Personal Data Sheets and Resumes--What You Need to Know
First, it's important to understand the differences and similarities between a Personal Data Sheet (PDS) and a resume. Examples of both for a fictitious job seeker are included here: sample PDS | sample resume
Personal Data Sheets
A PDS is a document used by someone with a visual impairment or other impairment that inhibits his or her ability to read or write using a standard print format. The PDS contains all of the information that you would typically be asked to supply to complete an application:
- telephone number
- details about your academic and work history
- supervisors' names
- reference names and contact information
On the PDS, you include everything; you try to anticipate any question that might pop up on an application. You then have all the information handy for a scribe—someone who writes for you to complete an application form manually. The advantage to having the information in a hardcopy format is that the scribe can simply copy from one sheet to another and she or he is less likely to commit errors of omission, transpose numbers, or misspell words.
A resume, on the other hand, is tailored to suit you and the job for which you are applying. You don't need to include all of the details—you can pick and choose what you want to share!
There are no hard and fast rules with resumes like there are with applications. The resume is typically used to supplement an application—it highlights your strengths and draws attention to what you have to offer an employer in a way an application may not. Printed out the resume and the PDS look quite similar, although the PDS is typically longer.
Do you need both? It's your choice. Ideally, job seekers with visual impairments have both a PDS and a resume.
The PDS can be printed and laminated for multiple uses by anyone helping you complete applications. The resume can vary according to your immediate needs and may best be left in an electronic format until you are ready to apply for a specific job and then printed out.
AFB CareerConnect® allows you to generate both a PDS and a resume that you can print out and save in an electronic format. You'll need to log into My CareerConnect to use this feature—you can also maintain a calendar of interviews and appointments, and check for messages from CareerConnect mentors!