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CV And Resume: The Battle Of Relevancy

CV and Resume

A record of all your professional achievements is a must in today’s job market. After all, opportunities are limitless. Sometimes we go overboard and try multiple things to add as experience to our career path. All these experiences exist in a compiled document called a resume. Or wait, is it called CV? What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

We have seen the terms CV and thrown around liberally in multiple industries. Since the purpose of both documents is to broadcast one’s professional history, what difference does it even make? However, in a competitive world where orienting yourself the right way is the most important thing, it is important to know what document to use between CV and resume.

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Etymology and Origin

To understand what these words exactly mean, exploring the origins of the words is important.


This word originates from the French verb resumer, which means “to sum up something.” In the 21st century, a resume is a document to secure new employment. The first recorded use of the word can be traced back to Leonardo da Vinci. His definition of a resume was a formal letter written to his employer in the 15th century. The letter contained a description of him. For the longest time, a resume was merely a shortlist of someone’s objective details such as name, nationality, ethnicity, height, etc. We now refer to that as a biodata.

Some features of the resume from the past, like brevity and exact details, remain even now. However, the content of the resume has drastically changed from bulleted biodata to succinct descriptions of professional experience.


CV is not a word, it is an abbreviation. It stands for ‘curriculum vitae’, Latin for a comprehensive account of one’s life’s work. It is a summation of the words ‘curriculum’, which is an educational agenda, and ‘vital’, which is a participle for the word ‘life’. This format originated in the United Kingdom.

It is important to note that from the definition itself, CV is a long-form document that contains detailed information with respect to your professional (including academic) history, while a resume is a shorthand document that sketches a rough picture of all of your employment.

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Current Usage


A resume represents a dynamic, hands-on, and rapidly changing profession. Some examples include the IT industry. As a standard, the resume is used in its shorthand format only in North and South American countries. In countries like Canada and the United States, a resume is widely known as a short document provided during employment. If a resume is lengthy, American or Canadian employers don’t tend to consider the candidate.


A CV is used to compile a decade’s worth of professional work. Hence, research, academics, and law are some of the most relevant fields for this document. CV leans more towards the academic sides including short descriptions of publications, academic grades, and courses taken. In North and South American countries, a CV is prepared if a person wishes to pursue a master’s degree or research-based job.

However, a CV is the only document in the United Kingdom and most parts of Europe that people use for professional representation. In fact, there is a European Union CV Format available for people who are not aware of how to use it in Europe. Both regular job-seeking and academic work demand a CV in Europe. The format is generally small. However, an extra page is allowed for the addition of any publications or other academic achievements.

In many parts of Asia including India, these two terms are interchangeable, even in notable industries. However, it is important to maintain the integrity of the documents and note the differences between CV and resume.


CV and Resume: the nitty-gritty


A resume is short-form. It is not more than two pages. There are different ways to model it. A CV, on the other hand, can even be ten pages, depending on the accomplishment that an academic person chooses to include.


A resume is rather abrupt and blunt in the amount of information presented. It shows only the most important achievements and the most relevant experiences. A CV translates to applications for ambiguous, research-based jobs and colleges. Hence there is no limitation on the relevancy of information that can be added.

Common Criteria

Some things that are common in both documents are name, contact information, birth date, graduation scores from every level of academia, and an objective. The objective serves as an introduction to the person’s aims and ambitions, including what the person wishes to show from their professional reservoir.

To get the best out of your application, it is important to recognize which form of the document is relevant to the job profile you seek. After going through multiple transformations, both the documents are modifiable according to the industry the job lies in. The only limiting factors are geographical location, position, and company requirements that need to be looked into, before choosing between CV and resume.

Sources: Indeed, The Muse, Wikitionary


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