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CV Vs. Resume

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A curriculum vitae (CV) is often mistakenly used as a replacement for the resume. Both documents summarize your professional history and accomplishments, and they ultimately serve the same purpose. To maximize your professional opportunities, you will need to discern the difference between the two documents and when they should be used.

Main Features of a CV

A CV is a detailed and well-structured informative document about your professional experience and qualifications. The CV is generally organized in chronological order and extensively details your work experience, education and achievements. Because of the detailed nature of the document, a CV generally consists of two or more pages. Also, unlike a resume, a CV does not change depending on the job for which you're applying.

Main Features of a Resume

A resume offers a brief summary of your work experience, education and other pertinent information. A resume typically is no longer than a page, and its information is generally targeted specifically for the position for which you are applying. Because a resume is customizable, it does not have to be chronological or document your professional experience in its entirety.

Which to Use

The importance and responsibilities of the job you are applying for will usually dictate which document you should use. In the United States, a CV is often used when applying for grants or fellowships. A CV also tends to be the preferred document when applying for academic, educational or scientific positions. However, for most job opportunities in the United States, a resume is standard.

Location Differences

Although a resume is the standard document used in the United States when applying for most positions, this is not the case in other countries. In Europe, the CV is the standard document used in applying for positions.


Nelsenia Reynolds has been writing professionally since 2009. She has an extensive background in engineering, finance and real estate. She holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University.