See The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Often times, it can be really confusing trying to spot out the difference between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Resume, as most people think these two documents are one and the same thing. There is no point staying confused. They bear different names and also mean different, although similar things. The major difference between a resume and a CV is the length, its content and the purpose.

Although both documents are used for job applications, a resume and a CV are not always interchangeable. This article throws more light on these two documents, to enable you differentiate them with ease.


A résumé (also spelled without the accent) is a written document used by individuals to present their backgrounds and skills with the intent of securing new employment. A typical resume contains a “summary” of relevant job experiences, education, interests and goals, as the french origin implies. It is usually one of the first items, along with a cover letter and sometimes an application for employment, that a potential employer sees regarding the job seeker. It is typically used to screen applicants and often followed by an interview.

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A resume should provide summary of your education, work history, credentials, and other accomplishments and skills. There are also optional sections, including a work objective and career summary statement which can be added to spice it up. Resumes are the most common document requested of applicants in job applications and should be as concise as possible. Typically – a one page long of well packed information will do, although it can be as long as two pages depending on the applicant’s level of experience.

Often time, resumes are written in bullet form to keep the information brief and on point. It comes in different types including chronological, functional, and combination formats. Nonetheless, it is usually adviced to format your document to suit the type of job you are applying for. For instance, you can choose to add page colour to your resume when applying to a media or art company, you can decide to use less serious font styles like Comic Sans MS. But when the document is for a bank application, Times New Roman, font size 12 and single line spacing on a plain white background should be your best bet.



Curriculum Vita (CV)

A curriculum vitae is a written overview of a person’s experience and other qualifications, which include teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors and affiliations. Unlike a resume which is restricted to one or two pages at most, there is no page limit for a CV. The least a reasonable CV should be is two pages, meaning more details are required and every aspect of your work life should be captured your CV.

However, there is something called a Curriculum Vitae summary, it is a one-to-two-page, condensed version of a full curriculum vitae. A CV summary is a way to quickly and concisely convey one’s skills and qualifications. Sometimes large organizations ask for a one-page CV summary when they expect a large pool of applicants, then after the first cut down of the crowd, the applicants are asked to submit their full CV. Therefore, when next you are asked to submit a document for an application, pay attention to which document is required of you, a CV or a resume, and apply appropriately.

I hope you find this post useful and your doubts cleared. Wishing you a successful next application with the right document.

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