The Difference Between a CV and Resume: Which Should You Use?

career planning
Let us help you find your best fit university!Find your school
By Azara Lantra
Last updated on December 6, 2022

Find out how a CV is different from a resume, which one you should use, and what info to include to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Is a cv a resume? A female international student intern candidate sits across from a counselor to discuss the difference between cv and resume, resume vs cv, and decide between cv vs resume as they look over her job application materials.

Applying for a job for the first time can be confusing. During your research, you may have come across the terms CV and resume. To present yourself as a strong candidate when applying for a job in the US (or any part of the world), knowing the difference between CV and a resume is crucial. 

Read on to learn what is a resume, what is a curriculum vitae, the difference between CV and resume, when to use a CV vs resume, employer and country preferences, and more.

What Is a CV?

A CV (short for curriculum vitae) is a document outlining information about your career, education, skills, and achievements, including scholarships and awards. Generally, a CV is two to three pages long. The length of a CV can vary depending on your work experience.   

There are three different types of CV formats:

  1. Chronological CV—This is the most commonly used curriculum vitae format, and it lists your work history starting with the most recent position. Use a chronological CV if you have prior work experience and want to highlight your skills and project experience.

  2. Functional CV—Also known as a skill-based CV, this format is used to focus on your skills and work experience, instead of chronological work history. While it is not as widely used as a chronological CV, a functional CV can be preferable if you have not worked previously, have gaps in your career history, or want to change careers.

  3. Combination CV—This format is a combination of a chronological CV and a functional CV. Using a combination CV, you can highlight your skills and provide a chronological work history.

What Is a Resume? 

A resume is a document summarizing your education, work experience, and skills. The length of a resume may depend on how many years of work experience you have. However, in most cases, applicants can keep it to a single page.

Generally, there are four standard types of resumes:

  1. Chronological resumeSimilar to the chronological CV, this resume format lists your work experience in descending chronological order, starting with your most recent position. A chronological resume is considered the standard format that many hiring managers prefer.

  2. Functional resume—This format emphasizes skills and experience over employment history. A functional resume format is ideal if you are changing careers or have little work experience.

  3. Combined resume—A combined resume is a mix of chronological and functional formats. This resume format highlights your skills and experience before listing your employment history in descending chronological order.

  4. Targeted resume—A targeted resume is a customized document highlighting your qualifications and experience for a specific job opening. Generally, a targeted resume requires more preparation since it is tailored to one prospective company at a time.

What Are the Differences Between a CV and a Resume? 

When thinking about a CV vs resume, the main differences are:

  • Length

  • Type of information included

  • The ability to customize for specific job roles

CV v resume – differences at a glance



Two to three pages (or more depending on your achievements)


One to two pages

Type of information


Includes all your academic qualifications, experience, skills, and achievements


A summary showing only your most relevant skills and work experience for the job role

Customization by role


Generally, information stays the same


Highly customizable

What Should You Include in Your CV? 

When preparing your CV, you should include:

  • Your name and contact information

  • Personal statement (a brief overview of your professional background and career objectives)

  • Professional experience

  • Academic qualifications

  • Technical and personal skills

A CV could also include:

  • Certifications

  • Language fluency

  • Publications

  • Awards or honors received

  • Interests and hobbies

  • Volunteer work

What Should You Include in Your Resume?

The purpose of your resume is to provide employers with a quick overview of your skills and experiences. You should include:

  • Name and contact information

  • Resume summary or objective statement (similar to a personal statement in a CV)

  • Employment history

  • Educational accomplishments

  • Skills and certifications relevant to the job

When deciding between CV vs resume, keep in mind that certain job opportunities may make specific requests during the application process.

When Should I Use a Resume?

Use a resume when applying to non-academic or non-research-oriented jobs. Most corporate, governmental, and nonprofit employers in the US will expect a resume as part of your job application. 

A resume’s one-page format gives employers a quick overview of the person applying to determine if they meet the baseline requirements for the job. Resumes are screened for applicable information to determine which candidates are rejected and which get further consideration (e.g., called in for an interview).

Shorelight Career Services’ experienced advisors work with international students to build pathways toward successful careers. Explore your potential and learn from experts while you study as you work toward your dream job.
Learn more

Start of Sticky Service Ad

When Should I Use a CV?

As a CV contains multiple pages of information about your professional skills and experience, they are ideal for specialized job roles that require specific expertise. Consider using a CV when applying for education-based jobs or research positions, as the full list of your qualifications will appeal to organizations in these sectors. 

How Do a CV and a Resume Differ Based on the Country?

When it comes to CV vs resume, keep in mind that employers in certain countries may have specific preferences — while resumes are the most commonly used format for job applicants in the US, employers in other countries may request a CV. So, what exactly is the difference between CV and resume?

The table below goes over how the requirements for a CV and resume can change based on the country. Keep in mind that the following is a general overview for each country — it’s important to do your research before applying and update your application accordingly.

CV or Resume


Resume for most jobs and CV for academic roles






CV (the terms CV and resume are used interchangeably)




Resume (the terms CV and resume are used interchangeably)



CV—two to three pages or more Resume—one to two pages


One to two pages


One to two pages


Two pages


One to two pages


One to two pages

Personal Details


Include name and contact information. Do not include your photo, age, gender, marital status, race, and religion due to anti-discrimination and labor laws.


Include name, date of birth, contact information, and your photo.


Include name, date of birth, and contact information. Include your photo, if required.


Include name, address, email address, and phone number. Add other information, such as age, gender, marital status, photo, and nationality, if required.


Include name and contact details. Do not include your photo, unless required.


Include name, address, phone number, mobile number, and email address. You are not required to include your photo.



Do not include references in your resume, unless requested


Add references, if required


Do not add references, unless requested


Do not add references, unless requested


Include references, if required


Add references, if required

How to Prepare a Good CV 

Here are some important tips you can use to make your CV stand apart from the crowd:

  • Review successfully prepared CVs—Doing additional research helps you identify what information employers are looking for in CVs, including good ways to structure your CV and CV examples and templates for each job role.

  • Keep your CV simple—Write your CV clearly and concisely. Your prospective employer should be able to navigate through the document easily.

  • Make your CV unique—Highlight your qualifications and experience that are directly relevant to the job you are applying for. You should also include a well-written personal statement to give a good first impression.

  • Proofread your CV—After preparing your CV, read your CV once (or twice) to ensure there are no spelling and grammatical errors.

Some Tips for Preparing a Successful Resume 

To land your dream job, it is necessary to have an exceptional resume. Here are some tips to consider when preparing your resume.

  • Look for relevant keywords—Each time you apply for a job, look for important keywords by reading the job descriptions and include these exact words or phrases in your resume. These keywords are what the employer is looking for in a candidate.

  • Refer to resume examples—By reviewing various resume examples, you can pick an ideal format that will work best for you and identify which information will make your resume stand out.

  • Include only relevant information—Unlike a CV, a resume is a summary of your academic qualifications and work experience. Keep your resume as brief as possible.

  • Proofread—Read your resume several times and correct any grammatical and spelling errors.

To get started with preparing your resume or CV, you can also reach out to a Shorelight advisor. Your advisor can support you with resume tips, help you create a career action plan, advise you on Optional Practical Training opportunities, and direct you to career development programs. They can also provide exclusive international student services, including visa assistance and teaching you how to apply for OPT and CPT status. 

CV and Resume Writing Tips

When considering a CV vs resume, remember their primary purpose is to showcase your professional portfolio to employers. A well-constructed resume or CV can highlight your most important qualifications, achievements, and experiences to employers to show that you would be the best fit for the role. If you’re not sure which one to use, ask the hiring manager listed in the job description. 

As an international student, you may not be sure on how to tailor your resume or CV for the US working environment, so we have a few tips to help you get started.

Match Your Resume or CV to the Position

Customizing your resume or CV to specific positions you want to apply for is key, as this allows you to highlight your most relevant skills that will help you perform well in the role, and you’ll also stand out to employers. (Additionally, you can get into even more detail with a cover letter, which should always be matched to individual job opportunities.) 

Be sure to submit the specific requirements listed in the job description, as most offers will specify the exact documents and information you need in order to be considered as a candidate.

By customizing your resume or CV, you can show employers that you are enthusiastic about the job role and are willing to go the extra mile while applying. 

Use a Template

Each CV and resume is different, and the design for yours differs based on the industry of the jobs you are applying for and the employer’s requirements. When starting out, a resume or CV template can be very helpful for preparing your application, as this gives you an idea of what you can include in your own resume or CV in the US. You can also compare your resume or CV with a job application resume sample to check if you have covered common areas.

If you plan to use a template or a job application resume sample, remember to only use these as a general guideline for creating your resume or CV — avoid copying the template and customize the sections as needed for the job role you are considering. You want to make it your own!

Proofread and Edit

Creating a resume or CV can be a long process depending on the individual and the job role, and you may make many edits and changes throughout the process. This is why it is important to carefully review and proofread your resume or CV once you have completed it to make sure it is error-free. In addition to being a good professional habit to develop, editing and proofreading results in a clean resume or CV that shows employers you pay close attention to detail.

Consider having a friend or family member check your document after you proofread it, as they may spot issues or areas for edits that you may have missed. 

Preparing a successful resume or CV for the first time can be challenging, especially when there are different requirements for each country. However, by doing your research and taking your time in putting together your documents, you will be able to create a CV or a resume that is best suited to the job and will make a good first impression. 

Good luck with your job search!

End of Sticky Service Ad

Discover how Shorelight’s Career Services can set you up for professional success >