Define ‘Resume’: It’s What You Need to Apply for a Job

When applying for a job, you’re usually required to send a formal document with the description of your employment history, education, skills, and other aspects, which will allow a recruiter to make a conclusion regarding your suitability for a certain position.

People in the world use mainly two terms to refer to this document, including ‘resume’ and ‘CV’. Are there only differences in spelling of these terms or more things distinguishing one from the other? Let’s define ‘resume’ and compare it with ‘CV’ to find out the answer to this question.

The Difference between the Terms

First of all, note that people use these two terms depending on territory, and while you can hear ‘CV’ in the UK, you’ll have to prepare a resume to get a job in an American company. At the same time, if an applicant wishes to work in Australia or South Africa, one can use both terms considered as synonyms there and used interchangeably to refer to a concise document used to apply for a job. Below, you’ll find more information on these terms to get a clear idea of how they differ one from the other.

What Is a Resume?

Let’s have a look at the definition of a resume. It’s a concise, formal, usually one-page long document, which aims at making an applicant stand out from the crowd. Such a document should be adapted to a particular job position.

It’s not obligatory to order it chronologically and it does not have to cover all your employment history. In essence, it’s a highly customizable document.

Find out about the four main types of resumes:

  1. Chronological. Here you’ll list work experience in chronological order;
  2. Functional. It’s a skill-based document;
  3. Combination. It combines the first two types;
  4. Targeted. It’s a highly customized document created for a particular job position.

What Is a CV?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitæ, which in Latin means “course of life.” It’s also a formal document that can include comprehensive information about your achievements, education, and work experience. The length of this document can be over two pages. The standard requirement for a CV include, that it should be:

  1. Organized chronologically;
  2. Easy for overviewing an applicant’s working career.

You do not have to adapt this document for different job positions, but only need to add new information in chronological order.

Differences between the Two Terms

After reading the information mentioned above, you may understand what these two papers are, but just to make it clear, we will outline the main differences between them:

• The length;

• The purpose;

• The layout.

A resume presents a concise summary of your skills, experience, and education which can be up to two pages, while a CV is a more detailed description of the standard fields which can go far beyond two pages.

What to Choose?

Usually, the candidates do not have to worry about choosing something, because employers provide this information in job descriptions. However, if it’s not mentioned, decide on this matter based on different factors, including those provided below.


Choose a type of document based on where you wish to apply. As we have mentioned before, people use resumes in the USA and Canada, while CVs are typically required internationally, including in the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, and Europe.

Job Position

Even in America and Canada, it’s preferable to prepare a CV when applying for certain job positions. For instance, this document may be used by Ph.D. candidates, teachers applying with universities, and in other fields. Also, people use CVs in medical professions and when it’s important to highlight your research experience.

At the same time, resumes rarely replace CVs, except for cases when living in Great Britain or Europe an applicant needs to apply with an American company.


The main purpose of a CV is to provide detailed information about your career, while a resume aims at summarizing your skills and work experience. Although both terms mean a document prepared to apply for a job, the latter allows overview of the candidate’s information.


Before applying for a job position, find out the requirements. If no clear information has been found in the job description, then make a decision based on the job position and region of the company. While in some countries, these two terms are used interchangeably, they are two different documents that have different purposes. All in all, it’s recommended to have drafts of both versions that you can send, depending on the requirements for the job description.