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Let us first understand the correct interpretations of the three commonly used terminologies, namely Curriculum Vitae, Resume and Bio- Data.


a. A LATIN WORD that means detailed information of course of life - “To provide detailed information about job and education in a generalized way”

b. In United Kingdom, CV means summary of job, employment history, qualification, education and some personal information, namely, photo, date of birth, current salary and publications.

c. In United States of America, CV is used by members of an academic circle, such as medical profession, wherein they elaborate on education, publications and other achievements to a greater degree.


For matrimonial purpose - “To provide details of physical attributes such as height, weight, color, salary information and age”


a. A FRENCH WORD which means providing “Relevant Summary”. “To provide relevant work experience and education in concise, related to the job”

b. A resume should be treated like a marketing tool in which the content should be adapted to suit each job application, aimed at a particular industry.

c. It is your portrait to the interviewer and the only way to get an interview call. Each resume gets attention of 10-15 seconds from the prospective employer and thus, the top half of a resume is the prime space for writing information of employer’s interest.


There are two types of resume, namely:

1. Reverse Chronological Resume

2. Functional Resume

Reverse Chronological Resume:

The candidate lists job experience in chronological order, generally covering the previous 10-15 years i.e. current position as the starting data from the most recent experience and moving chronologically backwards through a succession of previous experience.

Reverse chronological resume (a) builds credibility through experience gained; and (b) establishes career growth over time. An individual having gaps in his career should not prepare a Reverse Chronological Resume.

Functional Resume:

A functional resume lists work experiences and skills in relation to a skill area or job function. The format directly emphasizes specific professional capabilities and experiences, as a means of communicating professional competency.

The Functional Resume works for those individuals, who

1. Are making a career change;

2. Have varied work history;

3. Have little work experience; and

4. For jobs which require very specific skills or clearly defined personality traits

So as to decide which Format is right for you:

1. Entry level: Reverse Chronological Resume

2. Mid level: Reverse Chronological Resume + Functional Resume

3. Senior Level: Reverse Chronological Resume + Functional Resume

Do’s and Don’ts for Resumes

a. Should not be more than 2 pages

b. Covers work experience, professional qualifications and personal details

c. Lists your work experience and education is descending order

d. Highlights information related job / industry experience

e. No usage of I, My, He, She

f. No spelling or grammatical mistakes

g. Allocate 80% written space to “work experience”

h. Photographs – generally not given in the resume, unless expressly asked

i. No lies about candidature – Job / Qualifications

j. Avoid mention of past failures / health problems

k. Avoid providing extra information, such as, Marital Status / Gender /  number of kids etc.

l. References are generally not provided in the Resume. If required, references are provided after the interviews

Resume Contents/ Sections (illustrative)

Standard content

a. Career Objectives

b. Work Experience

c. Academic / Professional Qualifications

d. Achievements (Personal & Professional)

e. Computer Proficiency

f. Mobility

g. Date of Birth

h. Family Background

i. Hobbies

i. Contact Details

Contents for experienced professionals

a. Summary Credentials

b. Strengths / Skills

c. Client Testimonials

d. Career Graph

International Exposure, where applicable

It is very important to know that resume dynamics change with experience and roles

Guidelines on contents for various sections along with few examples

Career Objectives

Some examples are given below. One can script similar career objectives:

a. To deliver above expectations

b. To contribute towards the achievement of organizational objectives

c. To set new standards of performance

d. To add value on all client engagements

e. To adopt a methodical approach for work assigned

Work Experience

a. Write in descending order

b. Explain by nature of work (for example in case of Chartered Accountants, nature of work could include internal audit, statutory audit, taxation, investigations, management audits, consulting etc.)

c. Write 2-3 sentences to explain what you did in some of the most important assignments

d. Explain by designation such as Articleship; Supervisor; Assistant Manager; Manager in paragraph form ensuring not more than 3 - 4 lines for each designation

e. Client names, are avoidable in early part of the experience, instead it would be beneficial to state the industries

Educational Qualifications

a. Start with latest professional qualification

b. Then mention about college and school (include 10th and 12th class)

c. Provide Name of institution, year of passing and marks

Achievements (ask yourself these questions and these will help you identify what you can state in this section)

Professional: Did you…

• Save cost to the company?
• Increase sales?
• Launch a new product?
• Run campaigns?
• Improve productivity?
• Put in place new process?
• Resolve any pending issues?
• Become member of any committee/board/special project?

Academic (School & College)

• Rank holder?
• Appreciation letters?
• Any other rewards?
• Awards in sports and hobbies?
• Inter School Debates/Drama’s/Sport?

Date of Birth

• Do not lie
• Use birth certificate (if you have a copy of it)
• Use 10th standard certification (widely accepted DOB proof)

Communication Skills

• Statement languages from reading, writing and speaking perspective. For example
• Can Read, Write & Speak: English /Hindi
• Can Speak: Punjabi, Bengali 

Computer Literacy

• Provide details of operating systems, applications / software. For instance
• Well versed with MS Office including Power Point, Excel and Word
• Working experience of SAP / Tally etc.


• Important for jobs that require relocation and / or travelling. For example
• Looking for openings in Delhi / NCR region; or
• Prepared to work any metro town; or
• Open for relocation outside India

Family Background

• Adds credentials to your strong foundation. No need to state names, but give a brief description about parents and siblings. For example,
• Father (marketing professional working as Director Sales in a Pharmaceutical MNC)
• Mother (Sanskrit Lecturer)
• Sister (Dental Surgeon)


• Demonstrates your generic skills and insight on how you spend your personal time
• DON’T write something to impress the interviewer, which you cannot talk about because you don’t have that interest (eg. Keeping abreast with new developments, reading management books etc.)

Contact Details

• Permanent address and current address (if different from permanent address)
• E-mail id and mobile number

The above article is aimed to provide you detailed insights and guidelines for developing a “winning resume”. Feel free to write to Surinder for any questions. Please visit www.surindernarainahuja.in to contact Surinder.

About the author: Surinder Narain Ahuja is as experienced trainer, faculty member and visiting professor, teaching interpersonal skills and management concepts. To know more about the author visit “About Surinder” webpage on his website www.surindernarainahuja.in


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Surinder Narain Ahuja
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