It is true that generally employers takes around 5-10 seconds to judge candidates on the basis of their resumes.
Following essential tips will assist you to write a strong job winning resume:
- Objective: Be optimistic, don’t write that you want to leave the existing company as the environment is not healthy or mundane instead write you are looking for more challenging and energetic environment. Mention how your strength and experience will benefit the organization. Career objective is considered to be a precise summary of your skills, ability, and interests in the relevant field, which leads you toward a career goal.
- Relate qualities with work experience: Instead of creating a long list with all your qualities (e.g. innovative, disciplined, problem solver), try to connect them with real life situation faced and work experiences (e.g. Instead of writing only creative thinking, write: used creative thinking ability to design company brochure).
- Emphasis on the Keywords: Job seekers must find out keywords from the advertisement/ job details and mention them in their resume because, in order to overcome the problem of scrutinizing among thousands of resumes, recruiters use applicant tracking software now a day. In the first phase your resume is submitted to the database, later, recruiter performs search operations based on certain keywords relevant to the job role, company expectation and cultural. If your resume possesses these special keywords than chances are pretty good that resume will be selected for next stage i.e. interview.
- Prioritize the contents: Resume must have a name, email id, mobile number, correspondence address on the top and start from a short career objective, professional work experience in reverse chronological sequence, awards and recognition, basic academics details, skills and other personal details as per the requirements of the job.
- Design: A simple and elegant design that has:
- Fonts: Times New Roman or Verdana fonts with a size between 10 to 12 is recommended, use capital or bold/ italic as required to grab the attention of the employer, don’t heavily bold.
- Bullets instead of long sentences preferably start with headings; remember employers don’t have much time to read all the story line.
- Short but effective sentences: Always avoid long statements, use grammatically correct short and effective sentences.
- Put your foot in employer’s shoe: Don’t include unnecessary/ irrelevant information. Think from the employers’ point of view. e.g. Mentioning job experience of 4.5 months may have a negative impression on your employer about your stability.
- Use of Photograph: A professional job seeker unless asked must not paste photograph in the resume. It is required in some specific professions like modeling, air hostess/ flight steward etc. In fact, this practice varies with countries and cultures. In India, generally, photographs are not required in a resume.
- Carefully write contents: Be careful while choosing the contents of a resume. Following are some tips:
- Fresh graduates have to mention their internship experience, project experience, certifications, and details of participation in extracurricular activities. If the degree is not finished, then mention its tentative date of completion.
- Don't list references right on your resume unless asked. Although, references play an important role but during the stage of job confirmation. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are specifically requested.
- Many Job seekers normally include statements “References available upon request” in a resume which is an optional phrase.
- If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be mentioned that you are available for an interview and you will provide references if requested. Always be ready with at least three professional references who can verify your professional work and attitude when asked.
- Use Mr./ Ms. / Dr. / Prof. etc at appropriate places is highly recommended. Interestingly, in India, the first name comes after Mr, while, in Europe, Surname comes after Mr. For example, Mr. Ankit Mantri in India and Mr. Mantri Ankit in European countries.
- Mention the name(s) of persons under whom you have worked or are currently working.
- Your resume should not contain the pronouns “I” or “me.”
- Hobby: Remember, you have to “amplify the essential and eliminate the irrelevant”: e.g. you can eliminate your hobbies that are not going to support the nature of job applied for.
- No false information: HR departments are having background verifications which may reveal any false information if furnished by you. This activity may be harmful to your career.
- Declaration: No declaration required at the end of the resume because you have to submit necessary documents as evidence at the time of joining in any organization.
- Don’t use ready made template: Often candidates download the template from the Internet, but, think for a while that if you can download it from the Internet, others can also download it as well. Because it’s an easy task to use a ready made template to design resume. Actually, employers wish to see your own skills, when you write, ‘I possess good presentation skills’, don’t just write, prove it in your resume.
- Proofreading: eliminate grammatical and typing errors. Ask others/ seniors to spend some time on your resume.
- Power Word: You must use Power words or Action verbs to write a compelling resume. It means instead of writing “I am a good organizer of events in my college”, you should write “Organized events in college”, for one more instance, write “developed science models”, instead of writing “I am having good knowledge of science models”. Examples of some other action verbs are: managed, analyzed, administered, addressed, convinced, qualified, approved, assigned, etc. Use of action verbs depicts that you have actually done something. And it is a recommended way of writing your accomplishments in the resume.
Don’t use a single resume for all jobs, every job requires different skills and experiences so customize it for every job. Even updating a resume is mandatory for all the job seekers and professionals.
- Do not use photocopies of Resume/CV: Other than the above-mentioned tips the role of good printer and paper cannot be neglected while sending a printed copy of resume. Even, if sending resume via courier then choose an envelope whose size must be sufficient enough to cover complete resume without any folds.
- PDF: Resume should be sent in PDF format to ensure cross-platform viability. By doing so, the information and formatting of resume will remain intact.
- What’s there in a name: Don’t just name the resume “resume.pdf” while applying for a position of software trainee, instead, it is recommended to write something like “abhinav_SoftwareTrainee.pdf”. If you wish to shorten this name then use proper acronyms like ST for Software Trainee or JE for Junior Engineer, etc. Interestingly, William Shakespeare’s name is always written below his famous quote “What’s there in a name”.
Many companies provide a career option on their website. Generally, such options always remain active and candidates can send their resume even if there are no current job openings in the company. Such resumes are termed as unsolicited resumes, and every company has certain policies to entertain such resumes.
Mr. Hamsaz Vasunia, head business HR, DCB Bank suggested some tips while submitting unsolicited resume (Source: Times Ascent, October 9, 2013)
- Don’t send your resume more than once or clog the recruiter’s Inbox: you will be blocked.
- Don’t send a mass e-mail to several companies
- Don’t overdo the following-up. Allow enough time for a response
- The cover letter has to be interesting and not too long, as all you have are two or three seconds before the recipient moves on.
- Mention who you are and what you are looking for clearly in the e-mail
For instance, if you met an HR Manager at an event, you should refer to that meeting in the subject line while sending your resume to her.