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Is There a Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Submitting a stellar curriculum vitae and resume can propel one through the job application process. We discuss the differences between the two application documents for jobseekers looking to impress recruiters.

Find yourself questioning the difference between a curriculum vitae (CV) and a resume? Part and parcel of most job application processes include the submission of a resume and/or a CV. Complementary to each other, these documents are decision-makers in the competitive job market.

According to New York-based recruitment agency Ladders, hiring managers spend an average of six seconds on a resume or curriculum vitae before deciding on a jobseekers’ eligibility. To make those few seconds count, you have to convince hiring managers that you possess the right skillset required to excel in their organisation.

Yet, despite the simplicity of their objectives, many spend days, even months, working on these application documents, perfecting their draft for a dream job.

CV vs Resume

CV and resumes share the common purpose of marketing jobseekers as desirable employees who will meet and exceed the expectations of potential employers. However, these application documents are not interchangeable as there are clear differences between them. Understanding the key differences between a CV and a resume can help you in structuring and drafting them.

The main differences between a CV and a resume are:

  • Basis
  • Length
  • Information included

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What is a Curriculum Vitae?

Commonly referred to as a CV, the curriculum vitae is an in-depth summary of your academic and professional life. Ever-expanding, a CV is constantly updated as you amass experiences and accomplishments.

As with the plethora of CV samples available online, its length may differ depending on the experiences accrued.

How to write a CV?

On average, recruiters receive 250 CVs for a job position. With trained eyes, hiring managers quickly scour through them for specific information – thus, yours should be clear and concise. Typically credential-based, the comprehensive, multi-page document should include information on your education, achievements and work performed in chronological order.

The best CV samples contain relevant and up-to-date information such as:

Personal information and contact details

Remember to include your full name, nationality, residential address, telephone number and email address.

76% of CVs with an unprofessional email address get overlooked, so make sure to include your contact details in your job applications. Avoid including redundant information such as religious beliefs and salary history.

Education certifications and other qualifications

Starting with your latest qualification, state the institution and duration of your attendance with the month and year (i.e. Jan 2019 – Mar 2021).

Career history

A common misconception among jobseekers is that only paid stints make the cut as valid job experiences. This cannot be further from the truth. Internships, job shadowing, part-time jobs and other forms of employment opportunities can be listed.

When it comes to describing your work experience, follow these basic rules:

  • Arrange in chronological order, with the most current employment at the top and the time you worked in each company. Use the duration format applied in the education section.
  • Explain each job experience in bullet points for an easier read.
  • Include both your responsibilities and accomplishments. Be sure to illustrate your experience in a way that highlights your skillsets, especially your soft skills like communication, people management and leadership.


From language capabilities to IT literacy, showcase hard skills that demonstrate your depth of knowledge to your future interviewer. You may have a section to list them alongside your proficiency levels.

When it comes to your soft skills, it is best to describe them through examples within your career history. For example, instead of listing “multi-tasking” or “collaboration” as skills, talk about the projects that you worked on that your role in making those projects a success.

Other relevant experience, training, and references

Scholarships, awards, memberships, and other miscellaneous qualifications can be fully recorded.

What is a resume?

It is said that first impressions count — this is exceptionally so for resumes. In many cases, it is the first application document a recruiter evaluates, and a good one should convince them to read your curriculum vitae for additional information.

Think of a resume as an elevator pitch that will get you a profitable career. Short and concise, the document is a personalised representation of yourself for a specific role — though an extension of you, it should be tailored for the recipient.

How to write a resume?

A resume should contain the same information as your CV, but crafted strategically. Aimed at demonstrating competence, you have to actively pick out relevant information that showcases your strengths and abilities in the best light.

Compared to the static CV, your resume should be adapted and tailored to every position you are applying for. The best way to accomplish this is to study the job requirements closely.

Consider these when drafting your resume:


Unlike a CV that is written in chronological order, there are four resume templates that jobseekers can follow.

Click here to read more about these templates options.


A resume succinctly states career objectives, what you have to offer, and other relevant information. Keep your resumes to one or two pages as long resumes may hurt your job prospects.


You should find ways to align your resume to the job description. The targeted resume template will perfectly complement this pivotal factor.

A targeted resume is customised to the job position and industry. This gives jobseekers the flexibility to highlight relevant qualifications and experiences that demonstrate they are the best fit for the job.

Digital Formats

While a soft copy such as a PDF document of your resume is typically the go-to when sending your job applications via the internet, you can consider other ways to create an online resume, like a resume website.

Click here to read more about online resumes and how to create them.

Show your personality

Ultimately, despite the myriad of CV and resume tips and samples available online, it is crucial to add personality and indicate that you are in it for the long haul.

Make your achievements as concrete as possible so that they remain tangible to the hiring managers. Working on our professional story through your CV and resume will take you far!

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