I don’t know of a single person who gets up in the morning excited about making their resume! After all, it’s not an act that comes naturally, so we all tend to put it off till the last minute, and then most of us either end up rushing through it or worse send old, badly written versions.
This is terrible because a resume is the first thing the recruiter sees and without an impressive one you don’t even stand a chance to be considered for the job! So tie yourself to your chair, follow our tips and fix your resume once and for all – believe us, it will be worth it!
First off let’s clarify one point – What is the goal of a resume?
A resume has just one goal – to get the recruiter to speak with you! It is an advertisement for YOU. Its job is to sell YOUR capabilities to the recruiter.
Format is Vital
You might wonder why we would start with something as mundane as formatting, but the fact is that most hiring managers just look at a CV for a few seconds (surveys say it’s less than 10 secs!). If your resume is nicely formatted, they will catch the main points quickly and are more likely to shortlist you.
So, you need to start with a bang which basically means that the main accomplishments or major skills should come right at the beginning.
You can choose from 3 main types of formats:
Reverse – Chronological – This is the most popular and is best if you have a linear and largely unbroken career progression.
Functional – This focuses more on your skills and is more useful if you want to shift career industry or profile or have large gaps in your employment history.
Combination – This uses a bit of both the other formats – it starts off by focusing on your main skills/qualifications but then also gives your work experience in a chronological format.
No matter what format you choose – your name and contact details come at the top and the name should be large and placed prominently.
Career Objectives / Summary
It’s not surprising that most hiring managers never go beyond the career summary, but what’s unfortunately really surprising is that most summaries are badly written and very dense. This is not a place to ask for what you want or to talk about your future aspirations or to fill up with important sounding jargon – it’s a short space that should advertise your experience in the best possible manner! It’s a tool to show recruiters the value you bring to their organisation.
A career objective/ summary/ profile should have just 3 main things – who you are, your accomplishments and your skills.
This is the meat of your resume. But here again, formatting plays a role. Remember managers are still scanning the document quickly – from reading your career summary, they have a sense of who you are, but now they want to quickly see where you have worked and how your career has progressed.
So, here you need to highlight the name of the company (add a one-line description of the company here as sometimes – unless it’s a very well known brand – recruiters might not be familiar with the organisation and what it does), your position and the duration of your time there.
Your specific responsibilities and highlights of your job come under that. When something catches their eye, they might go back and read in more detail, but your main goal should be to present your career progression clearly.
Similar to your work experience, this should also be in the reverse chronological order, with your college degrees coming on top and school at the bottom. List the name of the institution, its location, your degree or what you studied and the date of graduation.
This is a great place to showcase your personality or other skills/interests that might not fit into work sections such as volunteer activities, mentorship programmes, etc. I would recommend that you avoid simply stating your hobbies such as singing, reading or music and only include them if you have a specific achievement in the area – for example if you have completed your bachelor’s degree in dance or you play the violin as part of an orchestra.
Now some short tips
- Always choose a readable font
- Try to keep your resume limited to one page
- Edit and proofread thoroughly
- Try to add some lines between sections to break up the different information
- Always send your resume with a cover letter
- Many organisations use automated systems to shortlist resumes so you must tailor your resume to the job profile. Pick a few keywords from the job profile or the job advert and include them intelligently in your resume.
At the end of the day, you have to step into the shoes of the hiring manager – they can’t see you or interact with you. All they have is a piece of paper, and your aim is to design a CV that makes them feel positive when they read it.
Searching for a job and preparing for interviews can be stressful – especially If you are just starting your career. Why not get some professional help? At SoaringEagles we have coached thousands of young professionals important work skills such as communication, resume making, presentation and public speaking skills, interview skills and more.
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