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Curriculum Vitae or CV is a summary of qualifications and experience of a person. Recruiters in the United Kingdom and commonwealth countries prefer to use the term CV whereas in United States it is referred to as Resume. In academia, however, in USA, they prefer to use the term CV rather than resume. Profile is a broader term and is used mostly in the context of introduction of a person. Brief profile of a person is spoken or written before introducing a speaker or author of an article. Bio data includes more personal details like height, weight, complexion, state of health and family details etc. Biodata is used mostly in social context like matrimonial prospecting. In India earlier the term biodata was used in place of CV or resume. Even now many use all the three terms CV, resume and biodata interchangeably.
A well-written CV enhances the chances of getting a call for the job sought and facilitates bagging it. Well made CV is half the battle won. Poorly made CV is one which has spelling mistakes, language mistakes, bad grammar, typographical errors , unorganized information and poor style and formatting. If the CV is badly prepared,  no senior person will bother even to read it. A person who can not give required attention to his own CV will hardly be considered fit for employment due to his careless and callous approach.
The best way to prepare a CV is to first gather all the relevant information. That is starting from the childhood; one should with the help of parents, start preparing the fact file. School, college and university information in terms of names of courses, programmes, results, activities and their dates or periods should be kept at one place. Details of internships, training, projects, professional activities, extra curricular activities, personal achievements and even memorable events should be jotted down. Most of this information collected from parents, friends, official and personal records, if properly used, shall help in handling the interviews later.
CV should start with name and contact details i.e., address, telephone numbers and e-mail IDs. Preferably two e-mail IDs or phone numbers may be given. E mail IDs should not look like unprofessional or informal like smarty@….This information may be given at the top and preferably centre-aligned. Line spacing here has to be single.
Giving a photo in the CV may be considered if it is presentable and taking coloured print-outs is not an issue. It is becoming fashionable to mention career objective. Few write it appropriately and adjust it for the job applied for otherwise it may limit the employment opportunities rather than of any help. It may be avoided unless one is very clear and can be explicit about the career objective. Instead, where possible,  one liner describing the applicant as suitable for the job may be more effective. For example,  if some one is making a CV for a project management position,  writes    “ First class Mechanical Engineer and MBA with six year post qualification experience in Project Management”
Information flow should be from latest to the earliest. Following headings may be considered 1. Qualifications, Academic Qualifications, Professional Qualification 2. Certifications 3. Internships 4. Training 5. Projects 6. Experience 7. Honours, awards, scholarships, distinctions 8. Languages known 9. Extra curricular activities 10. References  (where necessary).
Qualification/s is good enough for an ordinary graduate, academic qualifications may be appropriate for a person holding more than one degree and dividing this into academic and professional qualification could be a case where  a person has done, say, M.Sc. and thereafter LLB. or M.B.A. If the academic performance is consistently good in terms of marks, good institutions attended and no break in studies then it is better to present the information in a tabular form because it makes information more easily comprehensible and it also increases the presentability of the CV. If, however, results have not been consistently good or there are gaps in education or one has not always gone to good institutions descriptive paras will look better. One may use language like consistently First Class student etc. to highlight what is to be highlighted prominently. 
Certifications have increasingly become more common in the globalised world of today. These are common in information technology, finance, operations and project management etc. One should consider the relevance and suitability of the certificates being obtained whether global or national. One should also be careful in putting it in CV. It will be counter-productive to put Project Management certification while applying for a HR job. That is where it becomes important to have a master database and picking up the right and relevant information while making CV for specific job or situation. 
Internships and training should cover place, period and person/organization under whom done. More important is to mention the work done under training or internship.
Very often students mention some or many of their class room assignments as projects. This may prove to be counter productive in interviews if one is not thorough. Too much of or unnecessary information in the CV may be like inviting trouble. It is better to give less but relevant information which one can defend in interviews.
Job experience starting from latest job should cover name of employer with brief description, like revenue or ranking of the company, position held, responsibility in brief but more importantly your own contribution and achievements. Length of description under this heading should be in proportion to the period served in that particular job as well as the relevance to the job applied for. Unless specifically asked for salary or compensation packages should not be mentioned in the CV.
Honours, awards, distinctions, scholarships etc. should be appropriately titled and covered. Frivolous and unimportant information should be avoided. Generalisations like “won numerous awards in games and sports in school and college” make a poor impression. One should try to be specific in one’s CV as far as possible. Information under this head should not look disproportionate to the rest of the resume.
Languages known may be mentioned only if one knows more than Hindi and English and it should be shown in terms of proficiency to speak, read and write. This head becomes important in multi-location companies like MNCs or companies with multicultural work staff.
Extra curricular activities may include hobbies, dramatics, debates, music and other interests. If sports and games require more space a separate heading may be created. Care should be taken in the mention of these activities and one’s hobbies and interests should not appear to be mismatch with the job applied for. According to the needs of prospective employer appropriate emphasis on different extra curricular activities may be given. For example, while applying for a marketing job one should expect that the prospective employer would like to select a person with extrovert nature. Games like hockey, football and cricket will be preferred over chess or carom. No doubt mention of chess and carom shall still be better than not mentioning any. Thus, what one mentions should have better fit with the perceived requirement of the prospective employer.
References, unless asked for, should not be given. Care should be taken in mentioning the names of referees. Let us take example of a young person applying for the post of an Assistant Professor and he gives reference of three Assistant Professors. Another person for the same job and position gives reference of a Vice Chancellor, a Dean and a Professor. Any intelligent recruiter could easily make out the difference in two personalities.
CV should be in an acceptable style and format. Conservative and traditional style and format, in general, could be a better bet. Two page CV should be good enough unless it is for academic or top position. Appropriate margins should be provided and font types could be Arial, Verdana or Calibri and font size could be 11 or 12 and line spacing could be single or 1.5 as per contents. CV should be sent in word file or PDF or both unless otherwise requested.
A covering letter must necessarily be written when some one is targeting a specific job or applying through some one’s reference. Covering letter should not be in more than three or four paras and never more than one page. The purpose of writing a covering letter is to mention why and how this application is being made and how does the profile of the applicant is the best fit for the job.