Is a resume the same as a CV?

Andrew Fennell Andrew Fennell

If you’re looking for a job, then you probably know that you need to write a CV… Or maybe a resume.

If you aren’t sure what the difference between a CV and resume is, then this can be a little confusing.

The truth is that they are 2 terms that are used to describe the same thing by different parts of the world – with only very subtle differences between them.

But fear not, this article will tell you everything you need to know about CVs and resumes, along with which one you will need to write, if you want to land your dream job.


Is a resume the same as a CV


What is a CV?

A CV is a written document used by job seekers to list their skills, knowledge and experience and send to employers when applying for jobs. CV stands for Curriculum Vitae (which means course of life in Latin) and the term CV has been around since the 1400’s.

The term CV is used in the UK, mainland Europe and Asia.


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What is a resume?

A resume is also a written document used by job seekers to showcase their skills, knowledge and experience when applying for jobs. However, the term resume is fairly new, having only been around within the last 100 years.

The term resume is used by the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


What is a CV


What is the difference between a CV and resume?

Overall, there are no big differences between a CV and a resume. They are just 2 different terms being used to describe the same document by different global regions. Whilst there may be some subtle style differences from country to country, the core information, layout and purpose of a CV and a resume are the same.

Also, recruiters and employers will not care if you call yours a CV or resume – as long as you have highlighted the skills and experience they are looking for.




Countries used in UK, mainland Europe and Asia USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Length 1-2 pages 1-2 pages (often 1 page only)
Information included ·       Profile

·       Work experience

·       Education

·       Hobbies (optional)

·       Profile/summary

·       Work experience

·       Education

·       Hobbies (optional)

Style ·       Written document

·       Simple layout

·       No photograph

·       Written document

·       Simple layout

·       Photo sometimes included


What is an American CV?

Just to make things a little more confusing, Americans use the term resume, but they sometimes use the term CV when applying to academic jobs, like researchers and lecturers.

An American CV has the following differences to their standard resume.

  • They are longer – often spanning 3-4 pages
  • They contain more information – with lots of detail around the candidates research and publications and education.


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What is the purpose of a CV or resume?

The ultimate purpose of your CV or resume is to land the jobseeker an interview with the company whose job they are applying for.  This is achieved by providing a pleasant reading experience and highlighting the most relevant skills and knowledge for the target job.

When writing your own CV or resume, your main focus should be trying to highlight your most relevant talents in relation to the job you are applying for.


How to layout a CV

When writing a CV use the following layout, to provide recruiters with the information they need.


CV layout


  • Name and contact details – Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you.
  • CV profile – A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you’re a good match for the role.
  • Core skills list – A snappy, bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills.
  • Work experience – A structured list of your work experience in reverse chronological order.
  • Education – A summary of any relevant qualifications or professional training you’ve completed.
  • Hobbies and interests – An optional section, which should only be used if your hobbies are relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.


How to layout a resume

Include the same section as you would in a CV to layout a resume; name and contact details, profile (sometimes called “summary”, work experience, education, hobbies)


How to format a CV or resume

When formatting a CV or resume, keep it simple and professional to create a slick looking document that can be quickly digested by hiring managers.


CV format


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  • Length: Recruiters will be immediately put off by lengthy CVs – with hundreds of applications to read through, they simply don’t have the time! Grabbing their attention with a short, snappy and highly relevant CV is far more likely to lead to success. Aim for two sides of A4 or less.
  • Readability: Help out time-strapped recruiters by formatting your CV for easy reading. Using lots of bullet points and lists will help them to skim through your info, while clearly formatted headings will allow them to navigate towards the content which is most useful to them.
  • Design: It’s generally best to stick to a simple CV design, as funky or elaborate designs rarely add any value to your application. A clear, modern font and a subtle colour scheme work perfectly and allow your skills, experience and achievements to speak for themselves.
  • Avoid photos: Ditch logos, images or profile photos. Not only do they take up valuable space, but they may even distract recruiters from your important written content.


CV VS resume

A resume is simply another word for CV. The term CV is used in the UK and mainland Europe, whereas “resume” is used in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

They both have the same essential sections and follow the same rules for length – Both also should be basic and simple in colour scheme and font. In conclusion, try not to worry too much about what you call your CV/resume, instead focus on highlighting why you are the best person for the job. You can see more CV writing tips here.


Example CV

Here is an example CV to show you how a CV or resume should look. Check out 100s more example CVs here.

Example CV