Resume vs CV: The Ultimate Guide

updated on 10 April 2022

Until college, your progress reports and test scores speak for your academic performance. Your test scores get you through the doors of prestigious universities. Once you graduate and are out of the safe premises of your alma mater, the job market beckons. Are your scorecards sufficient beyond your first job? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Thinking man 2-7phiv

So, what do you need?

You either require a Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume.

But which among the two?

Don’t worry; we are here to explain the difference between a CV and a resume!

Defining the Terms


A Resume is a document prepared by a job seeker highlighting his/her background, skills, and accomplishments. It is derived from the French word resume meaning summary. This helps the recruiter scan through the document to identify if the candidate is a good fit for the role. According to Poovendhiran Mohanan, Mentor at FAANGPath, “a resume is the entry point for you to get an interview”. He opines that the more time and effort you spend on preparing your resume, the better your chances will be in getting an interview.

Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vitae translates to “course of life” in Latin, shortened to CV. In a CV, you are ideally expected to mention your academic qualifications, professional qualifications, and experience in your previous roles including internships, accomplishments, publications, and other additional skill sets. The longer your experience, the longer is your CV.

How different are they?

So, what’s the difference between CV & resume? Let’s go down the rabbit hole to examine the differences in detail. First difference is in the length of the two documents. As mentioned earlier, the CV captures your entire academic and professional journey to date, including research publications and awards. It is no mean feat to condense your “course of life” in two pages. On the contrary, the resume is like the highlight reel of your academic and professional life thus far. One glance at your resume is sufficient for a recruiter to decide your fit for the role. Besides, they use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help them parse both resumes and CVs!

Related: What are Applicant Tracking Systems and how to make an ATS-Friendly resume?

Does all the difference lie in Resume vs CV format?

Nope! A closer look shows us more differences between the two essential documents.

By definition, a CV expects the job seeker to include:

  • Books published. 
  • Publications (peer-reviewed or otherwise). 
  • Awards and Honors. 
  • Grants and Fellowships. 
  • Conferences Attended. 
  • Teaching Experience. 
  • Research Experience. 
  • Memberships to Academic Clubs. 
  • Other References.

However, a resume expects you to include only your:

  • Work Experience
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Core Skills
  • Other Additional Skills that are directly related to your role.
  • (Optional) Projects, Volunteering, Leadership, Awards

Now, do you see the difference? Most experts believe that a CV is ideal for a career in academics while a resume is the best fit to help you find a role at your dream company (we are sure it’s a FAANG company). 

Related: Why do you need a well-structured professional resume

Which one to choose?

Relax, it's not that hard!

Based on the above explanation, do you simply choose one format over the other depending on your domain? Yes, we think so. We recommend that you prepare a master resume if you wish to climb the corporate ladder. In your master document, you can record every course taken, accomplishment, a conference you attended or presented at. However, you can prepare resumes tailored for specific job applications. Yes, you read it right! A resume can have information suited for a particular role by choosing them from your master document. 

If you were to apply for a position in academics, you will be required to submit a detailed CV. However, if you have already amassed many accolades in an illustrious career in academics, you can still pick and choose relevant details for a particular position. Your master CV will still include each and every accomplishment, publication or conference you attended. You no longer need to worry about “Curriculum Vitae vs Resume”.

Expectations across Geographies

The Covid-19 pandemic that struck the world in 2020 has shrunk the job market as well as academic circles where people are adapting to Work-from-home. We saw court proceedings held online. International job opportunities without the requirement of change in domicile of the employee have increased. In such a globalized job market, how do different employers view differences between CV & resume?

  • The US & Canadian job markets prefer the niftier resume. 
  • UK, European and New Zealand markets expect a CV. But by CV they mean the American equivalent of a resume. 
  • In Australia and South Africa, CV and resume are used interchangeably.  However, it would be wiser to send the shortened version, if your CV extends beyond three pages.
  • A few South Asian markets like India prefer a document called Biodata where you include date of birth, gender, race, marital status and previous salary. 

Finally, how do you know which document to submit? The company's portal will usually specify. Also, if you are not sure of which to submit, ask a recruiter. When in doubt, submit your resume. If the recruiters require more details, they will ask!

Concluding Thoughts

Get, set, go...!

Now that you know the difference between resume and CV, what are you waiting for? We are here to help you enter your dream job by designing the best version of your resume. Fasten your seatbelts as your career is about to take a trajectory that it has not seen before... Wingardium Leviosa!

We hope there are no doubts regarding resume vs CV format. If you still have questions, feel free to contact our mentors at FAANGPath who will help you achieve your dream career.

FAANGPath is a team of experienced mentors who are committed to helping talented people get hired at FAANG+ companies. Under the dynamic leadership of Nikita Gupta, FAANGPath is empowering job aspirants by providing premium resume reviews, LinkedIn makeovers, 1:1 mentorship, and mock interview services. Talk to FAANPath'sFAANPath's mentor and get all your queries solved. 

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