CV vs Resume In Australia: Follow The Correct Rules

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Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: December 18th, 2023

cv vs resume australia
Arielle Executive - Sydney, Melbourne, New York

Last updated: December 18th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Is there a difference between a CV and a resume in Australia? Yes. While job seekers use the terms “CV” and “resume” interchangeably, you’ll compete more successfully in the Australian market if you’re aware of their differences.

Knowing the nuances will help you pitch yourself to Australian employers with impact and confidence – especially if you’re applying for roles in academia or overseas.

In this article, I will show you the critical differences between resumes and CVs and help you decide which will be more effective at helping you land a great job.

By the way, do you want to ensure that your resume hits all the right chords? Consider using my:

Resumes vs CVs: Why Is There A Difference?

For those of you who have ever wondered (I know I have), curriculum vitae is a Latin phrase loosely translated to “course of life”.

It provides an all-encompassing view of your life’s work, is long (over 3 pages) and is used to apply for academic and research roles.

A resume, meanwhile, provides a curated view of your career.

Taken directly from the French word résumé, which means ‘summary’ or ‘abstract’.

A good resume is shorter (between 2 and 5 pages) and customised for each job application. It focuses on the skills, experience and achievements most relevant to your next career step.


Apart from listing bare facts, a resume contains a narrative that sells you for a specific role. It emphasises your strengths while de-emphasising or repositioning your weaknesses.

(Related: Which Font Is Best For An Australian Resume?)

Key Differences Between Resumes And CVs In Australia.

Check out these differences to clear up any confusion.

LengthA CV can be anywhere from 2-8 pages, whilst a resume is typically 2-5 pages.
PurposeA CV lists detailed facts. You update it over time as you gain more skills and experience, providing a complete overview of your career. The purpose of a resume, meanwhile, is to sell your ability to perform a specific role.
LayoutA CV starts with education and academic achievements at the top of the page. A resume, on the other hand, gets straight to the point, starting with work experience and moving on to education, awards, etc.

A CV and a resume should be in reverse chronological order (most recent roles and achievements first).

Do All Countries Follow The Same Naming Protocol?

No. Here’s where it gets tricky:

  • Australia, India and South Africa: CV and resume are used interchangeably but with a preference for the latter. In both cases, it refers to what I’ve defined as a resume.
  • US and Canada: resumes are used for nearly all job applications. CVs are only used when applying for academic/research positions or roles overseas.
  • UK, Ireland, Europe and New Zealand: CVs are used for the majority of job applications. However, they resemble what I’ve described here as a resume. An ‘academic CV’ is the term that refers to a traditional CV. Still with me?

Expert Tip.

Most recruiters understand the fluid, interchangeable nature of the terms. Using one or the other in conversation won’t negatively impact your job application.

What To Include In A CV.

A CV offers a broad scope and comprehensive insight into your professional offering. Here’s what you should include in a traditional CV:

  • Contact information.
  • Research objectives.
  • Professional profile or personal statement.
  • Education.
  • Professional, academic or board appointments.
  • Published work (books, blogs, peer-reviewed publications, articles).
  • Awards and honours.
  • Public speaking events.
  • Conferences attended.
  • Mentoring experience.
  • Languages.
  • Vocational memberships.
  • References.

(Related: How To Write A Killer Resume Headline).

What To Include On An Australian Resume.

The Australian job market is notoriously competitive, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. You must ensure that your resume ticks all of the boxes that the local employers expect.

Unlike a CV, a resume is much more to the point.

It should only contain relevant work experience, skills, certifications and education. Here are some typical inclusions:

  • Contact information.
  • Profile.
  • Recent work experience (up to 15 years).
  • Education.
  • Achievements.
  • Professional associations / extracurricular activities (optional).

Should I Send A CV Or A Resume?

As a general rule, you will use a resume for the vast majority of job applications. Whether you refer to it as a resume or a CV depends on the country you are applying for the role in.

In the UK, Ireland, Europe and New Zealand, use a resume to apply for roles, but call it a CV.

In Australia, India and South Africa, you can use either, but resume is the preferred term, as it is in the US and Canada.

A CV (or academic CV, is typically only used for academic, scientific and research roles, as the recruitment process is far more rigorous and thorough.

I know what you’re thinking.

What happens if you apply for a role at a US company in Europe? Or vice versa?

In this case, adhere to the cultural norms of the country that the company operates in. If in doubt, you can always ask the recruiter or hiring manager for clarification.

(Related: How To Write A CV Australian Recruiters Will Love).

What’s The Benefit Of Creating A CV?

Employers don’t expect you to submit a a CV – unless you apply for an academic role, fellowship or a grant.

That said, having a comprehensive resume record of your entire life’s work is very useful.

Expert Tip.

You can update it once a year and treat it as a master document for creating resumes tailored to specific roles.

Creating it will demand your time upfront, but will save you time when an employer asks you for a resume.

Final Words About CV vs Resume Differences.

Regardless of whether you use a resume or CV, having a career document that encapsulates your professional value is crucial to getting noticed in a crowded job market.

However, creating a resume (or CV) is only part of the process to land your next exciting career opportunity. Today, simply sending out written applications for roles is simply not enough.

A great career document will help get your foot in the door, but to turn this opportunity into a job offer, you need to clearly articulate the value you offer to future employers

Furthermore, round out your job-seeking strategy by leveraging your professional network, and more importantly, building meaningful connections with recruiters and hiring managers.

In business, these kinds of relationships are worth their weight in gold and can be the difference between being passed over or getting through to the all-important interview round.


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