What is a CV resume?

Recently we’ve been asked “What is a CV resume?”, so I thought I’d try and answer that question in this forum.


Using the terminology CV resume is a mash-up of two similar but distinct types of documents that people use to list their work experience to date, and a CV or a resume is typically submitted as part of a job application.

For the majority of jobs, in most parts of the world, a CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume (résumé) are the same thing, with the terminology used interchangeably, as both are understood to be the same thing.

Either term can be used to describe the document that you send to a prospective employer. Both are career marketing documents that list the chronology of employment and education to date, amongst other things.

In academic circles, and in the USA, a CV tends to be more elaborate, detailed and complex academic-focused document, depending on the role being applied for.

A resume will typically take a format that is either reverse chronological, functional or a hybrid of both.

By definition, curriculum vitae is a Latin expression which can be loosely translated as [the] course of [my] life. The word résumé comes from the French word résumé meaning “summarised” or “summary”.


(updated 2019)


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