CV Advice

CV vs Resume: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Difference and Making the Right Choice for You

By Will Etheridge - 25 January 2023

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Whether you’re fresh from university or seasoned in your career, the job search process invariably involves presenting your skills, qualifications, and experience to potential employers.

This is where the question arises: should you prepare a CV or a resume? In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the CV vs resume debate, exploring the key differences and helping you understand which one you should use when applying for a job.


Understanding CVs

A Curriculum Vitae, often referred to as a CV, is a document that encapsulates your career journey. It details your academic background, work experience, skills, achievements, and often your personal interests.

Originally Latin, 'Curriculum Vitae' translates to 'course of life', and this sums up the purpose of a CV: to provide a detailed summary of your professional life.

The CV is typically used in the UK, Ireland, and other European countries. In these regions, it's used for almost all types of job applications, from the entry-level roles to the executive positions.

Also, the CV is commonly used in academia and research fields worldwide, regardless of geographical location.

A typical CV layout begins with your contact information and followed by a personal profile or summary. Next comes a detailed chronology of your education and employment history, starting with the most recent.

The CV also includes sections for skills, awards, publications, professional memberships, and sometimes, hobbies and interests. Unlike a resume, the CV can span several pages, with seasoned professionals often having a CV of four to five pages.


Understanding Resumes 

On the other side of the CV vs resume debate is the resume, a concise document typically limited to a single page (two pages at most for highly experienced individuals).

The term 'resume' is French and roughly translates to 'summary' – which perfectly captures its purpose: to provide a snapshot of your career.

Unlike the CV's extensive detail, a resume is tailored for each job application, highlighting only the most relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that align with the job description. This document is widely used in the United States, Canada, and Australia for non-academic job applications.

A typical resume begins with a heading containing your name and contact details, followed by a career objective or summary.

This is followed by sections detailing your work experience, education, and skills – all tailored to the job you're applying for. Less emphasis is placed on the chronology of your employment or education, and more on relevance and impact.

The concise nature of a resume means it's often more visually appealing than a CV, with bullet points and headers commonly used for easier reading.


CV vs. Resume: The Key Differences 

Now that we've explored what a CV and a resume are, it's time to delve into the crux of the matter: the difference between a CV and a resume. Understanding this difference is essential to ensure you present your professional credentials in the most effective way.

The main difference between a CV and a resume lies in length, detail, and purpose. A CV is typically longer, providing a comprehensive account of your academic and professional career.

It includes details such as publications, awards, memberships, and other relevant professional accomplishments. This document remains largely static, with only slight customisations made for different applications.

On the other hand, a resume is a brief and highly customised summary of your skills and experiences relevant to the specific job for which you're applying.

The goal of a resume is to catch an employer's attention and demonstrate quickly that you're a suitable candidate. To this end, a resume must be precise and succinct, ideally fitting into a single page.

Another crucial difference between a CV and a resume is their geographical usage. While CVs are more commonly used in the UK, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, resumes are the standard document for job applications in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

In summary, when comparing a CV vs a resume, the key question to ask yourself is: "Am I trying to provide a comprehensive record of my career (CV), or am I tailoring my experience to align with a specific job role (resume)?" Your answer will guide you towards the document that best fits your needs.


When to Use a CV or Resume

Knowing when to use a CV or a resume can significantly increase your chances of landing a job interview. Typically, you would use a CV when applying for roles in the UK, Ireland, other parts of Europe, and for positions in academia, research, or education globally.

The exhaustive detailing of your career trajectory in a CV is especially useful when the role you're applying for values a diverse skill set, research, or extensive industry experience.

On the other hand, a resume is your go-to document when applying for roles in the US, Canada, and Australia. It is also suitable for applications within the private sector globally, where the emphasis is on relevance to the specific role rather than an exhaustive career history.

Given its concise nature, a resume is perfect for showcasing your most relevant skills and achievements quickly, helping you stand out to employers with limited time to review applications.

Always be sure to confirm the preferred document in the job description or by asking the HR contact point. When in doubt, it's usually best to go with a tailored resume.


CV Wallet: Your Essential Tool in Job Hunting 

As we navigate the subtleties of CVs and resumes, one tool stands out for its innovative approach to modern job hunting: CV Wallet. CV Wallet is the world's first career management app, putting the latest technology in the hands of job seekers and enabling a faster, easier job search process.

CV Wallet provides a suite of smart tools that can revolutionise your job-seeking experience. It automates job applications and tracking, sourcing roles from hundreds of job boards and thousands of career sites, all in one place.

It offers blue tick verification to prove your identity, skills, qualifications, and experience using robust Blockchain technology. Its AI-powered Careers Hub provides career advice, interview preparation, and assistance in writing cover letters and application forms. Plus, it provides access to leading assessments for upskilling.

Most importantly, CV Wallet allows you to store your personal data securely in a decentralised wallet, protecting your privacy while ensuring you have total control over your information. And the best part? It's free and always will be.


How CV Wallet Helps in Crafting Your CV or Resume 

CV Wallet not only makes job hunting easier but also provides invaluable support in preparing a CV or a resume. The Careers Hub provides tailored advice on structuring your CV or resume, while the automated job application feature ensures your document reaches the right employers.

Moreover, the blue tick verification system assures potential employers of the validity of your qualifications and experience, thus adding credibility to your CV or resume. By securely storing your career data, you can easily update and customise your documents as required.

In essence, CV Wallet serves as a personal career assistant, helping you craft an effective CV or a resume while simplifying the job application process.



Understanding the difference between a CV and a resume is essential for any job seeker. Whether you choose a CV's comprehensive detail or a resume's concise relevance will depend on your career stage, the industry you're in, and the geographic location of your job application.

But whatever your choice, CV Wallet is here to assist. With its innovative suite of tools, this app takes the guesswork out of job applications and provides a platform for a more efficient, effective job search.

Ready to take your career to the next level?

CV Wallet is the world's first career management app. Our suite of tools is built to make finding your dream job faster and easier.

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