What's The Difference Between A CV And A Resume?

Whether you're just getting started in your professional life or making a career change, the process of searching for a job can feel daunting at times.  You're on a mission to present your best self, which means devoting time and energy to a detail-oriented description of your background. As you're formatting and gathering your professional and educational experience to show to potential employers, you may wonder what is the best way to deliver it. According to the University of California, Davis, both CVs and resumes are essential tools in obtaining a job interview. In an era of working from home for employers around the globe, different employers and countries typically prefer one format over the other.

Whenever and wherever you are applying for a position, be sure to check the employer's requirements before deciding which format to use. Doing so will make it easier to land that coveted interview. With a few exceptions in academic settings, resumes are typically used for job openings in the US and Canada, according to The Undercover Recruiter. By contrast, they note the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand prefer CVs almost exclusively. So, what's the difference between these two documents? 

Resumes are focused; CVs are comprehensive

According to the University of California, Davis, CV is short for "Curriculum Vitae." This Latin phrase translates to "course of life." CVs are generally needed for teaching and research positions in academia, or in industry positions. These documents lead with a candidate's education and include a full list of their publications.

Comparatively, Indeed describes a resume as a "concise and curated collection of your professional experience, skills and qualifications" for a specific job. This document is intended to demonstrate how well you fit a particular role. The Undercover Recruiter notes that a resume is all about customization: You may have different versions highlighting distinct parts of your career in order to better fit a job posting. "Resume" is a French term that means "summary," according to University of California, Davis. Resumes are built around a candidate's skills. Unlike CVs, work experience takes the lead in a resume; a candidate's education is mentioned at the end.

While a resume for even a seasoned professional shouldn't go beyond a page or two, CVs can stretch on as long as needed, according to Indeed. CVs are all about detail, so candidates should be prepared to include the particulars of their research and publications in order to make their case for a research role. CVs also display a set chronology, according to The Undercover Recruiter. As you accrue more awards and expertise, this document will continue to grow.