Curriculum Vitae, Resume and Cover Letter: What is the Difference?

In the English-speaking world, a curriculum vitae and a resume are both used to apply for jobs. However, there are some key differences you should know about.

Additionally, a curriculum vitae or resume is almost always accompanied by a cover letter that is specifically tailored to the company and position you are applying for and explains why you, the applicant, would be a good candidate for the position.

Applying for a job
Writing a curriculum vitae or resume

Curriculum Vitae

A CV or curriculum vitae should contain information about your achievements such as volunteer experience, published articles or books, or awards and honors.  It is a longer document than a resume. A CV is ordered in chronological order so that the person viewing the CV can get the full story of a person’s career.

When applying for a job, the CV will always remain the same, and often follows a common format.

You always should provide a cover letter and that letter should should be tailored to the specific job.


On the other hand, a resume is one page document that is meant to be read quickly. The goal is to make the applicant stand out from the competition in the reduced space they have. There is no standard format, instead the applicant adapts their resume to the position and company they are applying to. While it doesn’t need to be ordered chronologically, it should give the company a good idea of your entire career.



Meant to provide a comprehensive view of the applicant’s work history. Meant to make the applicant stand out from her competition.

  • 2+ pages

  • 1 page
Standard layout. No standard layout.
Used in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.

Also prefered in Europe.

Used in the United States and Canada. CVs in these countries are used when applying for an academic position.

Need help writing your CV in English? Or help preparing for job interviews? Find an English teacher at for face-to-face private classes.

Read this post in Spanish

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