By Meghan Morris, Madrid

Before jumping into the differences between American and European CVs, keep in mind that what many Americans refer to as a CV is actually a resume.

Unlike the CV, a resume is one page summarizing education, career history and a bit of other information, including skills and/or hobbies. A CV, on the other hand, is at least two pages and is generally used in the U.S. for academic, medical, research, and teaching positions. The CV chronologically details both education and accomplishments, including journal publications and awards.

Resumes should be tailored to the individual position, whereas a cover letter serves that purpose for a CV. Americans can take creative license with their resumes, as there is no one standard format. Job seekers in media and arts, in particular, can showcase graphic design skills to make their resumes stand out.


To better understand the differences, and to learn how to write a resume or a CV, these tips break down the parts of each.


Many templates are available for free on Microsoft Word or through a quick Google search to avoid wasting time formatting your own.

  • Heading: Personal information: name, address, email, phone number. Make this stand out at the top or side of the page. Use a professional email address, not
  • Education: List expected graduation date if you’re currently in school. Include GPA if it adds to your resume – a 3.8 yes, a 2.8 no.
  • Experience: Work history relevant to your position, including job title, name of employer, city and state and dates of employment. Summarize your accomplishments and results using concise phrases and active verbs, and only use present tense when describing a current position.
  • Skills: Any relevant highlights you bring to the job that are not obvious elsewhere, including but not limited to foreign language, computer skills and certifications.


  • Objective (optional): One sentence about the job you’re seeking.
  • Honors/awards: academic and/or non-academic awards; use a short description if the title is not self-explanatory

Do not include:

  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Children


Again, templates will make creating your first CV much quicker.

  • Personal information: Name, address, telephone (and fax, if appropriate), email, nationality, date of birth
  • Chronological work experience, including date, employer’s name and address, position and responsibilities
  • Education: Date, name, coursework, degree, level in national classification (if appropriate)
  • Personal skills and competencies: languages (broken down by reading, writing and verbal), social skills and competences, organizational skills, technical skills, driving license


  • Additional information, if relevant: publications, other organizations, etc.

What other questions do you have about the differences between a resume and a CV? Comment, tweet or leave us a Facebook post.

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