CV vs. Resume: Most Important Differences (With Examples!)

CV vs. Resume: Most Important Differences (With Examples!)
JobStreet content teamupdated on 28 July, 2023

You might be applying for a job and have been asked to submit your “resume” or “CV”. This is often the first step to landing your dream job. However, we tend to confuse these two.

You might be wondering, what does each mean? Are they simply different terms for the same thing, or are they different altogether? Let’s clear the air. In this article, we demystify the "CV vs. resume" confusion once and for all. We'll explain what each term means, give tips on how to craft an effective CV or resume, provide examples, and highlight common mistakes to avoid.

CV and resume: What's the difference?

CV and Resume filling up on the hirer's desk

Many of us treat these terms as interchangeable or synonymous. However, these are two very different things.

Primarily, most job applications require a resume – a brief summary of your qualifications. A CV, on the other hand, is more detailed and comprehensive.

Knowing the differences between the two could be your ticket to your dream job. Understanding which one to use can significantly increase your chances of getting hired.

What is a CV?


“CV” is an acronym for “Curriculum Vitae”, a Latin phrase that translates to the “course of one’s life”. Typically, a CV is lengthier, as it covers the entire course of your professional and educational experience.

A CV should accurately reflect your career, detailing each of your stops and key accomplishments along the way.

How long should a CV be?

A CV is much longer than an average resume, often more than two pages. While there’s no set maximum length, some CVs can reach as many as 10 pages, depending on your career and scholastic experiences.

Purpose of a CV

The contents of a CV are more extensive because they’re typically used when applying for roles in academia or highly specialised jobs in government. These require a complete picture of your entire career and educational journey. Make your CV stand out by including your relevant studies, projects, positions held, and key accomplishments.

Sections of a CV

Your CV should contain these sections:

1. Personal information

This provides a short introduction to the employer or university official reading your CV. It should include your name, address, contact information, and any additional relevant information, such as your nationality, date of birth, or marital status.

2. Education

In this section, mention your educational background, additional school-related qualifications, papers you wrote, honours received, and other achievements.

3. Professional experience

Detail your work experience as comprehensively as possible. Include relevant internships, promotions, and programmes or projects that you were involved in. Describe each job or position, detailing your duties and accomplishments.

4. Skills

List your skills based on your degrees and courses you’ve taken.

5. Publications and presentations

If you’re an academic, list all of your published work and subjects covered in each research work or article. Mention any lectures, presentations, or public speaking engagements to strengthen your case as an expert in your field.

6. Honours and awards

List all your awards, grants, and other significant citations in your career.This list indirectly endorses your work and qualifications.

7. Professional affiliations

Include all your affiliations, especially if you hold a significant position within them. Being part of a professional group can add prestige to your qualifications.

Example of a CV


Contact Information

Mobile number: 013-2517659

Email: [email protected]

Nationality: Malaysian

Marital Status: Married


Masters in Politics and Communication

Omega University

Thesis: Media Ethics in the Age of Social Media

Bachelor of Arts in Communication

Delta University

GPA: 4


Professor in Media Studies

Zeta University

Courses Taught: Intro to Media and Culture; Social Media in Everyday Life; Media Solidarities in the Age of Global Crisis


  • Advanced knowledge in media ethics
  • Advanced knowledge in sociology
  • Teaching
  • Public speaking


Wong, T.O. (2021). "The Secondary Contagion of Stigmatization: Racism and Discrimination in the Pandemic Moment". Social Science Research Council Media Well.

Wong, T.O. & Lopez, D. (2020). "The Media (Studies) of the Pandemic Moment: Introduction to the 20th Anniversary Special Issue". Television & New Media 21(6): 1-7.

Ong, T.O. & Mills, S (eds). (2020). Special Issue: "Intellectual and Institutional Turbulence in Media Studies: 20th Anniversary Issue of Television & New Media". Television & New Media 21: 6


Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Awardee 2022 (one of 28 scholars selected in the United States). Project: Human Costs of Disinformation. September 2022 to August 2024.

Principal Investigator. "Social Media Influencers in Contexts of Medical Populism". Media Ecosystems Group / Gates Foundation. September 2021 to January 2022.


Founder: DevComm Global Network

Member: World Media Consortium, Asian Media Association

What is a resume?


“Resume” comes from the French word “Résumé,” which means “to summarise”. A resume is a concise snapshot of your accomplishments and qualifications.

How long should a resume be?

Since a resume should be brief, it should not exceed two pages. Ideally, fit all of your relevant experiences on a single page.

Purpose of a resume

Resumes are primarily used in business and non-academic positions where a brief yet compelling snapshot of your career trajectory is needed. Its purpose is to quickly show recruiters your skills, experiences, and achievements that make you the ideal candidate for the position.

Most jobs in Malaysia would only require the job applicant to submit a resume instead of a CV.

Sections of a resume

A typical resume contains the following sections:

1. Contact information

Just like in a CV, provide your name, phone number, email address, and physical address (though this may be optional depending on location).

2. Objective or summary

Include a brief statement about your career goals and how you aim to benefit the company. This can be in the form of a career objective or professional summary. Keep it concise and tailored to the job you are applying for.

3. Education

List your educational qualifications, starting with the most recent. Include the name of the institutions, degree earned, and the dates you attended. If you’re a recent graduate with limited work experience, this section can include relevant coursework, projects, or other notable accomplishments. You may include your Grade Point Average (GPA) score, as well as extra-curricular activities that may be relevant to the job you’re applying for.

4. Professional experience

Unlike the CV, your work history should be succinct. Begin with the most recent job and work backward. Include your job title, the name of the company, and dates you worked there. Add a few bullet points detailing your most significant accomplishments and responsibilities during your tenure.

5. Skills

This is where you highlight the specific skills that make you a good fit for the job. These can be both hard skills, like proficiency in a foreign language or software, and soft skills, like problem-solving or communication. Today, many employers appreciate soft or transferable skills like leadership and multitasking.

6. Certifications and licences

List any professional certifications, licences, or notable credentials that are relevant to the job.

7. Awards and honours

Including an awards and honours section can set you apart from other candidates and display a proven track record of excellence in your field.

8. Volunteer experience

The volunteer experience section is a great way to showcase your transferable skills, dedication, and community involvement – even if they were not in a corporate capacity. You can mention all your pro bono or volunteer work, especially if it shows your capacity for leadership, organisation, and teamwork.

Resume example


Contact Information

Mobile number: 013-2517659

Email: [email protected]


Driven and detail-oriented manager with 3 years of experience at an export warehouse, growing on-time client deliveries by 13%. Looking to leverage my skills and experience in managing ABC Corporations’ daily operations and meeting its business targets.


Delivery Supervisor

XYZ Export Trading, 2017-2020

  • Directed the operational workflow of delivery and logistics staff
  • Increased on-time client deliveries by 13%


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Alpha University, 2008-2012

  • GPA: 3
  • Editor-in-chief of the university publication
  • President of the Business Administration Students’ Society



  • Project management
  • Organisational skills
  • Knowledge in creating operational charts and workflows
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office


  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Attention to detail
  • Delegation of tasks
  • Giving feedback
  • Planning
  • Teamwork
  • Patience

Key differences between a CV and a resume

A jobseeker smiling to her job interview while holding her resumeAn infographic on key differences of CV and resume

When to use a CV

1. Academic positions

If you are applying as a professor or similar position within an academic institution

2. Research positions

Roles like PhD student, research assistant, or research associate require a detailed CV.

3. International positions

In European Union countries, job applicants usually submit a CV. However, note that CVs and resumes are often used interchangeably there.

4. Creative or artistic positions

Jobs that require impressive portfolios or comprehensive work descriptions would suit a CV.

When to use a resume

1. Business and industry positions

Common corporate jobs, such as in Marketing, Customer Service, Finance, and Sales.

2. Government positions

Certain government services roles, like social security and local government services, require resumes.

3. Non-profit positions

Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and foundations often prefer a brief resume.

4. Internships and entry-level positions

Fresh graduates can apply for internships and entry-level jobs with a concise resume.

How to write an effective CV

1. Tailor your CV to the job

On the topic of how to write a skills-based CV, Andrew Morris, director of Queensland and Western Australia at Robert Half, emphasises that a CV should push your qualifications for the specific job opening. Therefore, highlight the skills required by the position or programme.

2. Showcase your academic and research achievements

Include your Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) result, degrees, research work, and other academic achievements prominently.

3. Highlight achievements and contributions

Mention awards or grants received to show your impact in your field.

4. Detail skills and certifications

CVs establish credentials and credibility. Hence, include all your knowledge, expertise, skills, and relevant certifications.

How to write an effective Resume

1. Tailor your resume to the job

Always adapt your resume to the job description and requirements.

2. Prioritise relevant work experience

Place pertinent work experience at the front. Use key words from the job ad to increase your chances of getting hired.

3. Highlight achievements and contributions

According to Peter Noblet, senior regional director at Hays, on how to know if your resume is right, the key responsibilities and unique selling points must be emphasised in your resume. Detail the biggest and most successful projects you were involved in and your role in their success.

4. Feature skills and certifications

List down your skills, but also explain how you apply them. For Roy Tan, a project manager at Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) Singapore, it’s all about “the most difficult challenges they (jobseekers) have been through, what was the technical skill set that they use, (and) how that individual works through that role.”

Tips for formatting a CV or Resume

A job interviewer talking to a jobseeker during job interview while holding her resume

1. Use a clear and easy-to-read font

Stick to Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, or Garamond. For readability, avoid font sizes smaller than 11.

2. Organise your sections logically

Your sections should be ordered according to the emphasis point. For CVs, that’s educational background and research credentials. For resumes, it’s work experience. The following sections should support this focus.

3. Use bullet points to highlight important information

This makes your key details easier to read and recall.

4. Keep it concise and error-free

The way you write and organise your CV or resume reflects your attention to detail. So, don’t hit “send” until you have double-checked every single detail.

For resumes, one to two pages is common practice. CVs, on the other hand, usually range from 3 to 10 pages. You may optimise your resumes and CVs by reducing clutter and highlighting only relevant jobs to the role you're vying for.

Common mistakes to avoid

1. Using the wrong format

Avoid informal or overly artistic formats if you’re applying for corporate jobs, and too formal formats for creative or artistic positions.

2. Including irrelevant information

Mentioning information that’s not required for the job will only make your CV or resume unnecessarily longer.

3. Making grammatical and spelling errors

These errors can suggest a lack of attention to detail or poor communication skills.

4. Not tailoring your CV or resume to the job

Sending the same CV or resume to all employers, regardless of job requirements, can give the impression of a lack of attention to job requirements.


CVs and resumes both showcase your qualifications for the job or programme you’re applying for. But CVs are longer and more detailed, designed for academic positions or programmes. Resumes are more concise, highlighting the key points of your career for corporate or other non-academic roles.

Knowing the differences between the two can ensure you apply for a job with the appropriate document. Use a CV for positions or programmes in academia, artistic institutions, or specialised government roles. For business, corporate, or industrial jobs, write a resume instead.


  1. What’s the difference between a CV and a resume?
    A CV, longer and for academic roles, gives a complete career summary. A resume, shorter and for corporate or non-academic jobs, gives a brief career overview.
  2. When should I use a CV instead of a resume?
    Use a CV for academic jobs or  research or study programmes. Use a resume for all other non-academic jobs. Unless you’re applying for an academic position in a university or a study programme, a resume is your safest choice.
  3. Can I use a CV instead of a resume?
    It’s best not to. Corporate and industry job employers, reviewing many applicants for many positions, may not have time for comprehensive career summaries. A CV, often too lengthy for these employers, may get skipped in favour of a more concise resume.
  4. How long should my CV or resume be?
    CVs typically range from three to 10 pages long, depending on credentials. Resumes, on the other hand, should only be one or two pages long.
  5. How should I format my CV or resume?
    Lead your CV with academic qualifications and your resume with work experience. The following sections should support these main credentials. Use readable fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri, and use bullet points for important information.
  6. How can I make my CV or resume stand out to employers?
    Feature skills and experiences relevant to the job. Emphasise experiences leading to success or awards. Showcasing your skills’ relevance to job requirements can help distinguish you among jobseekers.
  7. Should I tailor my CV or resume for each job application?
    Yes. Customising your CV or resume can show employers you paid close attention to their job ad. This approach gives them ready answers about your qualifications, boosting your chances of getting hired.
  8. What should I include in the education section of my CV or resume?
    Include schools you attended, courses you completed, awards, notable research projects or works, and other recognitions.
  9. How can I highlight my skills on my CV or resume?
    Describe how you used your skills in projects or programmes and their contribution to success. Use the STAR method – detailing the Situation, Task, Action, and Result – to provide specific examples.

Visit JobStreet’s Career Advice page for more career advice and insights. #SEEKBetter jobs by downloading the JobStreet app from the App Store or Google Play so you can get instant access to the latest job opportunities from the top companies in Malaysia.

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