Curriculum vitae
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Resume and curriculum vitae: 10 specific differences between the documents

The terms resume and curriculum vitae (CV) nowadays are used interchangeably. They are however two different types of documents with entirely different uses.

Here are 10 specific differences between a resume and CV with the aim of not only helping you know when to use them but to use them effectively to help you land your dream job.

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10 Differences between a resume and curriculum vitae

1. Length

Resume: Typically, one to two pages in length, focussing on brevity and relevance

Curriculum vitae: Can be multiple pages, providing an extensive overview of academic and professional history

2. Purpose

Resume: Emphasises relevant skills, qualifications, and work experience for a specific job

Curriculum vitae: Offers a comprehensive record of academic and professional achievements, commonly used in academic, research, and scientific fields

3. Content focus

Resume: Highlights skills, accomplishments, and work experiences relevant to a specific job role

Curriculum vitae: Includes detailed information about academic qualifications, research, publications, presentations, awards, and other achievements

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4. Adaptability

Resume: Can be tailored and adjusted for different job applications by emphasising specific skills and experiences

Curriculum vitae: Less adaptable due to its comprehensive nature, making it less suitable for a wide range of job roles

5. Design and formatting

Resume: Often employs creative formatting techniques to enhance visual appeal, such as bullet points, bolding, and italics

Curriculum vitae: Generally, follows a standardised format with less emphasis on creative design

6. Target industries

Resume: Commonly used for non-academic and non-research job applications across various industries

Curriculum vitae: Commonly used in academia, research, medical professions, and certain international contexts

7. Personal information

Resume: Typically includes contact information, a summary or objective statement, and relevant skills and experiences

Curriculum vitae: Includes personal details, education, research, teaching, and publication history in a more extensive manner


8. Professional experience

Resume: Highlights work experience, usually focussing on recent and relevant roles

Curriculum vitae: Includes a detailed chronology of work experience, often including all positions held

9. References

Resume: May list references, but often the phrase “References available upon request” is used

Curriculum vitae: Might include references and recommendations, especially in academic contexts

10. Geographic variation

Resume: The terms “resume” and “CV” are often used interchangeably in the US and Canada

Curriculum vitae: More commonly used and recognised in European and international contexts, maintaining its distinct meaning


Remember that conventions can vary based on region, industry, and specific employer preferences. It’s important to tailor your application materials to the expectations of the job and industry you’re targeting.


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