Simply put, CV is an abbreviation of Curriculum Vitae (Latin for ‘the course of one’s life’). However, the CV meaning is different depending on where you are in the world.
What does CV mean? In the UK, the meaning of CV is the document you send to an employer when you apply for a job. In the US, this type of document is called a resume (French for ‘summary’).
To make things more confusing, the word CV is used in the US but the meaning of curriculum vitae is a little different. CV is similar to a resume but its longer and only used in the fields of academia and medicine. In the US, a CV lists the applicant’s achievements, publications, qualifications (like a resume) but in much more detail than a resume.
In sum, the word ‘resume’ in US English and the term ‘CV’ in British English mean the same thing. ‘CV’ refers to a longer, more detailed document in US English. And the word ‘resume’ is not typically used in the UK. The term you should use depends on where you are applying for a job.
Regardless of what you call it, a resume or CV is the most powerful tool you have when searching for a job. Using an online resume creator is a time-effective way of producing professional-looking results.
What is a CV (in US English)?
A CV is similar to a resume but much longer. Whereas a resume is a concise document of 1 or 2 pages, a CV is much more comprehensive and can be over 20 pages in some cases. In the US, resumes are used for the vast majority of job applications.
CVs include detailed information on candidates’ academic background (including qualifications, research, awards, publications, presentations, and any other academic achievements). Emphasis is placed on credentials and achievements which is why they are used by academics and doctors.
For most job vacancies, employers receive hundreds of applications. As time is limited, they generally prefer to receive short, concise documents. This is why resumes are the preferred format.
When to use a CV?
In the US, CVs are generally only used in the fields of medicine, science, and academia. For the vast majority of job applications, you should send a resume.
If you are applying for a job outside of the US and the employer asks for a CV, they are probably asking for a resume.
How is a resume different from a CV?
A resume is the same as a CV but it should be as concise as possible. Bullet points are often used to save space and only the most relevant accomplishments should be included, rather than all of them.
Resumes need to grab the employer’s attention. They should be concise, snappy, and be tailored to each job application. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume. (See our resume writing guide)
As resumes are only 1 (ideally) or 2 pages long, space is limited and valuable. There is no room for outdated qualifications or irrelevant skills or past job positions. Every item included on a resume needs to show why the candidate is a good fit for the job.
Customizing your resume for each job application can be time-consuming. Many people choose to use resume templates as they have been professionally designed to catch the eye of employers and allow you to make quick edits.