Your resume can be the deciding factor between you and your dream job. A well planned, worded and formatted resume can do wonders for you even before you say a WORD! Yes! That is the power your resume holds over your CAREER. If you want to jumpstart your career by getting into a great company – make sure you read every word in this article.
The ideal way to go about writing a knockout resume is to first know the basics.
What is A Resume?
A resume or CV is a document that summarises your work experience, education, skills and achievements for a prospective employer. It is usually required as part of a job application and is considered essential information in order for an employer to assess whether an applicant would be a suitable candidate for a first round interview.
Long story short – it is your first bit of formal communication with your employer and it critical for your employment prospects with the employer. The information and its presentation will determine whether it will make it past to the interview stage or not. When you google for resume writing tips there are more than 100 million search results which come up – however, it is you who has to decide how to write a resume that is just about enough to land you your dream job.
Let us go through this entire exercise stage wise
Stage 1: Define The Objective
Why am I writing my resume? Which companies am I going to apply to? Which post/profile/position am I applying for? What am I looking for from my employer?
Tip 1. Defining Aspirations
Be clear about your career aspirations and the position/profile that you are applying for so that your narrative is oriented in the right direction. Too often candidates end up applying for a position which is out of sync with their career aspirations which leads to a decline in performance in the initial years. Many companies attribute this performance decline with inadequate skills. This could have serious repercussions later on in life.
Stage 2: Building the Resume
Now that your objectives are clear, it is time to start the actual work of building your resume.
The most important part of your structure is to figure out the skeleton of your resume, i.e., the way you are going to organize the elements in it.
The most relevant and commonly-used sections to be included in a resume are:
Tip 2. Organize Information
While describing your work experience, you should organize your information using headings and bullet points, instead of writing in long paragraphs with no defined beginning and end. For e.g., you can mention the name of the company you interned in as the heading, and then describe your duties as bullet points underneath it. This way your information would look much more methodized and systematic.
Tip 3. Keep Descriptions Short and Simple
Be mindful of how you describe your work/internships experiences. Avoid writing descriptions of essay-like proportions that leave your recruiter snoozing by the end of it, yet don’t keep them so short that the recruiter is left with no idea about the work you did. And remember: bullet points are your best friends.
Tip 4. Highlight Academic Credentials
As a fresh graduate, your academic credentials will hold importance for your recruiter in most cases, so highlight it properly. Organized it in the form of a table (or a highlighted section), instead of a paragraph or points. The table can have columns for the name of college/university, course, year of passing and marks/CGPA.
Tip 5. Club Together Related Information
All elements from a similar category should be organized together in the same section. For example, all your internships should go under the same section, and should not be combined with your co-curricular activities.
Tip 6. Know the Terms
You should be aware of the difference between curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular, as all three are inherently distinct.
- Curricular activities are those that are a part of your academic course. For e.g., projects
- Co-curricular are ones that go hand-in-hand with your academics, but might not necessarily be a part of the syllabus. For e.g., research papers or conferences
- Extra-curriculars are completely separate from the two, and include activities unrelated to academics. For e.g., awards won at a state level sports competition.
III. Getting the Message Across: The Content
The content is the heart of your resume, the one that would actually help you leave a lasting impression on your recruiter. An outstanding resume cannot be achieved without quality content since it communicates your worth through your experiences and achievements.
Here are a few tips to develop impressive content for your resume:
Tip 7. Customise To the T
With resumes, the phrase ‘one size fits, all’ is never applicable. You should customize your content according to the role you are applying to, and should modify it for each job you apply for. For e.g., if you are applying to a content writing position, it would be helpful to include internships done in that domain, along with accomplishments that highlight your creativity and writing skills.
Tip 8. Mind Your Language
Pay attention to the language you use when conveying your information. Never use slang or informal words in your resume as they look very unprofessional. Yet at the same time avoid using very heavy-sounding and ornate words. A resume is meant to demonstrate your professional skills to the recruiter, not your English language skills.
Tip 9. Action Words Speak Better
Try to integrate action words (such as managed, coached, developed, resolved, etc.) in your resume. These words serve to prime the notion of accomplishment and achievement in your recruiter’s mind. If you need help, there are online resources with a number of action words available for reference. Be careful to use action words only in contexts they are relevant to.
Tip 10. Expectation vs Outcome
When talking about your work experience, focus on your accomplishments instead of duties, i.e. focus on what YOU did in the job vs. what the job was. As an example, try to write about measurable outcomes that you achieved through your role with the help of specific numbers.
- Increased social media engagement by 12%.
- Generated 50 leads in a period of 3 months.
- Successfully inducted and trained 20 new staff members.
Tip 11. Grammar Perfection
This one should go without saying, but always use proper grammar in your resume. If grammar is not a strong suit, then take the help of a friend or an expert, but never put out a grammatically incorrect resume. There are various free online tools available to help with this. Grammarly is a good one.
Tip 12. Ice the Cake: The Format and Design
Like no cake is complete without the icing, an outstanding resume cannot be achieved without appropriate formatting.
Here are a few pointers for achieving a professional-looking resume:
- Align Properly – Usually Left : Always make sure that headings and bullet points are properly aligned. A few misformatted bullets can leave a bad impression.
- Colours or Black and White : You can play around with the look and feel of your resume, depending on the kind of job you are applying to. For e.g., when applying for a creative job, your resume can incorporate colours and a creative style. For more serious jobs, the resume design can be black and white, grey or in shades of blue/green.
- The Right Font : The font type and sizes used can transform the entire look of your resume. Make sure you don’t use intricate or hard-to-read fonts. Standard fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Sans Serif, Calibri, etc. are always safe choices. font size should also be legible enough, no smaller than 10 pt., and ideally a 12 pt.
- NO CAPITAL LETTERS : Avoid writing in capital letters, apart from headings, as they are difficult to read. Not to mention they can give the impression that YOU ARE SHOUTING!
- Allow Your Lines Their Space : Don’t pack in the text. Make your resume neat and easier to read by including lots of white space. Include at least one blank line between each section and the line spacing within sections should be 1.0 or 1.15 pts. The page margins all around the page should also be between 0.5-1 inches.
Tip 13. Pick a Nice Template
If you are having a hard time deciding what format to use, then you can find online resources for that too. Here is one resource that has brilliant customizable templates of various types.
Tip 14. Proofread, Always
Always, always, proofread! This one should be a no-brainer but happens too often. When you apply for a job, you are supposed to present the best side of you. Every aspect of your profile should be presentable, including your resume.
A Few Additional Resume Tips You Shouldn’t Forget
Wait Wait! Here are some additional end notes to remember before you send out your resume to your employer.
Tip 15. Size Matters
The length of your resume should not exceed one page as recruiters are usually pressed for time and do not spare too much time poring over freshers resumes page after page.
Tip 16. Keep it Current
Employers are interested in what you can do for them today and not what you were 10 years back. Do not include your awards/achievements prior to Class IX.
Tip 17. Peer Review
Forward your resume to your family members, teachers/professors in college to seek their opinion on your resume – in case if you have omitted something or included something erroneously. If, you still feel your resume requires expert opinion and needs to be reviewed in greater detail – mail it to us at [email protected].
Finally, the most important thing to understand when you begin with your resume preparation is that preparing a good resume will require deliberate effort on your part. Do not sit one day before the submission date and write the resume. Believe it or not, recruiters in one glance can figure out how much effort has gone into writing the resume. When you land the job of your dreams, it will be worth all the efforts that you have put in.
However, at any point of time if you need the help of a Certified Career Coach who could help you in your quest for success by helping you discover your aptitude, personality and interests and creating an action plan – reach out to us at [email protected] or Call 83358 72100.
Scholars Mojo – Career Counselling in Kolkata, Career Guidance, Career Assessment
Address: 9th Floor, Signet Tower, DN-2, DN Block, Sector V, Bidhannagar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700091
Phone: 083358 72100