Surprise! You should have all three.

What’s The Difference Between CVs Resumes and Curricula Vitae
Photo credit: JD Hancock

In the US and Canada, it’s a resume.

In Europe and Israel, it’s a CV.

In reality, no matter where you live, you should have both and a curriculum vitae.

Wait. What?

Let’s start with the fun part.

Before reading on, true or false: resumes and CVs are the same thing?

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The definitions

According to Wikipedia:


“also spelled resumé or resume,[1] is a document used by persons to present their backgrounds and skills. Résumés can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often they are used to secure new employment.[2] A typical résumé contains a summary of relevant job experience and education.”

CV or Curriculum Vitae

“provides an overview of a person’s experience and other qualifications. In some countries, a CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment.”

At a glance, CV = resume.

However, this second Wikipedia entry goes on to explain that in some places and industries, a curriculum vitae is a much longer and more complete document of your life with emphasis on your career, saying that “curriculum vitae…  can be loosely translated as [the] course of [my] life.

So CV = resume, but a curriculum vitae is something else.

CV = resume, but a curriculum vitae is something elseClick To Tweet

Your curriculum vitae contains your work and educational history, while your resume or CV should only mention your most impressive, relevant moments.

This is a concept that you can benefit from regardless of your place or industry.

Here’s how:

Use your curriculum vitae as a base document from which you excerpt your resume (or CV, depending on where you’re job searching).

Here’s why:

3 Reasons you need a Curriculum Vitae

poet resume cartoon

1. Track record

Maintaining your curriculum vitae as you advance through your career forces you to keep track of your accomplishments, failures and lessons in one centralized location.

It’s also best to do this regularly while memories are fresh and you still have access to the people, computers and materials you might need to record everything properly.

That said, even if you wait until your next job search to update your curriculum vitae, that’s still ok because it will force you to look back and refresh your memory about past work that may be discussed in your next job interview.

2. CV/Resume facilitation

By maintaining your curriculum vitae, you’re maintaining a place to select, copy & paste from when writing your resume, making an updated resume easier and quicker to compile, especially when you need to do it each time you target a different company.

3. Work portfolio

By making resume writing easier, your curriculum vitae also makes it easier to quickly build a work portfolio, since you already know which projects to include: the ones mentioned in your resume.

So whether you call it a resume or a CV, use your full curriculum vitae to make your resume the hard-hitting, impressive personal sales document that it needs to be.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kate

    I’m working on my resume constantly and it is amazing how often I need a refresher in how to do it.

  2. Jacob Share

    Kate- yet another sign how the pace of tech innovation is accelerating 🙂

  3. Nik

    Isn’t it a coincidence that CV can also be an acronym for Curricula Vitae? Isn’t this another attempt by recruiters and HR “careerists” trying to make a science (or money) out of child-play (chicken feed)?

    1. Jacob Share

      It’s more a question of everyday language not always matching actual definitions

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