CV vs. Resume: The Basics You Need to Know


There’s a heck of a lot of confusion swirling around the “CV vs. resume” problem that many job seekers face when they’re on the hunt for a job. Chances are that you’ve come across both terms while you’ve been looking at job postings, and you’re probably wondering…

What’s the difference between a CV vs. a resume, and why should it matter to me?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about the “CV vs. resume” mystery, you’re not alone. The majority of job seekers don’t know the difference between them – but it’s risky to stay unaware!

It’s super important that you know the basics of a CV vs. resume because they have very different purposes. Sending the wrong one (CV vs. resume or resume vs. CV) could lead to your job application being rejected immediately, no questions asked.

You need to know the appropriate time to use a CV and when to use a resume. Here’s a basic breakdown of a CV vs. resume, the differences, and when to use each one correctly.

What’s a CV?

A CV, also known as a Curriculum Vitæ, is an extremely detailed breakdown of your qualifications for employment. It covers topics like your work experience, employment highlights, personal experience, special skills, honors, awards, and other information relevant to your job application in depth.

This document is formatted chronologically and stays the same, no matter what job you’re applying for. A CV is usually two pages or longer in length.

A good CV should give you a detailed idea of a job seeker’s career so far.

What’s a Resume?

A resume is a concise selection of highlights from your qualifications for employment. It covers topics like your work experience, volunteer experience, hard and soft skills, awards, and other information relevant to your job application in brief.

This one-page document is highly customizable. In fact, it’s expected that a job seeker will customize their resume (along with their cover letter and summary) to match the job posting they’re applying for.

You also have a choice of ordering your resume as a chronological resume, functional resume, or something in-between.

A good resume should give you the best and brightest highlights of a job seeker’s career so far.

CV vs. Resume – What’s the Difference?

cv vs resume infographic comparison for job seekers

The biggest difference between the CV vs. resume is how they’re meant to be read. A CV is meant to be poured over because it’s a detailed report of your career so far. On the other hand, a resume is meant to be scanned over, so it’s a quick summary of your career highlights.

CV vs. Resume – Which One Should I Use?

The terms CV and resume are occasionally used interchangeable, but generally speaking, if you’re applying to a job posting in Europe, you need a CV, while in North America, you should apply with a resume.

However, it’s best to take a close look at the job posting to see whether the employer wants to see a CV vs. resume. Make sure you send the right one for your next job application!

Learn More

Your resume is the basic tool every job seeker needs to get hired fast. Resume.com’s easy online resume builder will walk you through creating a resume that you can be proud to show off. Try it out for free today! Don’t forget to check out our job listings where employers post jobs online!

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