CV vs. Resume: Your Best Foot in the Door

  • By reComparison Contributor
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Difference between CV and Resume

We all start out at the bottom of the food chain and work our way up the ladder of education and career to a level we have in mind for ourselves. We begin by attending school, then going to college and finally graduating, which is usually the end of our academic life. From one end emerges a new beginning, which is a beginning of our career life and we start looking for jobs after graduating from college/university and work our way up to a comfortable salary or power level. A summary of our academic achievements and career is popularly know as CV in Asia and in Europe, while in the United States it's popularly know as a resume.


Definition and Function

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae and “Curriculum Vitae” means “courses of life”. The word “vitae”   means “life” in Latin. The plural of curriculum is often “curriculums”.  On the other hand the term “resume” means to resume negotiations. Each term has a history behind it. A CV's purpose is to give detailed information about candidates, for example: how many grades did the candidate get in college, what was his/her GPA, what was his/her main responsibility in their previous job, and how what have they achieved working there etc... A resume is only a brief description of your academic and work history.

Styles and Global Standard

Resumes can be written in three different styles. The first style is reverse chronicle resume, in which the candidate’s history is in a reverse format, the second one is the functional resume this list candidates history by skill-area or job function. The third is the combination resume, in which chronicle and functional styles are balanced out. While a Curriculum Vitae only has one style, which is the reverse chronological order. Thus when it comes to styles, resume seem to have many different styles. When it comes to global standard resumes which are widely used as the norm in the United States and Canada, the CV is the norm in the rest of the world.


Resumes tend only to be around two pages long. Therefore, they are great way to skim through useless information and get to the bottom line.  If the job is simple and requires little skills, then a resume would be perfect for applying for that job, on the other hand, in the United States, if you were to apply for a job that requires extensive skill sets, such as a doctor, engineer, scientists, veterinarian and the like, you would have to submit a cover letter which is similar to the CV, since a CV describes your skill-sets in more detail, which is crucial for the employer. Thus, your CV allows the employer to get in depth information about your work history and achievements.


  • We all need to get jobs and advance in our careers, resumes and CV are the ultimate guide to our career and educational achievements.
  • CV stands for (Curriculum Vitae) while resume means to resume.
  • Resumes come in three styles; chronological, reverse, and combination, while CV only comes in one style, that is the reverse style. In addition, resumes are widely popular in the United States and Canada, while CV is the standard for the rest of the world.
  • Resumes are great for jobs that don't require detailed information about a person, while for if your were to apply for a job that requires great skills, you would have to submit your curriculum vitae. 

Which is more confusing?
  • CV
  • Resume

Discuss It: comments 5

  • Guest
  • CV Template wrote on February 2011

Great article. Concise and to the point.Thanks for the difference.

  • Guest
  • Physical Therapy Cover Letter wrote on July 2012


The information you shared in the post related to the resume is really very nice and useful to all the people who are in need of it. I have gathered so many facts from which I was unaware.

  • Guest
  • rn resume sample wrote on September 2012

Interesting resource you provided on the resume and CV. I was so much confused between both. Finally got some great information. I appreciate it.

  • Guest
  • Sample CVs wrote on October 2012

This makes a point that both the resume and the CV are different and both has the different paths!!Gathering of the information is pretty well!!

  • Guest
  • catherinalucy wrote on February 2013

I really appreciate your guidance on writing a resume.

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