Professional Business Letter Templates, Cover Letters, CVs & Resumes

Sunday, 29 November 2015

The Difference between a Resume, a CV and a Biodata

As a business student currently facing the placement season, I sometimes feel that people expect me to know a lot more than I actually do especially when it comes to resumes or CVs and applying to jobs. While that is true most of the times, there have been times where some very basic and simple questions have stunned me into silence. For instance, when asked the difference between a resume, a CV and a biodata, for the world of me I could not think of any differences! 
I am sure many of you too must have been in this spot where you were completely stumped because you had no answer. Somewhere deep inside you know these are different types of letters, but you just can’t articulate what it is. Well, there is quite a bit of difference among the three and this article is dedicated to ensure no one is ever in this spot again!

Resume vs CV vs BiodataResume: The word “resume” is French for “summary” or “summarized” and a resume is quite literally just that – a summary of one’s work experience, education and skills. A resume is generally about a page long. It is said that a resume helps in getting one till an interview while it is the C.V. that aids one through the interview. We will talk about the C.V. after this. Since a resume is short, one tends to highlight specific skills and experience that would be relevant to the job they are applying to.

C.V.: C.V. is short for curriculum vitae. It is a Latin word meaning “course of life”. While the resume was a terse description of one’s education, skills and experience, a C.V. is a more detailed description of the same. It is generally 2-3 pages long and can even be longer – there is no word or page limit for a C.V.

It essentially captures everything a person has undergone and achieved be it education (like courses taken, honours or awards won for excelling at a particular subject, research papers written) employment (positions held, projects undertaken, appreciation for excellent work received) or skills (highlighting particular skills or talent that would help in doing well in the job). A C.V. generally also includes personal information like parent’s name, date of birth, address etc.

While both C.V.s and resume are used for applying to new jobs or job switch, the C.V. is also used for academic purpose in European countries, especially the UK and in the USA as well. While the UK C.V.s are generally shorter and more like the resumes, in USA C.V.s are expected to be longer and more detailed. In India, resumes and C.V.s are essentially the same. They are used as synonyms. Both resumes and C.V.s are typically used to screen applicants for a potential job opening.

Biodata: Biodata stands for “biographical data” and is an Indian concept especially used especially during marriage proposal talks. It includes anything and everything under the sun about the applicant – starting from personal information like age, gender, height, weight, religion etc, to education, employment, salary etc. While biodata is often used for application for Government jobs, it is not popular in the international circle where personal information about the candidate is not required.

Well, I hope this article cleared the eternal confusion of Resume vs CV vs Biodata!

Location: Boston, MA, USA

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