What’s the Difference Between a Résumé and a CV?

If you’re looking for a startup job, you probably have either a résumé or a CV. What’s the difference? Which one should you have?

Let’s start with résumés!

A Résumé is More Job-Oriented

A résumé is fundamentally for getting one particular job. It is not intended to list all of your publications, educational degrees, and accomplishments. It only includes things that are recent and relevant to the job you are currently applying to.

A Résumé is Usually Only 1 Page Long

A résumé is almost never more than 1 page long. If you have a lot of experience, it may be up to 2 pages long, however, this is not typical.

A Résumé Often Includes an Objective

Many people add an “objective” to their résumé. What’s an objective? It’s just a brief statement about why you’re interested in the particular job.

A Résumé Doesn’t Cover Your Entire Career

Finally, a résumé isn’t supposed to cover your entire career. It should only list the most recent and relevant jobs. These jobs are not necessarily listed in chronological order. Instead, they are listed in order of the relevance to the job you’re applying to.

For example, imagine that you are applying to a software developer job at a small startup. You have previously worked as a software developer for 5 years, so you have a lot of experience. However, for the past 6 months, you have worked as a manager at a small consulting firm.

Even though the consulting job is more recent, you would still put the 5 years of experience as a software developer first on your résumé. Why? Because it’s more relevant to the job you are applying to.

Fundamentally, a résumé is a “living” document. It should change for each job.


Now that you are familiar with résumés, let’s talk about CVs!

A CV is 3 or More Pages

CVs are usually longer than a résumé. A CV typically includes all of your work experiences, accomplishments, educational degrees, publications, awards, and other achievements. Don’t leave anything out!

A CV is in Chronological Order

Unlike a résumé, a CV is in chronological order. Your most recent jobs/work experiences are listed first.

CVs are More Common Outside the U.S.

For the most part, CVs are not used in North America. They are common in the academic world and in the medical field, but otherwise, they are not used in the business or technology world.

Outside the U.S., however, CVs are often used in place of a résumé.


So, the million-dollar question is… should you have a résumé or a CV?

Go With a Résumé!

If you want to work at a startup or other tech company in North America, you’ll want to have a résumé. It is the standard job-seeking document in both the United States and Canada.

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