What Is a Biodata, and Why Do You Need One?

When applying for a job, the standard requested documents typically include a cover letter, a resume or CV, and a couple of recommendations. However, when applying for a job in certain South and Southeast Asian countries, one more document may be required: the biodata.

Biodata, or biographical data, is a document that contains personal information about you and your family. This information is typically not suitable to be included in your resume or cover letter, so companies request that it be attached as a separate document. The use cases of Biodata can also extend to marriage purposes.

So, in this article, we will provide you with all information about a biodata, what it is, what information goes into a biodata, as well as the difference between a biodata, a resume, and a CV. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

biodata vs resume vs cv
Biodata, Resume and CV Difference

What Is a Biodata?

So, what exactly is biodata? As mentioned earlier, biodata is a compilation of your personal information. What information you include in a biodata will vary largely on the country, company, and individual asking for it. 

Generally speaking, your biodata should include personal details (basic personal information, alongside any other personal tidbit that you believe would help your employer make the most informed decision about you and your character), your work experience, education history, skills, and other qualifications. 

However, if you are writing a biodata for a South/Southeast Asian country, your biodata for a job or marriage would be much, much more extensive. The types of information that this biodata would include, amongst others, your date of birth, religion, nationality, gender, family/father’s name, marital status, current address, and, if you are writing a biodata for marriage, your personal and physical features and those which you are looking for in a partner. 

Although biodata for work and biodata for marriage are the most commonly requested types, several other types of biodata may be requested as part of a job or university application. Here are a few types of biodata that you may come across:

  • Biodata for work: This form of biodata is standard for many South Asian countries but may also be requested in Western countries as well. The information included in this biodata format is more focused on information relevant to your success in a position rather than extremely personal information that should not factor into the decision-making process for a job.
  • Biodata for marriage: This form of biodata is primarily seen in Hindu families, who consider marriage to be more than a union of two people, instead being the merging of two families. With this understanding, it is of little wonder that the information in this biodata is the most personal of all the biodata types. 
  • Medical biodata: Medical biodata may be requested by companies or educational institutions during the application process to ascertain your medical status. 
  • Personal biodata: A personal biodata includes personal information about yourself, your personality and interests, and other information that you feel would benefit you if the recipient knows. 
  • Educational biodata: The educational biodata format contains information specifically geared toward the reader intimately understanding your educational background, including your grades, subjects taken, your major/department, and the extracurricular activities you participated in. 

What's the Difference between Biodata, Resume and CV?

Now, you may be wondering, what is the difference between a biodata, resume, and CV? Here is a breakdown of each: 

  • Biodata: A biodata is a compilation of information that is too personal to be included in a resume or CV
  • Resume: A resume is a brief overview of your educational background, work experience, skill set, and other qualifications to get a job. 
  • CV: A CV is a more detailed version of a resume. A CV goes into more detail about your working experience and accomplishments and can be multiple pages long, depending on your experience level. 

Now that you understand the general concept of biodata, here’s the list of countries that often request a biodata: 

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Sri Lanka
  • Some Southeast Asian countries

7 Essential Elements on a Biodata

A biodata for a job is a declaration of your personal and professional information for employers to get a grasp of the person you are, both at home and in the workplace. 

Wondering what to include in a Biodata for a job? The information you include in the biodata for a job is extensive. Here is a list of the most important parts. 

Photo

A photograph of yourself, while not always mandatory for a job biodata, is a good way to introduce yourself without words! Your photograph should be professionally taken, as it is reflective of your professionalism and character. Ensure that your clothing is formal and your pose and posture are on point, and exude confidence! 

Personal Information (Resume Header)

The personal information section of biodata for a job can vary depending on the job and company. However, the general scope of information includes your: 

  • Contact information
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Date of birth
  • Height
  • Parent’s names
  • Nationality 
  • Personal interests
  • Race
  • Religion

Evidently, this section in the biodata for a job is highly personal. That said, you should endeavor to include information (particularly in sections concerning your interests) to tailor your selection to the job you are applying to. In other words, include details that could further your chances of landing the job!

Objective/Summary

The objective/summary in the biodata for a job is similar to the introductory paragraph in a cover letter. The objective should clearly and concisely express your motivation for applying for the job, as well as your short/long-term goals. This is so the recruiter can get a preliminary feel for whether or not you are a good fit for the company. 

A good way to get an idea of what the company will be looking for in your summary is to carefully pick apart the job posting. Employers will leave breadcrumbs indicating what they are looking for in the ideal candidate. Find those and include them (if they pertain to you, of course)!

Educational Background

This section in the biodata for a job should include brief but detailed information of your education. You can choose to format this in chronological or reverse-chronological order. Include your school/university, the major and department you studied under, the time you were enrolled, and your GPA. 

Work Experience

Work experience is gold, whether it be in biodata for a job or in a resume/CV! This section is the most crucial in biodata for a job. 

In this section, carefully outline your work experience by creating a timeline. Follow the order that you used in the previous educational background for consistency!

Mention the company and job title you held, the location of the company, the duration of your employment, and the key responsibilities you had during your time.

Skill Set

The skill section of your biodata for a job builds on the previous work experience section and lists the technical (hard) and transferable (soft) skills you bring to the table. Balancing between the two is important, as the personal nature of biodata for a job indicates that your personal traits are just as important as your technical ability!

Declaration

The Declaration at the end of the biodata for a job provides a level of authenticity to the whole document and affirms that the contents of your biodata are true. The declaration should also include your full name, signature, and date. 

Now that we have reviewed its parts, here is a full-format example of a complete biodata for a job.

Francis Swan
Driven Market Analyst and Forex Trader

A results-driven market analyst who consults for Chicago’s leading financial institutions. With 17 years of success-defining experience, I can help your portfolio grow exponentially and ahead of market trends. 

Personal Information

Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 1970/04/01
Nationality: American
Religion: Catholic
Marital status: Married
Contact information: 123-456-7890/ [email protected]
Current address: 44 Cornell Avenue, Chicago IL, 12345

Work Experience

Senior Market Analyst
Allegiant Finance. January 2010 - August 2022.

  • Spearheaded a program to train junior analysts. Mentored 48 trainees over 12 years, and improved overall performance by 25% in 5 years. 
  • Synthesized quarterly and annual reports of the company and market progress, which were directly utilized to generate strategies.

Junior Market Analyst
RGB & Sons. December 2005 - December 2009.

  • Engaged in market research to be used in generating and updating strategy for the company. 
  • Worked with a direct supervisor to develop and test market strategies, turning $50,000 to $1 million in two years. 

Educational Background

University of Washington
MBA in Finance and Investment. 2007 - 2009.

University of South California
Bachelors in International Business and Trade. 2003-2007.

Skills

  • Build financial models 
  • Forex and trading experience
  • Computer literacy in financial and trading software
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Adaptable
  • Independently motivated

I, Francis Swan, do declare that the contents of this biodata herein are true and devoid of false information. 

Francis Swan
September 26, 2022


What Is a Biodata for Marriage?

In a departure from the biodata format for a job, biodata for marriage leans heavily on the personal side of an individual. But how do you go about writing a biodata for matrimonial purposes?

Biodata for marriage is a document that presents yourself and your family to the family of a potential spouse. This practice is most common among Hindi families, where familial background compatibility is just as important as the compatibility between spouses. 

Here is the information that should be included in the biodata for marriage.

Photo

Whereas a photograph is not an essential part of biodata for a job, it is absolutely required for biodata for marriage. 

Make sure that the photo you choose has been professionally taken and is relatively recent. Your photo should not be a headshot; rather, go for something more of a half-body shot that shows your (well-dressed) body and smiling face! 

Personal Information and Family Background

In addition to the personal information that is included in biodata for a job, a biodata for marriage includes some personal information about your immediate family. For a biodata for marriage, your immediate family only includes your parents and siblings. Include their full names AND occupations and their area of residence.  

Education

Similar to a biodata for a job, include your educational background in your biodata for marriage!

Hobbies and Other Personal Interests

At this point, the content of biodata for marriage seems contractual and business-like. However, the section on hobbies and personal interest changes things. In this section of your biodata for marriage, divulge some of your genuine hobbies and other things that you would like your spouse to know about you before meeting you. In an idealistic world, you will both have mutual interests and be a match!

Expectations

In the final section of the biodata for marriage, include some expectations of your future spouse and the type of life that you would like to live after getting married. Clearly presented expectations in biodata for marriage go a long way in filtering out unsuitable candidates and can greatly help in matching you with someone that has similar life goals and expectations!

Now that you understand what goes into a biodata for marriage let us take a closer look at a complete example of a biodata for marriage.

Michael Vonder

Gender: Male
Weight and Height: 195 lbs, 6’2”
Date of Birth: 1998/04/01 (24 years old)
Nationality: Canadian
Religion: Baptist
Marital status: Single
Contact information: 908-756-1324/ [email protected] 
Current address: 21 Jumbo Park, Miami FL, 90543

Family Background

  • Father: Jerry Vonder (Political Scientist)
  • Mother: Alma Vonder (Doctor)
  • Brother: Jacob Vonder (Lawyer)
  • Sister: Abigail Vonder (Psychotherapist)

Educational Background

University of Florida
MSc. International Relations and Strategic Studies. 2020 - 2022.

University of Florida
Bachelors in International Relations. 2016 - 2020.

Hobbies and Interests

Tennis
I have played Tennis all my life, and am passionate about the sport. I like to play and compete in local competitions!

Cooking
Food has been a huge part of my upbringing and I love to share my creations with people!

Expectations

Above all, I look for someone who will constantly challenge me to be a better person. I am very outgoing and social, so I would love it if my partner would be the same. At the same time, I am grounded and would like my partner to enjoy a peaceful and committed life. 

I understand that marriage is more than a commitment between two people; it is a bond between families that can never be broken. I hope that my partner and I can build a bridge between these families and foster a community of love and care. 


I, Michael Vonder, do declare that the contents of this biodata herein are true and devoid of false information. 

Michael Vonder
August 4, 2022


Conclusion

To sum up, biodata is a key part of the job, university, and even marriage processes in countries and cultures that recognize their significance of them. A well-crafted biodata for a job can easily propel your application ahead of your competition as the expression of your personality and professionalism shines through. Similarly, a clear and concise biodata for marriage can filter out the weeds and make finding the perfect partner that much easier!

Here are some key takeaways to consider when writing your biodata:

  • Never falsify information. The fastest way to be rejected by a company or a person is to lie about your abilities and personality. The truth will be out!
  • Always clearly express your intentions and ideas. Hiring managers do not have the time to figure out elaborate and confusing sentences. Similarly, over-complicated biodatas for marriage can detract from the important parts of your personality and expectations that you want to make clear!
  • Stick to the correct biodata format for the type of biodata you are writing! Make sure to include all the necessary information and double-check your work when done!
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