Differences between a CV and a resume

Are CV and resume the same thing? Not really, although the names are often used interchangeably. Learn the actual differences and similarities between a resume vs CV and delve into the examples.

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By Jagoda Obszarska, Senior Content Editor, TranslatorLast Updated: April 18, 2024
CV vs resume

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The main difference between a resume and a CV lies in their length, content, and usage. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a comprehensive document detailing academic and professional qualifications, commonly used in British English. On the other hand, a resume is a concise summary of relevant work experience and skills, primarily used in American English but also recognised in the UK.


What is a Resume?

A resume is a brief document that sums up your relevant work experience, skills, education, and achievements, all tailored for a specific job you're applying for. Think of it as your professional highlight reel, usually just one or two pages long. It's your chance to show employers why you're perfect for the role and grab their attention quickly. A good resume makes it easier for employers to see why you're a great fit for the job, hopefully leading to an interview!

6 Key Differences between CV and Resume in 2024

The key difference between a CV template and a resume lies in its length, purpose, and content. Knowing these differences can help you ace your job hunt:

  • Purpose

    CVs are commonly used in academic, research, and scientific fields, as well as for comprehensive job applications where a thorough overview of qualifications is necessary. Resumes are tailored for specific job applications, highlighting relevant experiences and skills directly applicable to the role.

  • Length

    CVs are typically longer, laid out over multiple pages to provide comprehensive academic and professional background details.

    Resumes are shorter, usually limited to one or two pages, focusing on relevant work experiences and skills.

  • Content

    CVs include detailed information about education, work history, research projects, publications, and more.

    Resumes emphasise relevant work experiences, skills, achievements, and qualifications related to the job.

  • Format

    CVs typically follow a chronological format, listing academic qualifications and work experiences in reverse chronological order.

    Resumes can follow various formats, including chronological, functional, or combination styles, depending on the applicant’s preferences and career goals.

  • Customisation

    CVs provide a comprehensive overview of an individual’s qualifications and experiences, often requiring updates and adjustments for specific job applications.

    Resumes are highly customisable and should be tailored to each job application to highlight the most relevant qualifications and experiences effectively.

What is a curriculum vitae?

A Curriculum Vitae, often called a CV, is like a detailed story of your academic and professional journey. In Britain, it’s standard to include sections like personal summary, education, work history, projects, publications, and awards.

Think of it as your ultimate tool for showing off your skills and expertise. CVs are widely used in the UK, especially for academic and research roles, or when you want to give employers a thorough look at your qualifications.

Compared to resumes, CVs are longer because they cover your entire career path in detail.

What to include on a Resume?

Find out what sections should be included in your resume. We have added examples of each of the components of a resume to help you learn how to write a good resume that will lead you to a job.

  • Personal Information

    Include your full name, address (optional), phone number, and email address.


    Joanna Dylan
    246A Lawrence Drive
    Bradford BD7 4PP

  • Personal Statement or Objective

    This short paragraph at the top of your resume should introduce a recruiter to your professional profile. Write about your experience, skills and career goals.


    Advertising and marketing professional knowledgeable about consumer preferences and patterns. Thorough in tracking market trends, competitor activities and consumer behaviour to create highly successful campaigns. Experienced across industries and channels. Seeking a challenging role in a dynamic marketing team.

  • Education

    List your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent degree or qualification.

    Include the name of the institution, degree or qualification obtained, dates attended, and any relevant academic achievements.


    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science
    University of Manchester, Manchester
    September 2016 – June 2019
    Achieved First-Class Honours
    Dissertation: “Machine Learning Algorithms for Predictive Analysis”

  • Work Experience

    Provide details of your relevant work experience, including job titles, company names, dates of employment, and key responsibilities and achievements.

    Use bullet points to highlight specific accomplishments and skills gained in each role.


    June 2023 – Present
    Digital Marketing Manager
    Future Marketing Agency, London

    • Developed and implemented digital marketing strategies for clients, resulting in a 30% increase in online sales.
    • Managed a team of three marketing executives, providing training and guidance on campaign execution and optimisation.
    • Developed cohesive marketing strategies, identifying macro trends, opportunities and challenges to deliver successful campaigns.
  • Skills

    Highlight your key skills and competencies relevant to the job you’re applying for.

    Include both hard technical skills and transferable soft skills.



    • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
    • Google Analytics certified
    • Fluent in Spanish (written and spoken)
  • Additional Sections

    Depending on your background and experiences, you may include additional sections such as certifications, awards, volunteer work, or professional affiliations.


    Additional information

    • Certification

      • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
      • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification
    • Volunteer Work:

      • Volunteer Tutor, Local Community Centre (2021-2023)
      • Fundraiser, Charity X (2022-present)

CV vs Resume: Similarities

Although CVs and resumes have notable differences, they also share some similarities in their purpose, structure, and content. Understanding these similarities can help you create effective job application documents:

  • Purpose

    Both CVs and resumes aim to present your qualifications, experiences, skills, and achievements to potential employers.

    They aim to show why you’re a good fit for a particular job and convince employers to invite you for an interview.

  • Structure

    CVs and resumes typically have a structured format with sections like personal information, education, work experience, skills, and additional sections.

    Both documents are organised to highlight your most relevant qualifications and experiences, making it easy for employers to see your suitability for the job.

  • Content

    CVs and resumes include similar information such as education, work experience, skills, certifications, and awards.

    Both emphasise your achievements and successes, showing you’re capable of excelling in the role.

    They’re customised for each job application, with content chosen to match the job requirements.

  • Customisation

    CVs and resumes should be tailored for each job application to highlight the most relevant qualifications and experiences.

    Both require attention to detail and careful selection of content to effectively showcase your skills and achievements.

Create my CV

What to include in a CV?

Here’s a comprehensive guide on writing your CV sections:

  • Contact details

    Include your full name, address, phone number and email address. You might be surprised how many people forget to add this information. Make it easier for recruiters to contact you!


    Owen Glen
    35 Clipton Close
    Birmingham B2 9TG

  • Personal statement

    Just like in your Resume, a personal statement is a brief summary highlighting your career objectives, key skills, and what you can offer to the employer.


    Multi-skilled Engineering Manager with experience in lifecycle project coordination. Builds constructive supplier and stakeholder relationships for productive operations. Leads and motivates teams to achieve targets and deliver high-quality output.

  • Work experience

    Include details of your relevant work experience, including job titles, company names, dates of employment, and key responsibilities and achievements.


    July 2022 – Present
    Mechanical Engineer
    Lightning Ltd, London

    • Demonstrated best practices in technical measurement and assembly to uplift output quality.
    • Led project scheduling and budgeting to successfully complete engineering projects within target parameters.
    • Recorded project spending and progress to enable performance evaluations.
  • Academic experience

    Depending on the role you’re seeking, your CV might include the academic experience section. Include any relevant academic experiences, such as internships, research projects, or academic positions


    Research Assistant
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of London
    September 2022 – May 2023
    Conducted research on the performance of composite materials in aerospace applications, contributing to a published research paper in the Journal of Mechanical Engineering.

  • Education

    If you write an academic CV, the education section might be one of the most extensive ones on your document. List your academic qualifications in reverse chronological order, including degrees, diplomas, and relevant certifications.

    Include the name of the institution, degree obtained, dates attended, and any relevant academic achievements.

    Example for a CV:

    Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Mechanical Engineering
    University of London, London
    September 2017 – June 2021

    Example for an academic CV:

    Master of Science (MSc) in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering)
    Imperial College London, London
    September 2020 – September 2023

    • Specialisation in Structural Engineering with an emphasis on advanced structural analysis and design principles.

    • Dissertation Topic: “Seismic Retrofitting of Reinforced Concrete Structures”

      • Explored innovative retrofitting techniques for enhancing the seismic performance of existing reinforced concrete buildings.
      • Utilised structural analysis software to assess the efficacy of various retrofitting strategies.
      • Presented research findings at the Structural Engineering Conference, receiving commendation from industry experts.

    Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Mechanical Engineering
    University of London, London
    September 2016 – June 2020

    • Awarded First-Class Honours

    • Dissertation: “Optimisation of Wind Turbine Blade Design for Increased Energy Efficiency”

      • Undertook comprehensive research on wind turbine blade design, encompassing aerodynamic analysis and materials selection.
      • Formulated innovative design modifications resulting in a 10% increase in energy production.

    President, Engineering Society (2017-2019)

    • Orchestrated engineering workshops, seminars, and networking events for students.

    • Collaborated with industry professionals to furnish career development opportunities for members.

    Relevant Coursework:

    • Advanced Thermodynamics

    • Finite Element Analysis

    • Fluid Mechanics

    • Engineering Materials

  • Skills

    Highlight your key skills and competencies relevant to the job you’re applying for.

    Include any technical skills, soft skills, and certifications or qualifications that might be relevant for the role.



    • Proficient in CAD software (SolidWorks, AutoCAD)
    • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
    • Familiarity with Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software (ANSYS)
    • Certified in Six Sigma Green Belt for process improvement
  • Additional sections

    As the name suggests, this is an additional section that you might choose to include in your CV if you want to showcase your additional background or experiences. You can include any certifications, voluntary work experience, professional affiliations or publications.



    • Designed and prototyped a renewable energy system for a university engineering competition, winning first place.


    • Co-authored a research paper on sustainable energy solutions published in the International Journal of Engineering Research.


    • Recipient of the Engineering Excellence Award for outstanding contribution to innovative design at Lightning Ltd.

CV vs Resume: What you need to know

Should I use a CV or a resume when applying for jobs?

It depends on the country, industry, and job requirements. In academic and research settings or in countries like the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, a CV is typically used. In the United States and Canada, resumes are more common for job applications across various industries.

Is a resume the same as a CV?

In British English, people often use the terms CV (Curriculum Vitae) and resume interchangeably. However, there are slight differences between them in terms of length, structure, and how they're used.

A CV tends to be more detailed and extensive, often stretching over multiple pages. It provides a thorough overview of a person's academic and professional history.

Can I use a resume in the UK?

Yes, you can use a resume in the UK. While the term "CV" (Curriculum Vitae) is more commonly used in British English, the concept of a resume is also understood and accepted in the UK job market. However, it's essential to tailor your resume according to UK standards, ensuring it aligns with local preferences and conventions. This may include adjusting the format, content, and length to suit British expectations for job applications.

Key takeaways

  • CVs and resumes serve similar purposes but have distinct differences in length, content, and usage.
  • A CV (Curriculum Vitae) provides a comprehensive overview of academic and professional history, commonly used in the UK, while a resume is a concise summary of relevant work experience and skills, more common in the US.
  • Understanding the differences between a CV and a resume is crucial for tailoring your job application documents effectively.
  • Both documents should be customised for each job application to highlight the most relevant qualifications and experiences.
  • Whether you choose to use a CV or a resume depends on factors such as country, industry, and job requirements. Tailor your application document accordingly to maximise your chances of success.

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Jagoda Obszarska

Senior Content Editor, SEO Content Writer

Meet Jagoda Obszarska – a certified copywriter, Polish language translator, and seasoned career adviser. Thriving on constant self-improvement, she eagerly stays ahead in her field. With a rich background working with individuals from over 50 countries, Jagoda has successfully completed more than a thousand projects in copywriting and translation.

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