CV vs Resume - Key Differences, What They Focus on, and Which One to Use (With Examples)

CV vs Resume... They're technically the same thing aren't they? Not quite. Read on to find out the exact differences and when to use these two seemingly similar job application devices.

What is a CV?

A CV is latin for “curriculum vitae,” which loosely translated means “the course of my life.” In the UK and most commonwealth countries, it is used as a resume is used in North America. In North America, a CV is used in academic and medical careers as a replacement to a resume. It is more comprehensive than a resume, and includes details on education, publications, and other achievements. A CV generally does not change based on the job requirements, whereas a resume does.

A CV is typically used for:

  • Applying for contracts
  • Applying for research positions
  • Applying for post-secondary teaching positions

What is a resume?

A resume is a short document (usually 1-2 pages) that summarizes a persons’ work history, skills, and education in relation to a job they are applying for. It is a highly customizable document used specifically to get a job.


As you can tell, the documents are very similar. Both are used in the context of people seeking to present themselves to potential employers.


The main difference between a resume and a CV is the length, and how targeted the document is for a specific job.

  • Resumes are usually 1-2 pages, whereas CV’s can be up to 20 pages in length
  • Resumes are tailored for a specific job, CV’s are more general.

How does this apply to VisualCV?

We use CV and resume interchangeably at VisualCV because our platform is flexible - You can create a short resume for a job application, or a CV with all of your work history using the VisualCV platform. We invite you to give it a try today!

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