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CV vs Resume - What's the big difference between the two?

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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