CV vs Resume Differences

Is there a difference between a CV and a Résumé

Today many candidates in Australia use the term résumé and Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) interchangeably but they are different. Both are used for job applications and if applying for roles internationally it is especially important to understand which one is the preferred approach and in which country.

The most obvious difference is the length of the document and although they have the same basic objective ie; to sell your capacities for a specific role honestly and factually, they were originally intended for somewhat differing use.

The following is a brief explanation of the origins and a recommendation for current day use for the Resume and CV.


The word résumé comes from the French word résumé meaning “summarized” and is substantially shorter than a CV and typically limited to one or two pages. A résumé is best used when there is a need to highlight only those skills, experiences and qualifications that are applicable for a specific type of role.

A resume is a succinct document typically one to two pages as the intended reader is not expected to dwell on your document. Generally a resume document is written for each new job application with the relevant career information highlighted per the role in question in addition to the applicant’s core details such as contact data, current/recent employment and qualifications.

This way the document highlights the best of the applicants details for the job and ensures the best result for pre-screening software used by some recruitment agencies to save time when short listing candidates. The goal of a resume is to make an individual stand out from the competition.

Common Types of Resume

  • Functional resume- lists work experience and skills sorted by skill area or job function
  • Reverse Chronological Resume-lists the candidate’s job experiences in reverse chronological order, generally covering the present to the previous 10 to 15 years
  • Hybrid Resume-typically leads with a functional list of job skills, followed by a chronological list of employers

The strength of the resume is in the regular adaption of the document to the job being applied for. It is in the applicant’s interest to change the resume from one job application to another and to tailor it to the needs of the specific post. A resume doesn’t have to be ordered chronologically, doesn’t have to cover your whole career and can be a highly customisable document.

Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)

Curriculum vitae is a Latin expression which can be loosely translated as [the] course of [my] life and in Australia is a more detailed synopsis. The typical CV document is 4 – 6 pages in length and contains a high level of detail about your achievements as well as your experience and qualifications. When constructing your CV you should note that listed achievements should relate to actual outcomes or results in terms of quantity, quality, revenue and/or productivity. The sequence of facts should be chronological in reverse order of the author’s career and achievements.

Traditionally a CV should include a summary of your educational experience and achievements within such areas as secondary, tertiary and post graduate education, teaching, research, publications and presentations. Related details such as academic and non/academic awards, honours, affiliations, relevant hobbies or charity efforts should also be included.

Due to the comprehensive focus of the CV document they are not habitually rewritten per role rather, they are updated as required over time. However it is often expected that professionals use an abridged version that highlights a career summary, current roles including achievements, accountabilities and length of time in each position. Like Resume’s, many candidates now rewrite their CV for each new job application with optimised keywords designed to ensure inclusion by pre-screening software used by some recruitment agencies.

When applying for roles in Australia you will find the terms CV and resume are often used by advertisers without thought to the difference between the two styles detailed above.

Regardless, take care to ensure that for professional managerial roles always apply more rather than less content and CV approach is recommended. For technical and trades related roles a resume style should be sufficient unless otherwise specified.

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