A resume´is a document that represents you when you are not physically present. Resume´speaks for you in your absence. It is a professional statement of your education, qualification and skills to help the recruiter determine your eligibility for an interview.
How to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader? Here I would like to share a few important guidelines:
Before you write your resume ask yourself a few questions like:
a) Who am I?
b) What is my objective in life?
c)What is my professional calling?
d)Why did I choose a particular stream/ career?
e)What skills do I possess to support my professional goals?
f) How will my education and my skills help me to contribute to the job/job profile that I am applying for?
If you are able to answer these questions satisfactorily then you will be able to carve a true first impression for yourself. Having stated this, we would now focus on how to draft a great killer resume´?
Here we discuss the secret of drafting a perfect professional resume:
- Choose an easy and attractive layout– keep it simple and easy to read. Do not use multiple colours and font types. The best idea is to keep your document in black and white and use professionally accepted fonts like Ariel, Garamond, Georgia, Calibri or Helvetica which are preferred by most professionals. What really matters is that the font should be easy to read at a glance. Keep your font size at between 10 and 12 point depending on the type of font you choose.
- Margins and Spaces: Keep margins to 1/2 or 1 inch on all sides of the page. Leave reasonable white spaces between your content to make the document legible. Use bullet points to classify information or list points. Check for alignment and justify the document. Leave single spacing between lines. Avoid double spacing to compress your content in one or two pages. Remember resume´is a short crisp formal document.
- Arrange the information under clearly defined headings and subheadings: Before discussing the heading and subheading it is necessary to understand that resumes´are of three types:
- Chronological resume´- Based on chronological order. It is good for entry-level job seekers
- Functional resume´-Based on skills and experience rather than education Suitable for mid-level or senior job seekers
- Combination resume´- Combination of both but it focuses more on specific skills that the applicant wants to showcase along with the chronological details and is a great way to cover gaps in your work history.
So, once you choose the right resume that is suited to your requirement , then you can start with the crucial task of arranging your details in the right sequence.
The essential elements of a resume´: Essential elements consist of the following:
- Heading: It tells the reader about your name and contact information. It should include your address for correspondence, e-mail address and your mobile/phone number. Use slightly larger font size to differentiate this information from the rest of the document. You know this is where your hiring manager will find you.
- Resume Summary/Objective: Brief description of why you are applying for the job and how you make a suitable candidate
- Education/ Experience: It informs the reader of your education/experience, specialisation/nature of responsibilities/ expertise etc. This information should be presented in reverse chronological order.
- Skills: Skills play a key role in your resume´ being selected by recruiters. The universally recognised skills are Communication, Technical/ computer literacy, team spirit, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Place only those skills on your resume which rightly project your personality and potential. Strictly avoid false, fake or incorrect information to maximise your chances of success in your interview. Your skills should match the skills defined in the job description. Most companies today use Applicant Tracking System which enables them to match the key words i.e. your listed skills with the skills required for a particular job profile. If the skills match the key words then you stand a better chance of receiving an interview call.
- Activities/ Interests: This category adds credibility to your words by giving the recruiter a fair idea of your proven skills. Here you should cite activities/ relevant examples of the work/experience/ interest that demonstrate your active participation and engagement in activities that highlight your skill or accomplishments. You may include participation in workshops/ conferences/ conclaves/ internship/training or any other work-related experience which you feel might add value to your credentials. If you are a fresher do include your sports/ cultural excellence and participation details.
- Style of Writing: How and what words you use to write your resume´is consequential. Based on a career builder survey hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on reviewing resumes. This means each word you use would be indicative of something and the hiring manager would interpret it according to its verbal strength and purposefulness. How then to use words to create a difference?
Use action words to demonstrate your skills or present your achievements. Be brief and use specific words instead of long sentences. Here is a list of some powerful words and expressions that can give you a lead in this power-play:
- Developed a software instead of ‘I was responsible for making a software.’
- Led a team of five members instead of ‘I was the team leader of a team consisting of 5 members.’
- Negotiated a deal instead of ‘I was successful in making negotiation with the other party.’
- Achieved my targets instead of ‘I was able to meet my targets.’
- Resolved a problem instead of ‘Applied my problem-solving skills.’
- Increased sales by 20% instead of ‘Succeeded in increasing the sales by 20%.’
- Motivated the team to perform better instead of ‘Was the key person in motivating the team.’
- Generated income instead of ‘I brought more revenue through my hard work.’
Action words are clear and specific indicators of your proven skills and accomplishments. Moreover, they speak more and occupy less space.
Avoid empty words to describe your skills, for example Hard-working, self-motivated, Go-getter etc. which fail to communicate the real essence of you potential.
Lastly, include information that is useful for the job applied for.
- What you should not do: Do not include personal information until asked for. Double-check your resume´for word spellings and grammatical errors. Keep it short and to the point. Stay focused on your purpose. Do not commit the mistake of sending the same document for different roles/companies. Customise the resume´for specific jobs.
If you find this useful, you may follow the following links What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know andPerfect Elevator Pitch to Introduce Yourself in an Interview to further increase your knowledge on interview preparation and top interview questions. Go ahead, your call letter is waiting to be delivered to your inbox. Do not forget to mail your resume’ on time.