Difference between CV, Resume & Biodata | By Jubel D’Cruz

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Difference between CV, Resume & Biodata


WE use the words CV, Resume and Biodata interchangeably for a document highlighting skills, education and experience that a candidate submits when applying for a job. On the surface level, they all mean the same. However, there are intricate differences.

Resume is a French word meaning, ‘summary’, and true to the word meaning, it signifies a summary of one’s employment, education and other skills used in applying for a new position.

A Resume seldom exceeds one side of an A4 sheet of paper, and at the most two sides of it. They do not list out all the education and qualifications but only highlight specific skills customized to target the job profile in question.

A resume is usually broken into bullets and written in the third person to appear objective and formal.

A good resume starts with a brief summary of qualifications, followed by areas of strength or industry expertise in keywords, followed by professional experience in reverse chronological order.

Focus is on the most recent experiences and prior experiences summarised. The content aims at providing the reader a balance of responsibilities and accomplishments for each position.

After work experience, come professional affiliations, computer skills, and education. CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a Latin word meaning, ‘course of life’. CV is therefore a regular or particular course of study pertaining to education and life.

A CV is more detailed than a Resume, usually 2 to 3 pages, but can run even longer as per the requirement. A CV generally lists out every skills, jobs, degrees and professional affiliations the applicant has acquired, usually in chronological order.

A CV displays general talent rather than specific skills for any specific positions. Biodata, the short form for Biographical Data is the old-fashioned terminology for resume or CV.

The emphasis in a Biodata is on personal particulars like date of birth, religion, sex, race, nationality, residence, martial status, and the like. Next comes a chronological listing of education and experience.

The things normally found in a Resume, that is specific skills for the job in question comes last, and are seldom included. Biodata also includes applications made in specified formats as required by the company.

A Resume is ideally suited when applying for middle and senior level positions where experience and specific skills rather than education are important.

A CV on the other hand is the preferred option for fresh graduates, people looking for a career change, and those applying for academic positions. The term Biodata is mostly used in India while applying to government jobs, or when applying for research grants and other situations where one has to submit descriptive essays.

Resumes present a summary of highlights and allow the prospective employer to scan through the document visually or electronically to see if your skills match their available positions.

A good Resume can do that very effective, while a CV cannot. A Biodata could still perform this role, especially if the format happens to be the one recommended by the employer. Personal information such as age, sex, religion and others and hobbies are never mentioned in a Resume.

Many people include such particulars in a CV. However, this is neither required nor considered in the Indian market. A Biodata, on the other hand, always includes such personal particulars.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Mumbai, India

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