CV vs Resume: What’s the difference?

CV vs Resume: What’s the difference?

When applying for jobs, candidates often get stuck on the CV vs Resume debate to decide which one they should submit. The distinction between these two documents is essential to understand when targeting opportunities in Canada.

A CV is in-depth documentation that highlights all academic qualifications and publications. A Canadian resume is a 1-2 page document tailored for a specific job, focusing only on the skills, experience, and education relevant to that position.

Canadian employers generally expect job applicants to provide a resume rather than a detailed academic CV.

This CV vs Resume distinction shows an emphasis on showcasing pertinent skills rather than comprehensive credentials. We’ll review the key differences to help you craft an appropriate document that best suits the hiring manager’s needs.

Differences in a CV vs resume

Having a skill you’ve learned and nurtured over a period of time is very different from your academic merits. You can decide to attain various degrees of learning while, at the same time, building your skills.

However, other industries require specific qualifications when opening a job, and here’s where a CV differs from a resume.

A CV is a comprehensive document of over two pages that covers your entire career history. It presents your full credentials and goes into more detail about your academic background, including courses, theses, dissertations, research, and publications.

They’re known to have fewer formatting restrictions and often include sections like publications, conferences, grants, etc.

A resume is usually kept simple, consisting of 1-2 pages of your most relevant skills and experience for a particular job. It follows more rigid conventions with standard sections like summary, skills, work experience, and measurable impact. Resumes follow stricter formatting norms to fit a particular role or industry.

The meaning of CV

A CV stands for curriculum vitae and is a detailed professional document highlighting a person’s career and qualifications. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive summary of your educational background and other relevant achievements and information.

With your CV, one can get the complete record of your career qualifications through the extensive details on your academic and professional accomplishments.

Some critical elements of a CV include:

  • Contact/personal information
  • Career summary
  • Education
  • Experience (work, internships, volunteer work)
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Skills and abilities
  • Honours and awards
  • Publications, presentations, and projects
  • Other relevant details

The CV highlights expertise and is often expected to be multiple pages in length.

The meaning of a resume

A resume is a formal document that lists your experiences, talents, and professional background concerning the position you are applying for.

Presenting the value of your accomplishments, skills, and abilities to potential employers is the aim of a resume. It is, therefore, especially customized for your job application to meet the demands and specifications of that business.

A resume should include specific components, like your skills, education, work experience, etc. Rather than merely stating job activities, all of these are frequently arranged in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experiences listed first to highlight successes and influence.

When to use a CV vs resume

A CV is the expected document when applying for positions in academia, research, or scientific fields where academic achievements are highly relevant. This includes applications for jobs such as professor, lecturer, researcher, post-doctoral fellow, or other scholarly roles.

CVs are also expected when applying for admission to graduate school programs and in all situations where academic merit and research potential need to be assessed.

A resume is expected when applying for jobs in industry, business, nonprofits, government agencies, or any non-academic setting. Hiring managers want to see how you have utilized knowledge and capabilities from past roles to successfully fill their current requirements.

They expect a tailored, achievement-focused profile on just one or two pages, not a comprehensive CV. Whether seeking an entry-level position or a leadership role, the norm is to craft your resume around each employer’s priorities, not take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Properties of a CV vs resume

Regardless of the differences found in a CV and a resume, there are key characteristics you will find in both of them. They contain highlight sections that detail in-depth information on your education, publications, awards, credentials, research, work experience, skills, and professional affiliations.

The comparison between a CV and a resume clearly represents two different fields of achievement.

Still, they follow the same order of experience from the current to your least current job activities. They omit personal details, grammatical errors, or quantifiable information while composing them.

Summarily, CVs and resumes have significant strengths, are easy to read, and each contains clean and consistent formatting throughout. You are open to sources for global opportunities with either of the two when you’ve written them in the correct format.

Format for writing a successful CV

Different fields have their own specifications for drafting a CV, which must be followed while creating one. Since a CV is academic-focused, there’s still a chance you only have your bachelor’s degree qualification and a few other academic experiences.

That shouldn’t be a limiting factor if you can efficiently tailor your experiences to suit that career path.

Here are the essential guidelines to look out for when writing a CV:

  • Start with your name, address, phone number, email, LinkedIn profile link
  • A professional summary section highlighting qualifications
  • Education section listing degrees, institutions, dates, and key information
  • Your experiences arranged from the most recent engagements to the least
  • Skills/Expertise section showcasing technical abilities and knowledge
  • Publications section with full citation information
  • Presentations/Conferences section listing contributions
  • Honours and Awards section, highlighting accolades
  • Professional Memberships/Affiliations section demonstrating engagement
  • Other sections like Projects, Patents, Languages, and References as needed

Your CV format should list your degree, position titles, organization names, and dates for each entry you make. This would clarify it more as you emphasize achievements, impact, and scope where possible.

It’s important to know that the easier it is for your recruiters to skim through your CV, the better your chance of getting hired.

Therefore, choose a clear, standard font like Arial or Times New Roman while keeping the length to 2–5 pages, depending on your experience level. Before you submit, ensure to carefully proofread for spelling and grammar errors.

Format for writing a successful resume

The differences in the CV vs resume comparison are clear, such that your academic experiences are optional for your resume. The primary objective of your resume is to display your skills. It’s therefore expected that you have those relevant skills specific to that job role before writing your resume.

Here is an effective format and structure to follow when writing a successful resume:

  • An introduction of your name, address, phone number, email, LinkedIn URL
  • Professional profile or summary section (3–4 bullet points highlighting your skills and experience for that target role)
  • Skills section (listing hard and soft skills relevant to the job)
  • Work experience section (company name, job title, employment dates, responsibilities, and achievements)
  • Education section (school name, degree earned, graduation year, academic honours)
  • It is not compulsory, but a list of your volunteer experiences and other certifications and languages is relevant.

The work experience section is a critical component of your resume, allowing you to demonstrate the full range of your skills, accomplishments, and fitness for the role in view.

By specifically showcasing your work achievements that align with the targeted job’s requirements, you establish credibility and trust in the eyes of hiring managers.

Your experiences must come in reverse chronological order within sections of facts or data for quantifiable achievements. Action verbs like managed, created, and led should start with bullet points, and your entire resume should stick to a maximum of 2 pages.

Example of CV vs resume

For better understanding, below is a step-by-step guide on what a CV vs resume should look like.

Sample CV

Jane Doe, BScN, RN

123 Health Street
Toronto, ON, M4B 1B4
(416) 555-0198
[LinkedIn Profile]


A registered nurse with 4 years of experience in acute care treatment is seeking to join the emergency team at Toronto General Hospital.

Specializes in cardiac care with a proven record of providing top-notch patient support and care plan management. Dedicated to delivering high-quality care and contributing to the hospital’s mission of excellence in patient services.

Professional Experience
Registered Nurse, Cardiac Unit
St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON
June 2018–Present

  • Managing caseloads of up to ten patients per shift, providing thorough care to patients with acute and chronic heart problems.
  • Assist with invasive operations, including central line insertions, heart monitoring, and providing medications.
  • Work together with multidisciplinary groups to create and carry out patient care strategies.
  • Inform patients and their loved ones how to prevent and manage their illness.

Registered Nurse, Medical-Surgical Unit
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON
September 2015–May 2018

  • 15% shorter recovery times for patients receiving surgical treatments, thanks to managed pre- and post-operative care.
  • Helped create the policies and procedures for the unit in order to enhance staff productivity and patient outcomes.
  • Acted as a preceptor for new recruits and nursing students, I improved the unit’s orientation course.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN)
Ryerson University, Toronto, ON
September 2011–April 2015

  • Graduated with Distinction, GPA: 3.8/4.0
  • Completed a practicum at Toronto General Hospital, gaining experience in patient assessment and interprofessional collaboration.

Certifications and licenses

Registered Nurse (RN)
College of Nurses of Ontario, 2015–Present

Improved Cardiac Life Support (ICLS) Certification
Heart and Joint Foundation of Canada, 2018

Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
Canadian Red Cross, 2015–Present


  • Proficient in electronic health record (EHR) systems, including EPIC and Meditech.
  • Skilled in IV therapy, phlebotomy, and wound care management.
  • Effective communicator with a compassionate approach to patient care.
  • Strong leadership skills and adept at working in fast-paced environments.

Association membership
Registered Nurses Association in Toronto (RNAT)
Member, 2015–Present

Awards and honours
The Nursing Excellence Award

St. Michael’s Hospital, 2019

Doe, J., & Smith, A. (2017). Improving Patient Outcomes in Cardiac Care Units. Canadian Journal of Cardiac Nursing, 27(3), 15-20.

Conferences and presentations
Integrating Family-Centred Care in Cardiac Units: Presented at the Canadian Association of Cardiac Nurses Annual Conference, Toronto, ON, May 2019.

Volunteer Experience
Volunteer Nurse, Toronto Marathon, providing first aid and medical support, 2017 and 2019

Available upon request.

Sample resume

Jane Doe
Toronto, ON | (416) 555-0198 | | [LinkedIn Profile]

Professional Summary

Innovative and results-driven Social media strategist with over 3 years of experience in content creation, brand building, and developing targeted social media campaigns.

Competent in the use of social analytics tools and metrics analysis to boost traffic and interaction. Devoted to creating captivating stories that improve brand visibility on various channels.

Professional Experience
Social Media Coordinator
Digital Dynamics, Toronto, ON
May 2019–Present

  • Increased Instagram and Facebook following by 150% within one year through targeted ad campaigns and influencer partnerships.
  • Developed and executed a monthly content calendar across social platforms, resulting in a 40% increase in user engagement.
  • Worked in unison with the marketing team to incorporate social media tactics into larger marketing initiatives.
  • Managed social media ad budget, optimizing spend for maximum ROI.

Content Creator and Social Media Specialist
Freelance, Toronto, ON
January 2017–April 2019

  • We partnered with local businesses to create engaging content that amplified brand messaging and increased our digital footprint.
  • Applied SEO best practices to raise search engine ranks and increase content visibility.
  • Monitored social trends and conducted market research to inform content strategies.
  • Provided comprehensive monthly reports on social media performance and growth analytics.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
September 2013–June 2017

Key Skills
Social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest
Analytics Tools: Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Hootsuite, and Buffer
Content Management Systems: WordPress, Joomla
Graphic Design: Adobe Creative Suite, Canva
Search Engine Optimization strategies
Strong verbal communication skills

Social Media Marketing Certification, Hootsuite Academy, 2018
Google Analytics Individual Qualification, Google, 2019

Professional Development
I attended Social Media Week Toronto in 2018 and 2019.
I completed the “Social Media Marketing Mastery” course on Udemy in 2020.

Photography and visual storytelling
Podcasting about social media trends
Blogging on digital marketing strategies

Available upon request.


For a CV vs resume, list your entire career with details suitable for academic or research roles in the CV. A resume should be a brief showcase of your skills and achievements, tailored to the specific job, highlighting why you’re the right fit.

Your CV can be lengthy, but your resume should be kept short and direct to the point.

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FAQs about cv vs resume

Should I customize my cv for each application?

You should. Resumes and CVs should be customized to emphasize the skills most suitable for each position.

Is a cover letter needed with my CV or resume?

Yes, a cover letter is often expected. It provides an opportunity to explain your suitability for the position in more detail.

What file type should I use to submit a CV or resume?

Save and submit as a PDF to preserve the original formatting and style.


December 10, 2023
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