What is the difference between a CV and a Resume?

Job applications are hardly ever complete without a CV or a resume. When either of them is requested for, they can determine your selection for an interview or getting your dream job. Unfortunately, most job seekers find it difficult to differentiate between a CV and resume. More so, they don’t know which to submit when making an application.

This article will not only tell the difference between a CV and a resume but it will also explain what they both mean and when best to use either of them.


CV is an abbreviation for Curriculum Vitae. A curriculum vitae is a detailed document that explains your career journey. It includes your professional and educational background, publications & dissertations, awards, honours, grants and other achievements. CVs are most times organised in chronological order. They are usually well organised and properly written.


The word resume is derived from a French word which means ‘to sum up’. A resume is simply a short and concise overview of an applicant’s history. Recruiters don’t have all the time when looking through thousands of CVs, hence, a resume is needful.

Here is a protip for you:
“Always tailor your resume by following the requirements of the company’s job description.”

5 Differences between a CV and a Resume

  1. A CV is a lengthy description of your career, skills and experience while a resume is a summary of your work experiences, higher qualifications and professional achievements.
  2. A CV can be over 10 pages while resume should not be more than 2 pages.
  3. Except you are told which to use, CVs are mostly used for academic purposes for instance when applying for a job as an educator, teaching assistant or researcher at a college or university while resumes are for other job applications.
  4. A CV is static. It only grows over your lifetime as you add new information about your achievements. Meanwhile, a resume is dynamic. It includes your last 10-15 years of work experience and is customized to suit the particular job you are applying for. So let’s say you are applying for a Research position, you can include that you volunteered as a research assistant and you have good writing skills.
  5. While a CV contains, achievements, education, teaching positions, work experience and projects, publications, awards, research, degrees, presentations, grants, honours, scholarly and professional affiliations. Resumes might only just include work experience, recent educational background, skills or summary statement sections.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that CVs and resumes serve different purposes in different parts of the world. While in the USA and Canada a CV is used only for academic applications, in most European countries, including the UK and Ireland, a CV refers to the short, one-page document you write when applying for a job application. In South Africa, Australia and India, the terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably.

If you are looking to update your CV or resume and need professional cv writing services in Nigeria, try out our Career Support page that gives you access to the latest CV & Cover letter templates in Nigeria that will give you an edge over other job applicants.

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