Job resume and CV – What is the difference between the two?

Job resume and CV – What is the difference between the two?

Key differences between a job resume and a CV
Key differences between a job resume and a CV

Job resumes and CVs are often mentioned in the same breath in the job descriptions. As such, many of us end up using the terms interchangeably, paying little attention to the actual difference between the two. However, the difference between a job resume and CV is pretty important and profound. And, knowing it can really up your job search strategy.

Looking at CV and job resume

CV or Curriculum Vitae is derived from Latin and means ‘course of life’. It is an in-depth document depicted your achievements and credentials. The length of the CV is not defined nor is there any particular structure that you need to follow for it.

A job resume, on the other hand, is a more concise document summarising your professional achievements and experiences. It has a very defined structure and is generally a page long. It is not as detailed as the CV.

However, the difference in the length is not the only thing that sets a job resume apart from a CV. Here are some other things that do the trick.

Resume – to the point. CV – elaborate

A job resume is generally to the point. Stating facts and number in short, crisp sentences without indulging in long paragraphs. The term resume in itself means ‘summary’ in English and is thus a summary of who you are on the professional front.

The language of the resume is very formal and direct. Flowery sentences and business lingos are generally avoided to maintain the cutting effectiveness of a job resume.

A CV, on the other hand, is an elaborative summary. It covers in details your work experience (includes internships) and what all you did during your term. It further talks about your education, what you learned, what inspired you and so on.

A resume is more job oriented while a CV isn’t

It is an almost given fact that recruiters spend only a few seconds going through a job resume before deciding whether they want to discard it or invest more time in it. As such, a job resume really needs to pop up for the recruiters to take notice of it. This increases the urgency of having the resume focus more on the job and the job description rather than anything else.

In fact, an important resume writing tip is to ensure that you are using the keywords and focusing on the key points being raised in the job description. This will allow your resume to stand out and capture the attention you desire.

A CV, on the other hand, is more focused on the difference you have made so far. As in, the places you worked in, the experiences you gained and what exactly where your contribution to it. It should also include what you learned during your journey. In that manner, a CV is more of a chance for you to speak for yourself and connect with the recruiters on a different level.

Length of the CV highlights accomplishment

We have gone over and over how a job resume need not be too long lest it bores the recruiters. As such, the focus of every job resume is on being crisp and to the point. In fact, to ensure your resume is not too long, you should cut of experiences, achievements and contributions that don’t directly add to your candidature.

With a CV, the experience is completely different. Here the longer it is, the better it would look to the recruiter. A CV can be as lengthy as it pleases you, as long as whatever you are writing is not a lot of fluff and is actually relevant. In a CV you need to not just mention the name of the project you might have done in college or undertaken during your internship period, but you can also mention the name of the mentor under whom you worked and the research and experiments you did. If you made a particular mistake that helped you learn and do better, then you should also mention that.

A resume needs to be customized

Every new job opening, every change in job description means that you need to re-work and customize your job resume accordingly. Your job resume needs to be tailor-made according to the current job opening for which you are applying.

Your CV, on the other hand, is such a broad description and focuses on so many different things that you don’t need to cut and tailor it according to each new job. You can use the same CV almost everywhere.


A job resume and a CV are two very different things with very different points of focus. However, both are equally important in introducing you to a potential employer and setting the tone for future interactions.