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The Difference Between A CV and A Resume.


If you asked most people about the difference between a CV and a resume, the likely answer would be, “The former is British while the latter is American”. But have you ever wondered why?


There are actually a few differences between the two types of job application documents and this article brings clarity.


The Key Points

CV – long, particular format, covers your entire career, static
Resume – short, no particular format rule, highly customisable



A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is an in-depth document and can be 2 pages or more, depending on the extent of your experience and career. Used by British, it is traditionally laid out in reverse chronological order. It often lists your education, experience, honours and awards and additional activities such as publications and conferences attended – with your most recent achievements first.

The document’s arrangement should make it easy to get an overview of an individual’s full working career. A traditional CV doesn’t change for different positions, the difference would be in the cover letter.

The sections of the traditional CV will normally be as follows:

  • Personal information – such as contact details – but NOT date of birth, sex, marital status etc. and you should just list one contact detail, and your mobile number
  • Education
  • Experience – the core of your CV
  • Additional skills
  • Interests



Spelt as resume or résumé, this is a concise document typically not longer than one page. While in the US, you might need a résumé rather than a CV.

You should always adapt the resume to every position you apply for. A resume doesn’t have to be ordered chronologically, doesn’t have to cover your whole career and is a highly customisable document.


Format differences

  • Default page size – A4 (21cm x 29.7cm) for CV is replaced by Letter (21.59cm x 27.94cm) for résumé.
  • Spelling – insure / ensure the résumé is oriented / orientated (American / British) to the spelling conventions:
  • Watch out for common ‘British’ spellings such as ‘analysed’ and ‘organised’ (both have a ‘z’ in American English)


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