CV vs. Resume: What’s the Difference?

Resume Canada

Even if you have never looked for a job in Canada, you probably know that expectations and requirements for you and the way you are expected to apply might differ from your country of origin. The biggest question that arises before applying for a job is, do I apply with a resume or a CV (Curriculum Vitae)? Well, we are here to help you with that!

To start off, Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “course of life”. On the contrary, resume is French for “summary” and there are some big differences between the two.  Let’s dive into the subject a bit deeper and talk about the differences and similarities of a CV and resume.

Similarities and differences

We do understand where the confusion between the two might come from as there are still a couple similarities between them. First, the goal of creating either a CV or resume is to get you an interview. Second, they are both to be tailored for the specific company and job you are applying for. And, finally, third, both of them are aimed at representing you as a perfect candidate.


As we mentioned above, a CV is definitely more detailed than a resume. This is because a CV typically includes an in-depth information about your experience, projects, achievements, education, skills, etc.  A CV can be very lengthy – from 5 to 10 pages. On the contrary, a resume typically contains fewer sections and it is suggested to keep it at two pages long maximum, with one page being ideal. It is advised to limit a resume to outlining highlights of your skills, education and previous relevant work experience.


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Even though both a CV and a resume are tailored to the job or the company you are applying for, your resume should be much more specific to the requirements. The whole idea of a resume is to give its recipient a snapshot of your skills that correspond with the position requirements. When writing a resume you can be selective with what you include and can leave out irrelevant or outdated experience. Remember, you will be adding to your CV over time to include new accomplishments or skills that you have acquired, while continuing to describe your career path.


Last, but not least, another difference between the CV and resume is the order of events. Divided into sections, a CV always lists information in chronological order, whereas a resume lists the most recent education or work experience first.


When to use what?

First, always pay attention to the “How to Apply” paragraph in a job posting as that’s where employers always outline how they prefer candidates to apply. If it is not outlined or it is not clear, you can always contact the employer and ask what documents you should submit.

Generally speaking, if you are pursuing a career in public services or aiming for an academic career, you would typically go for a CV. This is also your best bet if you are in process of changing your career and applying to a job in a different field and do not have relevant work experience. In all other cases, your best bet would be to apply with a carefully crafted resume that will make you stand out.


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