used as a synonym for CV:

  • In all of Europe and New Zealand, the term CV is a synonym for the US resume: a short, targeted document you use to apply for jobs. There’s no such thing as a “resume” there. There are only minor, region-specific differences between a New Zealand or European CV and an American resume. 
  • In Australia and South Africa, “Curriculum Vitae” and “resume” are synonyms that can be used interchangeably. Both words stand for a brief, one- to two-page document.
  • In South Asia, job seekers might need to use a slightly different document: a biodata. It’s a document containing more personal, “biographical” data (hence the name): date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, and salary. It’s commonly used in India and Bangladesh. However, if a South Asian employer asks you for a “resume” or a “CV” specifically, don’t send over a biodata format. Go for a document that follows the American resume rules.

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

Resume vs CV differences 
and when to use which documentHere’s all you need to know about the resume/CV differences and when to use which document:

  • If you’re applying for a job in the US or Canada, write a resume: keep it short and customize it to match the job ad.
  • For academic positions in North America, write a Curriculum Vitae: include every detail related to your academic or professional career.
  • When applying for jobs in Europe or New Zealand, you’ll need to submit a document called a “CV”, but a European CV is in fact almost identical to an American resume.
  • In Australia and South Africa, “CV” and “resume” are synonyms: both refer to a short document; an equivalent of the US resume.
  • In South Asian countries, “CV” and “resume” mean the same thing as in America, but for job-seeking, you’ll often need to submit a biodata.

I hope this article helped clear up the differences between CVs and resumes. If you're still not sure whether to choose a resume or a CV, leave a comment. We'll answer all your CV vs. resume questions!

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This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

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Michael Tomaszewski, CPRW
Michael is a career expert and a Certified Professional Resume Writer. With his extensive knowledge of the job market, he provides practical advice and strategies for navigating the recruitment process and advancing your career.
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