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How to write a good resume

Posted by 01. Anil K. Jharotia on February 15, 2012 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (19)



How to write a good Resume

Personal Information:

Your personal information should go right at the top of your CV! Make sure it includes your name, phone number, e-mail address and postal address.


List your professional experience in reverse chronological order.

For each role listed, mention clearly the company name, role title and how long you worked there.

List your tasks, contributions and achievements in each position.


List your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order.

Mention the name of the course/program first, followed by the name of the institution and the time period you studied there.

Don't forget to add any additional training courses you have taken that would be of interest to your prospective employer.

Quick tips for your CV

As a general rule don't exceed 2 pages. Make sure the best that you have to offer is on the first page.

Avoid writing long paragraphs. Use bulleted points

Make sure all the information is correct.

Proof-read your CV

Use an easily readable font type and size. Georgia and Arial/Helvetica are good choices.

Font size 13 for the screen and font size 8 for print is recommended.

Avoid too much italics, bold, colours, highlights and underlines

Difference among CV, Resume and Bio Data

People use the words RESUME, C.V., and BIO-DATA interchangeably for the document highlighting skills, education, and experience that a candidate submits when applying for a job. On the surface level, all the three mean the same. However, there are intricate differences.


Resume is a French word meaning "summary", and true to the word meaning, 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, and at the most two sides. 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 summarized. 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.


C.V is a Latin word meaning "course of life". Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) 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.


Bio Data the short form for Biographical Data, is the old-fashioned terminology for Resume or C.V. The emphasis in a bio data 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. Bio-data 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 is important. A C.V., 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 bio-data 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 effectively, while a C.V. cannot. A bio-data 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 the C.V. However, this is neither required nor considered in the US market. A Bio-data, on the other hand always include such personal particulars.

Avoid: These six rookie resume mistakes

1. Short-term jobs.

If you quit a job after a few weeks because you couldn't see your future there, don't put it on your resume. Employers look at short-term jobs as a sign that you're flighty, and you want to avoid that perception at all costs. If you have more short-term jobs (that relate to the one you want) than long-term, or many short-term consulting arrangements, you can add them into a section for one year. If you are listing many consulting assignments, make sure it's clear in your resume that it was not a full-time, permanent position.

2. Job experience that doesn't relate.

If you're trying to work as an administrative assistant, but one of your past jobs was working as a restaurant server, leave that one off the list. However, if your job history doesn't provide enough experience for the Work History section of your resume, find ways to connect the unrelated work to what you want to do. For example, when you worked as a server, were there any tasks that related to the administrative assistant position you're vying for? You might be surprised to find that some of the skills you learned will translate for the job you want. Highlight these points in your resume.

3. Every responsibility you had at a job.

Focus on a high level, and keep only what relates to the job you're applying for. A resume isn't the place to copy your job description; instead, it's meant to highlight the best of what you've done at past companies and tie it to what you will do with your next employer.

4. References

While you do need a list of people who can vouch for you as an employee and overall exemplary citizen, you don't have to include the list with your resume. And don't add the phrase "References Available Upon Request." It's a given you have and will provide references when it comes to that point in the interview process.

5. Hobbies.

Many argue that listing your hobbies on your resume gives the employer a better sense of your overall character. While that might be true, hobbies can also be used against you and employers can jump to conclusions about you before having the chance to meet you. Unless the hobby relates to the job you want and it's not covered in your job experience, keep it off.

6. Why you left a job.

Save this for the interview. Some job applications may ask for this information, but never volunteer it on your own. Explanations on your resume are required to be brief and could easily cast you in a negative light. It's much better to discuss this in person when you'll have the opportunity to explain further, if necessary.


 Anil Kumar Jharotia