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What does CV Stand for Resume

You might be surprised to find out the differences between a resume and CV. Knowing the differences might help you land your dream job.

What does CV Stand for Resume
Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
9 min read

"What is a CV?", someone might have asked you. After you have explained to him what a CV is, then the same person might ask, “Then what is a resume?” Now you will be stuck. It is not only you but nearly every professional around the world who does not know what is the difference between a CV and a resume. In fact, approach your seniors at the workplace and ask them the same question; the odds are high that only 5-10% will be able to give you an appropriate answer.

It is common for people to get confused when asked about the difference. The problem is we never looked over the differences and considered them the same. Or we never bothered giving it a thought. We just built our document, which we named CV/a Resume, and sent it to the recruiter.

In this article, we will be learning about the difference between a CV and a Resume. Which one is better of the two. Why there are two names to 1 document? Which one to use in which situation. All these questions will be answered as you read through.

What is a CV?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae. It means "course of life". CV is a comprehensive in-depth document that lists down and describes your whole course of life. From your junior academics to graduation and your work life, everything is mentioned in this document. It generally is your biography but in a listed documented manner. A CV can transcend to two to three pages but if need be it can go beyond eight to ten pages as well.

A Curriculum Vitae includes information regarding your education, work-life, internships, volunteer work, achievements, awards, honors, skills, memberships, publication and much more. It is mostly created and used by individuals who are seeking grants, fellowships, postdoctoral positions, teaching or research positions in universities or industry. The mentioned applications require all your details to further process your file in their applied candidacy hence the demand for a detailed document such as a CV.

What must be there in a CV?

A CV must include the following sections.

  • Name
  • Contact Information
  • Resume Summary or Career Objective
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Publications (Books and their Chapters, Academic Publications, Peer-Reviewed Publications, Any Other Publications).
  • Teaching or Lecturing Experience
  • Research Interests
  • Research Experience or Graduate Fieldwork
  • Awards and Honors
  • Conferences and Courses
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • Skills
  • Certificates
  • Languages
  • Grants of Fellowships
  • Memberships
  • References

Tips for Writing a CV

  • Construct a structure of your CV before stepping up to write it.
  • Be careful in adding information. Important ones to prioritize at the top.
  • Add as much information as you can.
  • You can even tailor some information to your CV. For that, you have to know your audience.
  • Always be honest about the information you mention in the document.
  • Make sure you add quantitative information as well.
  • Make it look good; the format, layout and design must be clean and readable.
  • Don’t forget to add Keywords.
  • Always show your CV draft to someone in your field and consider his feedback.
  • Stay consistent with the format.
  • Ensure that your final draft is error-free.

Before firing over to the difference between the CV and the resume, let us know some details regarding the resume.

What is a Resume?

A resume (means “to sum up” in French) is a document similar to a CV but is quite short compared to it. It is also created to apply to the job. A resume is usually accompanied by a cover letter; it is a document that elaborates or specifically emphasizes the details you have and have not mentioned in the resume. It also explains why the job is suitable for you and how you can excel in it.

Resume length is really short. It is advisable to restrict it to 1 page only but it can go to a maximum of 2-3 pages. It all depends upon how relevant your resume is to the job and how necessary the information is to the position you are applying for. In most cases it the resume of fresh graduates and lesser work experience candidates who restrict their resumes to 1 page only. Other professionals with more than 15 years of work experience are allowed to go beyond a page.

As with the CV, the common things that you mention in a resume are the professional work experience, skills and education that are relevant to the job you are applying for. A resume that can stand you out among other candidates highlights your contributions and achievements and emphasizes skills that you can use for the position you are applying for.

What must be there on a resume?

  • Full Name
  • Contact Information
  • The Position you are applying for (Job Title)
  • Resume Summary or Career Objective
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills (do add relevant ones only)
  • Achievements and Awards
  • Additional Sections (that include Volunteer Experience, Memberships, Publications, Patents, Licenses, Certification and much more)

Tips for Writing a Resume

  • Never fail to add keywords that relate to the job you are applying for.
  • Before creating yours, look for outstanding resumes of the seniors of your field.
  • Don’t stuff it with information.
  • Your document must be readable and must have a clean format
  • Make a comprehensive CV initially and then extract information from there to make a resume specific to a job
  • Include numbers in achievements, work experience and other sections.
  • Don’t go beyond one page
  • Stick to relevancy. Don’t make your resume irrelevant to end it up in the trash
  • Show your resume to the seniors of your field so that they can highlight the areas of change.

Now you know a gist about a CV and a Resume. Read on further to know the differences you must know between a CV and a Resume.

The Difference Between a CV and a Resume

In a nutshell the difference between the two lies in the length, format, content, layout and requirements of the recruiting company. It also varies upon the region where you are applying as some regions consider the two documents the same while other regions cater for them differently. Additionally, it is also the career path that you chose that depicts which document to make.

Following pointers explain the differences between the two:

Career Path

Your career path is important for deciding which one of the two shall be made. It is not common for a PhD student and a management trainee engineer to have the same document. CVs are mostly created for academic purposes that are applying for a master’s or PhD degree. Additionally, it can be used to apply for scholarships, grants, fellowships or for academic or research positions in educational institutions.

Resumes, on the other hand, are made by those who are simply looking for a career ahead in jobs. Candidates who are looking for a future in a private or public sector company create a resume and regularly update it to apply for the desired position.

Hence, the difference here is that the CVs which are long and more detailed is used in academic paths where resumes that are short and crisp are used in industrial or corporate sectors (HRs aren’t there to read your 10-page long CV).

Length

Another and the most common factor between the two is the length of the two documents. Curriculum Vitae is meant to be lengthy and elaborative for the purpose they are used. Whereas, resumes, are kept short and brief. CV can go beyond 5 to 7 pages; it can even be 10 pages long since it contains every detail about you that may help achieve your purpose. But Resumes are advised to be 1 page only but they can exceed 2 pages as well depending upon the relevancy since it only needs to have content that is relevant to the position applied to.

Information to Include

As stated above, CV serves its purpose in the academic areas. Hence, it needs to be more detailed and elaborative. It is like your biography where you include all your academic qualifications, achievements and certifications. Once it is created you just kept updating it.

A resume, which is required for jobs, is to be structured along the job lines only. It can be customized for each job you apply for. Relevancy is what matters here so you add your Work Experience, skills and professional achievements as relevant as they can be to the job. The best part is data for the resume can be collected from your CV which contains nearly every piece of information regarding you.

International Concept

Fun fact: The difference between a Resume and a CV in broader terms is applicable in the United States only.

Yes, that’s true. The differences above stated to apply in the American Region only. The concept of CV and resume is different in different parts of the world.

In Australian and South African Regions

Resume and Curriculum Vitae are synonyms of each other. If the job recruiter or academic purposes demand a Resume/CV, then hand them a brief 1-3 paged document.

In the European Region and New Zealand


There is no such thing as a resume. All that is asked for is a CV which is a short
brief document there. So you send the company a CV instead of a resume if they
ask for it.

In the South Asian Region


Job seekers make another document called a Biodata. It is a more personal and extended form of American CV as it includes information regarding biographical data. But only send it if the job asks it. The concept of Resume and CV in this region is the same as that of the Australian and South African Region. By CV they mean Resume and vice versa. So if a recruiter asks for a resume or CV then send them a document according to American Resume rules.

CONCLUSION

The difference between a CV and a Resume, which is broadly applicable in the US only, is regarding length, purpose and content. If you are living in other parts of the world, you’ll need to confirm with your seniors or other professional what exactly is the job demanding. A candidate must have the right document at a right time. Keeping both the documents ready is essential since you won’t have to go through the hassle of making one at the last moment. Remember, when you’ve made a long elaborative CV, it won’t take time to make a Resume.

We believe you may have understood the concept behind the CV and the resume. You can read articles on our blog to get tips regarding writing them. Till then, happy job hunting 😉.