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Although they are similar documents and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between a curriculum vitae (CV) and a resume. A curriculum vitae typically is a complete listing of a person's relevant history, such as his or her professional history for a job-related CV. A resume generally is a short summary of a person's education, experience, skills and related information. The difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume also can vary by location, because the terms can be used differently in some countries than in others.
Uses for These Documents
When someone applies for a job, internship, fellowship or academic program, he or she will often be asked to submit a resume or curriculum vitae. These documents chronicle the person's work history, highlight his or her awards and academic achievements and otherwise assert his or her qualifications. A resume or CV is often the first thing that a prospective employer looks at when considering a candidate. Therefore, both a resume and a CV include the most impressive and pertinent information.
A resume usually is one page or not much longer than one page. Some experts recommend avoiding resumes that are more than one or two pages. Each time a person applies for a job, his or her resume should be tailored to reflect skills, experience and other credentials that will be of particular use in that position. For example, if a person were to simultaneously apply for a jobs as a biology teacher and a biking tour guide, he or she likely would highlight different qualifications in each resume.
A CV typically is longer than a resume and includes a complete listing of a person's relevant history. For example, this document might include every position that a person has held, a comprehensive list of his or her academic credentials as well as information on his or her published works and other significant achievements. In some cases, CVs are many pages long.
Differences Between Fields
Another difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume is that certain fields tend to use one or the other. In general, CVs are required when people apply for positions in the medical and academic fields. Resumes usually are preferred when people apply for business positions.
Differences By Location
The terms "curriculum vitae" and "resume" also are used in different ways around the world. In the United States and in the English-speaking regions of Canada, for example, the word "resume" is used predominantly. Even longer documents that more closely resemble CVs are often referred to as resumes in these parts of the world. The term "curriculum vitae" is used more often in Ireland, England, Scotland, New Zealand and French-speaking regions of Canada. In India and Australia, the terms are generally interchangeable.
Tips for Job Applicants
When a person is applying for a job and a prospective employer asks for a resume or a CV, it is important for the applicant to know how the term is being used. It can be helpful for him or her to contact the prospective employer to ask about the types of information that should be included. There are many books and websites that offer tips to help job applicants write resumes and CVs.