Resume versus CV – describing the differences

What’s the difference between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV) – Resume versus CV?

This depends on where you are living and what you do for a living. There are as many explanations as there are different ways to use a CV or Resume. There are although some simple rules in the discussion about a Resume versus a CV. Below we will try to enlighten you and give you an insight in the biggest differences.

Differences from Geographical point of view

If you are living in Europe including the United Kingdom, you will be able to use the terms CV and Resume rather interchangeably. There is little difference between them for people living in EU/UK. Although CV is more used than Resume here. If you live in the United States, the differences between a Resume and a CV can be big; you could say that a CV in a way is a special type of Resume. In North America, most professionals in the business world would always have a Resume, being a two pager, consisting of the most important information about you and your expertise. If you are working in more specialized areas like highly academic jobs within for instance research, medicine or similar, you would probably know a CV as a presentation of everything that you have done in your career including, all work experience, all educations, diplomas, honours, project you worked on and concepts created in your work. A CV will be a substantial longer document with all this information.

Differences in the Length of a CV / Resume

There are off course more specific differences then how many pages a CV/Resume would consist off. Depending on if you have for instance listings of scholarly accomplishments, publications (academic or business), articles this would be considered a CV. On the other hand more business achievements, skill, and credentials would be part of a Resume. A basic guideline for a North American Resume would be a 1-2 page document consisting of the most important information, trying to sell you to potential employer. A North American CV, as used mostly for academic positions, will contain a substantial amount of information about everything that you have done, and all educations you have, and typically consist of several pages. Instead of a Resume which is the major accomplishments you have done the CV will have all the relevant and mandatory achievements and credentials. In EU/UK, CVs can be very short or extremely long, depending on what you want to achieve and what you want to share. It is mostly depending on what position you are applying for.

It is rather confusing what to do

It can be confusing what to do, but instead of just trying to do the right thing, consider sending an email to the employer and simply ask for what level of details they are asking for and offer them further details on request. The only thing that can happen is that they will remember your name and this might give you an opportunity to be seen as professional because you asked what they were looking for – an interview opportunity might not be as far away as it was if you had not asked or if you had made the wrong assumptions and had send your CV/Resume in the wrong format / level of detail. You should also be aware of the fact that the cover letter or the application will be seen as you trying to get the employer to read your CV/Resume to see if your competences are the right ones for the position.

Reference guide to the major differences between a CV and a Resume

North America

CV or Curriculum Vitae

  • Typically 6-15 pages (can be even bigger)
  • Usually used within academic or science
  • Complete listing of all achievement and experience
  • All elements are thoroughly described
  • Must be read thoroughly and not easy to get a simple overview


  • Typically 1-2 pages (max. 3 pages)
  • Usually used within business (administration)
  • Summary of accomplishments, credentials and achievements
  • Highlighting the important elements
  • Easy to get an overview


CV or Curriculum Vitae

  • Can range from a simple 1-2 pages to as long as necessary
  • Can be used in any area of business
  • Depending on what job you are applying for it can be detailed or simple


  • Not used in Europe

Main objective

The main objective of a CV or Resume is to give the employer all necessary information for him to create an overview of the person applying for a job so that he can decide whom to choose for an interview. If ever in doubt, call the potential employer and ask them what they need then you already have a “toe” in the door.

Let Comoto help you do it the easy way

Remember that when using Comoto, you can always put all information about yourself and you work life in there and then just pick the most important for the position at hand. Easy and convenient create a specific CV / Resume for you. Have multiple CV / Resume ready for you to use in different application. You can even have them in different languages and different specifications. When using our CV Templates you can export to these and then make minor adjustments afterwards, taking the hassle out of making CV / Resumes.