What is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

A resume and a CV (Curriculum Vitae) are important pieces of documents that summarize a person’s career background, work history, education, and personal information. Both of these appear to be same but are different from each other to a certain extent. These two documents are often used for applying to different job positions.

So, what is the difference between a resume and a CV?

When to use a CV?

When to use a resume?

Which is better CV or resume?

Before getting answers to these questions let us know the basic introduction of these two types of documents.


A resume is a short and precise document specifically created for applying to a particular job position. A typical resume includes work experience and skills of the person related to the job he/she is applying for. Other sections that form a part of a resume include education, achievements, and contact information. There are different types of resume formats with each type serving a specific purpose.


CV is an abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae which is a Latin word meaning “the course of life”. A CV is a detailed document that lists the career history of an individual along with all sorts of personal information. There is broad information about everything including work history, education, and achievements.

Difference Between a Resume and a CV

After the basic introduction, we should know the difference between a resume and a CV. The two documents are different from each other in terms of length, layout, sections, and purpose. Let us discuss all these differences in detail.


Talking about the length, a resume is generally one or two pages long while a CV has no such limit of length. A resume is a single-page summary of your work history and job-relevant information whereas a CV is a longer document with in-depth information about academics, work experience, and accomplishments.

Resume length matters a lot as it is one of the things that recruiting managers often look at. It should strictly be one page long or a maximum of two pages. It should never exceed two pages with the exception of some extreme cases. The extreme cases can be work experience of more than ten years or a number of remarkable achievements worth showing.

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Although there is no length limit for a CV, it is recommended that it should ideally be two pages in length. It can go beyond two pages depending upon the experience of the person. There are no specific guidelines by hiring managers regarding the length of the CV but two-three pages’ length is considered as the ideal.


The resume layout should be professional, easy-to-read, and appealing. It should cover the basics of everything including name, contact information, summary, work history, and education.

The work history is listed in a reverse chronological order meaning the most recent job is listed first. While scanning a resume, recruiters are generally interested in the most recent work experience of the candidate. Here are some points to consider to structure the layout of the resume:

  • It should be short and easy to read.
  • There should be equal margins, ideally one inch, on all four sides of the resume.
  • Use the right font that is clean and easy to read. You can choose Times New Roman, Georgia font.
  • Keep the font size consistent with the exception of name and section headings whose font size can be large.
  • Try to keep line spacing consistent throughout the resume.
  • Use bullet points to make sections easier to read.

When it comes to CV, then it should be well-structured and should be kept as simple as possible. The main elements of the CV include name, contact information, personal statement, experience, education, and skills. Hobbies and interests can also be added but these are optional.

There are different types of CV layouts which generally fall under the two categories – CV Content Layout, CV Visual Layout.

The CV Content Layout mainly concentrates on the content of the CV including different sections and information to be included in those sections. On the other hand, the CV Visual Layout concentrates on the appearance of the CV which includes alignment, font, headings, bullet points, line spacing, and color.


The difference between a resume and a CV also lies in the sections to be included in each of these. Both resume and CV serve a different purpose so there will be a difference in the sections.

Although no two resumes created are same, a standard resume essentially consists of the following sections:

  • Contact Information
  • Resume Objective or Summary
  • Work Experience Section
  • Education Section
  • Skills Section

The optional sections in a resume include:

  • Awards and Accolades
  • Certifications
  • Projects
  • Trainings and Internships
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Languages

Remember, it is a wrong practice to include every possible section in a resume. Include an optional section only if you have something worth showing in that section. While adding sections, always keep in mind the length of a resume i.e. one page with a limit of two pages.

A typical CV or Curriculum Vitae must include the following sections:

  • Contact Information
  • Personal Statement
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

The extra sections that can be added in a CV include:

  • Certifications
  • Thesis or Dissertation
  • Conference Participation
  • Volunteer Activity
  • Publications
  • Awards
  • Languages
  • Additional Training and Courses

If asked in the job description, you can add a reference section on your CV. A personal statement is a short paragraph that gives a summary of your career including work experience and skills. A CV typically covers your whole career.


Resume and CV are different from each other in terms of their purpose. The main purpose of a resume is to get a job. It is an important requirement that you have to carry during a job interview.  It lets you demonstrate your skills and experience to the recruiters while applying as a job applicant. It provides a quick overview of your career including work experience, education, skills, and achievements.

For recruiters, it serves as an important source to identify the right candidates for a given job profile. During a job interview, recruiters or hiring managers ask questions based on the information provided in the resume.

A CV just like resume forms the basis of a job search. It is sent as a job application to impress the recruiters and is generally the first communication with the potential employer.  

A CV is also used for academic purposes including academic jobs, scholarships, internships, and research.

By now the difference between a resume and a CV must be clear. In various countries, resume and CV are used interchangeably i.e. both are considered as same. In some countries, biodata is submitted for seeking a job.

Difference Between a Resume and a CV in Tabular Form

Here is the difference between a resume and a CV in tabular form:




Length    Should be strictly one or two pages in length Can be more than two pages

Generally Reverse chronological layout with the latest work experience being listed first 

Two types of layouts generally followed - CV Content Layout, CV Visual Layout
Sections Main sections include contact information, work experience, education, and skills Main sections include contact information, personal statement, work experience, education, skills, and publications
Purpose   Used for job search Used for job search along with academic purposes including academic jobs, scholarships, internships, and research


Difference Between CV and Resume and Biodata

Now, let us know the difference between CV and Resume and Biodata.

A resume is a one-page document that summarizes a person’s education, skills, and employment. A resume focuses on the work experience and skills of the candidate. It does not go into detail about the personal information of the candidate.

A CV is generally lengthier than a resume and gives in-depth information about the career of the person. As compared to resume, a CV is not made according to a specific job description. It lists all the skills, experience, and certifications held by a person.

A biodata, short form for biographical data, is an old terminology for the resume that focuses on personal information of a person including name, date of birth, gender, religion, race, nationality, marital status, residence, etc. Although considered as obsolete these days, biodata is used for applying to government jobs.  

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