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Home > Blog: Resumes > CV vs. Resume: What's the Difference?

CV vs. Resume: What's the Difference?

It's a valid question with a bit of a complicated answer. In some parts of the world, such as the UK and Ireland, "CV" refers to the same document we Americans call a resume. You may be familiar with job sites and company career centers that ask you to submit a "Resume/CV" when you apply for a job, which furthers the idea that the terms are interchangeable. But here in the U.S. (and Canada), the formats and content of a CV and resume are vastly different. So if you've been boggled by the difference, here's a clear-cut comparison between the two to relieve any confusion:

  CV Resume
Meaning of Name Latin for curriculum vitae, which means "course of life". AKA resume, which is French for "summary".
Length Two-page minimum; up to 20 or 30 pages if academic, medical, or scientific. One to two pages maximum (in most cases).

Serves as a historical overview of the applicant, rather than just a work history.

Includes entire academic and professional history (relevant or not) plus any personal or extracurricular activities.

Only one version needed to apply for any position.

Brief summaries of relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.

Additional focus on volunteerism or college course work, if applicable.

Targeted specifically for each position being applied for (could result in several versions).

Where It's Used

Primary application for employment in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Also used in the U.S. and Canada for fellowships, grants, academic, medical, or scientific positions.

Primarily used in the U.S. for most professional occupations.


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