I know I write a lot of technical happenings in the world, but one topic of mine that you will see coming through every once in a while is the topic of Resumes, Business Cards and such. I believe like most of you would that these resumes, business cards etc are more or less like an advertisement for yourself. Consider yourself as a brand; these would definitely be on the top of the list of the marketing materials for the brand. If you look it up, the process of creating a personal brand statement is increasing exponentially within the design community. However, there is nothing stopping form anyone creating a personal brand about you. After no one loves you more than yourself right?? Oh don’t worry I am not questioning is any of us is being a megalomaniac, just that we care about how we are perceived, in terms of looks behavior, mannerisms etc. So these documents should reflect the same. But before I go into what I think is the right and wrong approach and what we can do to increase awareness etc, I want to point out the difference between the above 3 documents if you may.
People use the words RESUME, C.V., and BIO-DATA interchangeably for the document highlighting skills, education, and experience that one submits when applying for a job. On the surface level, all the three mean the same. However, there are intricate differences as I found out and as I would like to share.
If you look up the meaning of the word, you will see that RESUME is actually French for summary. So ideally this document should be a summary of one’s employment, education and skill set. This would help in applying for a new job. Ideally a Resume being a summary should not exceed 1 or 2 pages. The idea of a Resume is not to have a list of all your educational experience, skill set and experience. On the contrary, the Resume is to identify only the specific skills customized to target the job that you are applying for.
Additionally a Resume should be broken down into bullets, and importantly is written in third person to appear formal and objective. I think the third person writing, was initially written as a summary of one’s skills etc, by another person who would have to be the person used as a reference of your work, and credibility. Not sure if I really like the concept of third person writing though.
An ideal structure of a Resume in this case then would have to be
- Brief Summary of Qualifications [ Relevant to the job]
- Areas of Strength or Industry Expertise Keywords
- Relevant Professional Experience in reverse chronological order
- Personal Affiliations, Computer Skills and Education
While writing the experience it would be of at most importance to focus on the most recent experiences and prior experiences summarized.
C.V. or Curriculum Vitae
This document is a lot more like what most of us have. The C.V or Curriculum Vitae is a Latin word meaning Course of life. And as the name says it would be a lot more detailed than the RESUME, wherein it would include details of a regular or particular course of study pertaining to education and life.
This contents of this document is not restricted by the size of the document itself, meaning it can be as long as you wish it would be. However, I would not suggest a 50 page booklet talking about that neighborhood cricket tournament you won, or that dance competition during Holi in Mumbai. Keeping in with the skills related to work that you have acquired over the years showing the progression of work, this document would be a course of your life, academically and professionally.
This is not written in third person. This would be as if you were telling a person what you have been up to and what you are capable of. So ideally a structure of this document would have to be a bit different.
- A detailed summary of qualification in terms of courses, affiliations etc
- All areas of strength including every skill set acquired over time
- Professional experience in terms of al professional jobs undertaken ( could include part time jobs as well) in chronological order.
- Educational Qualifications with possible marks put in
- Professional Affiliations
- Courses and Seminars attended
- Computer skills and interests
- Personal information and References
A CV is then a document that shows your general talent and not just be restricted to the specific skills for any specific positions. As you can see it’s like putting your professional and academic life on paper.
This is a very Indian term, seldom used in countries outside the sub continent. The BIO-DATA or Biographical Data is the sort of Old fashioned term used for Resume of CV. But more importantly the emphasis in a bio data is on personal particulars like date of Birth, Religion, Caste, Race, Nationality, Residence, Marital Status and so on and so forth. For those of you who did not know, some of us Indians are quite racist when it comes to us Indians.
The government supports the fact, to the extent of having reservations for certain religions, casts etc. One of the reasons that this information would be required as part of your job skill sets. This BIO-DATA is used mostly for applying to Government Jobs in India, as you can imagine. Apart from the personal information, this would have the regular information as well and the structure of such a document would be:
- Personal Information
- Chronological listing of Education
- Chronological listing of experience
- Professional Accreditations, affiliations
- Specific Skill sets (may or may not be included)
The BIO-DATA these days are slowly coming back as specific formats that companies want to collect information about applying candidates, mostly these are in the form of Online Applications to be filled by the candidate.
Usage of these documents would be based on the company’s preferences. It is not uncommon to have a RESUME and a CV available to provide it to companies; in fact most people have multiple versions of Resumes for various jobs. The C.V however cannot be altered too much and would just be updated.
A resume is usually used while applying for middle and senior level positions, where experience and specific skills rather than education is important. Resumes present a summary of highlights and allow the prospective employer to scan through the document visually or electronically, to see if you would fit in the position that they have.
A C.V on the other hand is perfect for fresh graduates applying as freshers, inters etc. This as the companies would not really have another form of gauging the caliber of the candidate as they are just outside college.
Like I said the Bio Data is used only in India while applying for Government jobs, research grants etc. They come in handy at the back of a book that you are trying to author maybe 😉
The variations to the above would be Online CV, Visual CV, and Visual Resume etc which I have written on this blog before as well. For an online Resume you can check out the one I have here are http://melvinpereira.com. I am working on a Online CV and I will share it when done.