How to Draft a Perfect Professional Resume?

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. So how to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader?

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:
  1. Chronological resume´- Based on chronological order. It is good for entry-level        job seekers
  2.  Functional resume´-Based on skills and experience rather than education Suitable for mid-level or senior job seekers
  3. 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:

  1. Developed a software instead of ‘I was responsible for making a software.’
  2. Led a team of five members instead of ‘I was the team leader of a team consisting of 5 members.’
  3. Negotiated a deal instead of ‘I was successful in making negotiation with the other party.’
  4. Achieved my targets instead of ‘I was able to meet my targets.’
  5. Resolved a problem instead of ‘Applied my problem-solving skills.’
  6. Increased sales by 20% instead of ‘Succeeded in increasing the sales by 20%.’ 
  7. Motivated the team to perform better instead of ‘Was the key person in motivating the team.’
  8. 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.

 

 

 

How Not to Write Business Messages

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

 

Business messages are a link between the team members to facilitate smooth and speedy conduct of routine and specific tasks within and outside the organisation.

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

Writing effective messages can increase your productivity and foster strong work relations. Let us see how?

Business writing is serious business: Business messages are meant for business. Do not assume you can get away with your message without giving it a serious thought. An idea is appreciated and accepted if it is well communicated. So think before you write, revise before your type. Every business message has a definite purpose. Identify the purpose, line of thought and the desired outcome before drafting a message. Once your objective is clear to you it will be simpler to pen down your ideas.

You are not the busiest person on earth: Everyone is busy in his own way.  Yes, you have to meet your deadlines, achieve targets, get over routine business and time is limited. This doesn’t make for an excuse to write hurried, unedited, clumsy messages. If you care for your time, remember even the reader cares for his. He may not like to invest extra time in reading messages that are not well written and easy to understand.

Your message is not intended for you: Certainly you want your messages to be read and not to be thrown into the waste paper basket or deleted from the inbox. So write your message  to address the demand of the reader. Customise the message to answer the query of the reader not to satisfy your requirements.  Write exactly what you want the reader to do with your message. Show consideration for the reader by using simple and positive language. Your aim is not to bedazzle the reader by flaunting your jargons and cliches but rather to draw attention of the reader towards your message. Respect your reader and make him feel important by adopting the ‘You Attitude’.

Your language does make an impression: Do not assume that people pay less attention to your language and style of written communication. At a glance, an interested reader will be able to discern the good from the bad.  Incorrect sentences, half written messages and careless mistakes in spelling and grammar are a common sight in the modern day written communication. Our messages today, are more inspired by whatspp and sms lingo, abbreviations and shortcuts. We undermine the professional tone and language to replace it with fanciful and contemporary terms and phrases. This makes the writing appear casual and unimportant. You are what you portray. If your writing reflects gravity of thought and language, people will read your message more seriously. So always make the right impression.

There is always a better way to communicate: You may know the best in your subject and your language may be at par with the best of communicators. However, writing should be followed by re-writing, revising and editing your draft. To avoid any errors and to include exactly what is needed to make your draft clean, crisp and clear you should not overlook the 7 C’s of effective communication, they are:

  •  Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Concreteness
  • Completeness
  • Correctness
  • Consideration
  • Courtesy

 

The Importance of Written Communication

So what is holding you back to write? A pen and paper, a note pad or a desktop or laptop is just what you need to start your writing workshop. Begin now, right away , do not delay.  Well  yes, it is easier said than done.  If you want to know how then read on…

Written Communication is the most reliable source of communication as it puts on record your idea, message or information. Once a message is recorded it acquires higher credibility. The written message may be encoded in the form of letters, journals,  business reports, e-mails, research papers, books , blogs, articles or magazines. Written communication holds great significance  in educational institutions, corporate communication and government offices. No school, college, office or organisation can run without using written form of communication. Even in settling disputes, resolving conflicts or dealing with legal issues, written communication plays an important role.

Imagine how difficult it would be to connect with your pupil, colleagues, customers and clients in the absence of written channels of communication like notices, circulars, e-mails, letters, journals, books or magazines. All these channels thrive on the art of writing. Writing is an activity which will never leave you no matter how much you avoid using it.  Whether writing for school or college education or drafting a resume for career communication or later preparing project reports or business reviews for office submissions or writing briefs for press or media, advertising etc, writing is an inescapable task. You just cannot survive without executing your written skills.

So what is holding you back to write? A pen and a paper, a note pad or a desktop or laptop is just what you need to start your writing workshop. Begin now, right away , do not delay.  Well  yes, it is easier said than done.  If you want to know how then read on…

Writing is a four step process. Follow the 4P’s of writing to achieve clarity in your communication:

Step 1- Planning– This includes identification of purpose, audience and topic. Planning also involves identification of resources for collecting information, reading and researching to gather knowledge on your topic.

Step 2- Preparation- This includes techniques of ideation like brainstorming and mind-mapping.  They further help in preparing a rough draft and defining a framework and structure for your writing. This allows free flow of ideas and provides a platform to express yourself.

Step 3- Writing- This is the actual stage of writing which involves organizing and evolving ideas into a complete write-up. This stage divides the writing into three distinct parts –

a. The Introduction b. Body of the draft c. Conclusion

Step 4- Post writing-  This final stage comprises of editing and revising your document. Editing helps rectify errors and eliminate unnecessary information. Proofreading is must to ensure that your document is free of linguistic , grammatical and textual errors.

Writing  well is not restricted to knowing the process. There are certain elements that make your writing crisp and clear. If you want to master the art of writing then you must follow the Six Golden Rules of Successful Writing given here:

Rule 1: Begin by asking the WH-Questions- Who, What, When, Where, How

Rule 2: Keep in mind the interest of the reader: Adopt the ‘You Attitude’. You attitude is the approach wherein the focus is on ‘You’ the reader’ rather than ‘I’ the writer.

Rule 3: Follow the ABC of writing, where A stands for ‘Accuracy’, B for ‘Brevity’ and C for ‘Clarity’. Direct approach, simple language and correct grammar will never fail to appeal the reader.

Rule 4: Apply the KISS formula that is,’ Keep it Short and Simple’– Time is precious, value the time of your reader by creating short meaningful messages. Avoid repetitions, long winding sentences and irrelevant details.

Rule 5: Substantiate your writing with examples and illustrations: Examples impart authenticity to your words. People easily relate to stories, anecdotes , figures or statistics. Examples help to reinforce the idea.

Rule 6: Be considerate– Your writing should reflect social and cultural sensitivity. Respect your reader. Use a language that is unbiased and dignified. Refrain from Ethnocentrism and stereotyping.

Originality and freshness are always in demand.

Be original, start writing now…

“You fail only if you stop writing”

(Ray Bradbury)