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Resume, Bio-Data or CV?

A resume and a CV are similar in many ways but there are differences that you have to take note of, especially if either one is required from you.  And of course, there’s the bio-data.  So which is which is which?  Learn these differences so when someone asks for a resume, a CV or a bio-data, you know which paper to whip out of your folder.

The Resume
The resume is the most commonly asked for and submitted piece of paper containing your vital information.  While shorter than curriculum vitae, the resume still provides details of your educational and professional experiences.  That should include the courses and trainings you’ve completed, your school or university and the list of companies that figure in your work history.  Your resume should also include all awards and projects that you have been involved with in the past.

The purpose of the resume is to give your prospective employer a good overview of your skills, qualifications and capabilities without being too detailed. 

The length:  If you can, make a resume a one-pager or make it two pages, max.  Any longer and you’re probably doing it wrong. 

Who uses it?
Almost everyone will use the resume form when applying for a job in most companies, even students and newly-grads.  People in the medical and academic fields, however, use the curriculum vitae.

Learn effective ways to create your resume here.

The Curriculum Vitae
The curriculum vitae or CV is actually the plural form but it’s used commonly, nonetheless.  It is Latin for ‘course of life’ and as such, is expected to be detailed – more detailed than the resume. 

The CV requires that you include a complete list of all the work you have ever done in your professional life, particularly the most significant.  It should also reflect all job positions you’ve ever held, along with information about all credentials you have earned professionally or academically.  Did you get a paper or a study published?  Put that in your CV as well.

The length: The CV is AT LEAST two pages long.  If you’ve had some significant educational and work experience and have been involved in multiple projects, it won’t be a surprise if your CV is five pages long.

Who uses it?
People in the medical field, such as doctors, nurses, scientists and medical researchers and those in the academia, such as professors and researchers.  This is also for people who have had extensive experience in their field of study or chosen career.  If you wish to enter these industries, this is probably the form you will be using, since most medical and academic facilities will require it anyway.

The Bio-Data
The bio-data is usually a one-page sheet that you fill out like you would a slum book.  It is like a skeletal version of your profile and qualifications, where you provide the bare essentials.  Details are not always required.  The bio-data gives your potential employer a quick look at who you are and what you can do. 

The bio-data is probably the oldest (and laziest) form of application.  Today, it is often used for applications to temporary or skilled labor jobs.  Many companies often ask you to fill out a pre-printed one during the application process, even if you have already submitted a resume.

The length: The bio-data is short – just one page.  Sometimes, you even get to fill it when applying for a job, even if you already have your resume.

Who uses it?
Most bio-data I have encountered in the past were submitted by people applying for skilled labor jobs – machine operators, production helpers, machinists, cleaners, etc.  These jobs, often technical in nature, don’t often require the applicant to write a more detailed resume.  The list of skills and work history often suffice.  If you’re applying for a job as a helper in a warehouse or construction job, for example, most employers will just ask you to submit or fill-out a bio-data.

Ready to get started?  Here are tips on how to begin writing your resume.

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