A resume or a CV is a short account of one’s career and qualifications typically prepared by an applicant for a position. A resume is also understood as a personal datasheet that presents the academic qualifications, job-related experience, skills and strong points of a person seeking a job.
While preparing a resume, it is important to know what a good resume can achieve. A good resume helps project the individual in proper light. A good resume helps bring out the basic strengths of the individual in terms of academic achievements, job-related skills, attitude and aptitude and other relevant details in order to hold the attention of the receiver/ employer.
A good resume vies for attention and gets noticed. A good resume makes an impression even at a cursory glance. The demand and supply position in the job market being what it is, any application letter or resume competes with numerous others and only those prepared with care and elegance succeed in kindling the interest of the prospective employer. A good resume helps you get an interview call and move closer to getting the job you are seeking.
We have seen how crucial it is to have a good resume that gets noticed and takes the candidate closer to an interview call. Let us now look at various essentials to be kept in mind while preparing a good resume.
First and foremost, a resume will have to stand out in terms of its neatness. The presentation of details in the resume will have to be in an organized and orderly manner. Unless your handwriting is exceptionally good, it is desirable to get the resume neatly typed.
Smudging, overwriting, uneven lines, ill thought out font variations and unwarranted folding will have to be eschewed. Use a good paper, pen, envelope and a superior format. Take care to do a neat job and avoid careless mistakes.
Remember, your resume has to create a favourable impression. It is the .first opportunity you have to impress your prospective employer. The second essential for a good resume is adequacy or completeness. The resume should cover all relevant details about the candidate which the employer will be looking for and yet if should not be loaded with too) many details.
The recipient will most probably be looking at hundreds of resumes and the candidate should try to make it easy on the reader by making it brief and focused. The desirable length of a resume would perhaps vary depending on the qualifications and experience of the candidate and the nature of the post applied for.
Freshers and just out-of- the-university candidates may not have much to cover, as compared to those who have had varied exposure and experience over several years. In any case, the recipient would be comfortable with a resume that does not exceed about two to four neatly typed pages.
In preparing a resume, a candidate is well advised to mercilessly leave out trivial or minute details about achievements. The resume writer has to resist the temptation to go overboard by packing the resume with avoidable details.
Another requirement towards ensuring a good resume is accuracy of facts and figures. All details furnished in the resume should contain correct and updated information about the candidate. Care has to be taken to mention correct dates and years, names of the institutions, organizations and designation. Equally important, spelling mistakes have to be carefully avoided. Whether it is the designation of the person or the name of the organization, correctness has to be ensured.
Recheck your resume and covering letter for any grammatical and spelling errors. Also, make sure that the dates and years are accurate. Make sure that the resume is updated to cover the latest developments. Honesty and sincerity are very important ingredients of any good resume. Be truthful about your qualifications and achievements.
Take care to project your natural self, the real you. Do not make tall claims or overstate your strengths. Any seasoned HR functionary, who keeps going through numerous resumes regularly, can easily detect an insincere and dishonest presentation of false facts and figures.
Any good resume should clearly bring out the strong points of the candidate. For doing so, the applicant should learn to look at the resume from the employer’s standpoint. When a job is advertised, the employer is trying to fill up a specific vacancy or position.
The position carries a certain job profile with its underlying needs. Every employer looks at the resume and tries to assess it in terms of meeting certain specific needs. The candidate’s strength lies in highlighting one’s own qualification, experience, skills and attitude such that it appeals to the prospective employer.
Considering what the job demands, the candidate should endeavour to suggest how the candidate is equipped to add value to the job. Obviously, no employer would be keen on just offering you or anybody a job.
At the same time, every employer would be keen on getting the right candidate or ensuring the right fit for the vacant post. Are you Mr. Right or Ms Right? If so, try to highlight it without making it very obvious.
Finally, make sure that the resume is appealing and distinctive. Do not use a standard pattern. Make it stand out in a crowd. Be imaginative, in terms of letterhead, presentation style, and statement of objectives or understanding of employer needs. Fine-tune the presentation keeping in view the nature of the organization and the job expectations.
The manner of presentation will vary depending on whether it is a public sector undertaking or a multinational company, whether it is a marketing job or an accounts job and whether it is an academic job or an administrative post.
In fine- tuning your resume, use keywords that go well with the job description. Use language specific to the industry or functional responsibility. At the same time, give your resume a personal touch.
Take your time and make it a thorough job. Make sure that all the vital contact information such as name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address are furnished prominently on the top right-hand corner of the covering letter/resume. Gather and present all relevant details in a clear, correct, honest and visually appealing manner.
There are indeed many ways in which resumes can be presented by job seekers. The candidate has to use discretion in selecting the details to be covered and the headings to be used.
In deciding the length of the resume, sequencing of data, choice of headings and emphasis on strengths and achievements, the candidate should be guided by (1) what the advertiser specifies, (2) nature and level of the position, (3) degree of competition and (4) the level of qualification and experience of the candidate.
If the occasion demands a one-page bio data rather than a detailed resume, the candidate should take care to condense the resume and present the most significant details within one page.
On the other hand, where the application is for a senior position or where it calls for a relatively high level of academic or research achievements, the resume needs to cover the details in a more elaborate manner.
Similarly, when the candidate is fresh out of the university or without much job experience, academic achievements and other relevant features will have to be duly highlighted.
As one moves up the career ladder and gains varied exposure and experience, one would have acquired substantial values which have to be imaginatively packaged in the resume. Whichever format or style the candidate uses, it should clearly bring out the strong points.
While bringing out the academic qualifications, all significant achievements, such as ranks, scores and grades as well as merit scholarships, if any, will have to be properly highlighted. On the other hand, if the grades or scores are not very impressive, the candidate should underplay them without resorting to conspicuous omissions.
The headings or captions under which details are furnished could be many and varied. While some of them covering personal details and academic qualifications would be common to most of the resumes, the other headings may or may not be relevant, depending upon the age and experience of the candidate and the nature and responsibilities of the post.
A suggested list of captions or headings appropriate for resumes in general is given in the following page:
1. Personal details
2. Academic qualifications
3. Academic distinctions
4. Work experience
5. Areas of specialization
6. Career-related achievements
7. Seminars and workshops
8. Papers and publications
9. Membership of boards and committees
10. Guest faculty
12 Other relevant information
13. Languages known
14. Marital status
15. Hobbies and interests
In the following pages, we present illustrations on how relevant details may be presented under each one of the above-mentioned captions.
Areas of specialization:
Quite often, people specialize in specific areas or even geographical markets. The resumes should clearly bring out related strengths, especially when the post applied for demands specialization. Given below are some examples:
1. Specific functional areas
(a) Labour law
(b) Investment banking
(c) Economic journalism
2. Specific industries
(a) Ceramic industry
(b) Mutual funds
(c) Auto components
3. Specific regions
(a) South-East Asian markets
(b) South India
(c) Eastern Region
4. Specialized training
(a) Advanced Training in Commodity Futures
(b) Advanced Program on Asian Financial Markets