How to Create a Great Resume - Part II
While writing a resume, you must remember that in this competitive world, you can no longer maintain a generic resume that you will submit to every other organization.Rather you have to create a job specific resume. What does that mean? Every job opening comes with a specific "job description and job specification". While writing your resume, you have to meet the "job description/specification" requirements by listing your qualifications and experience.
An employer does not care what you did at your last job. He is more concerned about what you can do for his organization.While writing your resume, you should ask yourself about the value that you can offer to your employer. Your past jobs should tell the employer not only about the tasks you accomplished but also about the skills you used in completing those tasks and the honor you received on efficient and timely completion of your tasks. Your CV should tell employer about your abilities and not about your responsibilities because who will check whether your fulfilled your responsibilities on the job. It means that your CV should not just mention your job description rather it should be achievement focused.
While writing your resume,control the type of information you want to give about yourself.Any information, which does not increase your attractiveness to your potential employer, need not be mentioned. If there is some information that can hamper your career prospects, omit it from your resume. If you are overeducated for a job, don't mention the degree that makes you look so. Similarly if you are undereducated, focus more on the skills and accomplishments instead of mentioning education on the first page. Be selective in relaying your information. If you have been switching jobs more regularly, mention only the most relevant positions. However, make sure that there are no gaps in your employment history.
At the start of resume, give your complete name, address, telephone number and email address. Place your name on the top of the page. Make it bold or capitalize the name text using font four to six points larger than the rest of the text. Your address must be correct, updated and reliable. As for email, don't use your work email if you don't want to inform your current employer about your job search. Create a professional email address, using a combination of your first and last name. The email addresses like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com are unprofessional & inappropriate and won't leave a good mark on your potential employer.
Check your email regularly so that messages from your employers don't leave unattended for days lest you should miss a great job opportunity. Give your reliable phone number so that if your potential employer wants to reach you, he could do it in a hassle free manner. Refrain from adding your photo in your resume unless you are applying for a position that specifically requires a photo like actor or model (or government jobs in Pakistan). You would like your employer to select you on the basis of your skill set instead of your physical appearance.
Job objectives should come after your name. It tells the reader the type of work you are looking for, makes your plans clear (whether you are looking for a part time or full time opportunity) and clarify the ambiguities. The job objective is actually a summary of what you have described in your cover letter. Job objectives are important because cover letters are usually separated from resumes and people usually like to go through resumes first.
Job objectives can be described in two ways: Descriptive and Titled. Descriptive job objective tell about the type job you are interested in a specific organization while the titled objectives just name the job title you are applying for. While writing the descriptive job objective, avoid using cliche phrases like "looking for a chance to apply my skills" or "looking for a growth opportunity". Provide your job objectives clearly and it should not be more than two lines long. Under the job-objective, you can also create a summary of your qualifications and work experience. This will provide a synopsis to your potential employer.
In the Education part, list the degrees along with the institutions and their location. Mention your graduation date as well. If you have not graduated yet, mention your expected/anticipated completion date. If you are a recent graduate or an alumnus from a prestigious university (like Ivy League or in case of Pakistan LUMS, IBA, NUST, QAU and many other top schools), you may like to mention Education under the Job Objectives. On the other hand, if you have long work experience with pretigious organizations, you may like to mention Education after your Work Experience section.As for Work History/Experience section, you need to decide whether you would follow the chronological rÃ©sumÃ© format or the functional one.
While sending your resume for job consideration, always include a personalized cover letter. Employers won't consider an applicant who submitted a poor cover letter or the one who did not even bother to attach a cover letter with resume. The cover letter is your first interaction with your potential employer and you won't like that impression to go bad. Like resume, a good cover letter can help you land a job however it takes time and expertise (command of language) to write a good cover letter. On the other hand, a bad cover letter, composed easily, can prevent you in attaining a rewarding job.
Use white or light gray paper for printing your resume in black ink. Moreover, use the same paper for your resume, cover letter and envelope in order to create synergy in your application package. You may want to type the envelope if you have scribbled handwriting.
Don't lie in your resume. It is important to emphasize your strengths but fabricating your achievements/skills will do more harm than good. Employers usually verify this type of information and if your employer learns about this deceptive activity, chances are that you will be immediately fired. If there are gaps in your employment history, don't try to cover them with lies. Sooner or later, your organization will know. Similarly, there is no need to exaggerate your experience and achievements.
Employers don't like job jumpers. It is expensive to train a new employee so no employer would like to hire a job hopper. If you have been switching jobs more frequently, you may want to mention only the more recent or relevant positions.
Don't fold your resume, as a wrinkled resume is not only difficult to read but also make it tough to scan. Never send photocopies of your resume as these look unprofessional and inappropriate.
Your current job responsibilities should be mentioned in the present tense while your past jobs should be described in "past tense" using "impersonal voice". You don't have to use pronouns ("I", "We", and "They") while describing your achievements/completed tasks.
There is no need to include personal information if it is not relevant to the position you are applying for. List only those skills and hobbies that you think are helpful in getting you a job. Don't include information that is unimpressive and is of little interest to your potential employer. Include references when these are demanded by an organization or at the end of resume, simply state, â€œreferences are available on request".
Besides the above guidelines, keep the KISS principle in mind while creating your resume.
Keep it Short, Simple and Straightforward.