Being an Aussie gal, I’ve always used these two words interchangeably and not really made a fuss about the particulars of each. There is a difference, but personally I don’t feel it’s terribly important to distinguish between the two – everyone knows what you mean either way. But for arguments sake, let’s take a look at the major distinctions.
CV is an abbreviation for ‘Curriculum Vitae’, the Latin term meaning ‘course of life’. It is a detailed document outlining your complete and chronological career history, education, qualifications, key achievements and anything else noteworthy, such as publications or professional associations. A CV also tends to be a static document, and any application-specific points are captured in a separate cover letter.
A resume is a shorter, summarised version of your CV. It is typically 1-2 pages in length, and is generally customised for a particular role or industry. Resumes need not be chronological, but rather can be used to highlight relevant skills that set you apart from the competition.
As with many other words in the English language, usage around the world tends to differ – in America you will typically be asked to submit a CV, whilst in Britain the use of a resume is favoured. It’s recommended that you adopt the local terminology when applying for a position, but otherwise not something you should be too stressed about!