Best Resume Writer Tips: CV or Resume, What’s the Difference?

National Experts in Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Best Resume Writer Tips: CV or Resume, What’s the Difference?

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /

When it comes to applying for a job, most of us in the United States refer to a resume as the document used for detailing our past experiences, educational background and skills to demonstrate qualifications for a key position.

However, for some professions, including scientific and medical, employers will want a curriculum vitae, or CV.

And just to make it more confusing, in many countries overseas, a resume is also referred to as a CV.

So, you may be wondering, “How do I know which one to use and how much information to include?” The answer all depends on the position and field you are applying for and where the employer is located.

Here we will explain the differences between a resume, US CV and international CV.

The Resume

A resume is typically no longer than 1 to 2 pages. It focuses primarily on the past 5 to 10 years. Information is succinct and focused to demonstrate why you make a perfect fit for the job, and highlights specific strengths, skills and accomplishments.

The International CV

An international CV is generally similar to a resume but may consist of certain personal details that most US employers would not want.

For instance, an international CV may include one’s nationality, date of birth, marital status and other personal information, and sometimes a personal photo. Accepting an application provided with such information in the US may put an employer at risk for grounds of discrimination, so you would not do that on a resume. However, for international jobs, it is expected.


In the United States, a CV is a completely different kind of resume and is typically used for academic, scientific, research and medical positions.  The chief difference is that the CV details your complete job history, even if it goes back 30 years. Clearly a CV like this can be many pages.

You would also include publications, presentations, awards, honors and affiliations. In short, the US CV is your entire career history.

So now when someone requests a CV from you, you will know what they are referring to.