The Economics Times survey suggests that generally a recruiter takes around 30 second to read your resume. And, 85% resumes are simply thrown into dustbin without much thought given to them.
First Step Towards Success
Shuchi Malhotra, an HR manager often sees 200 to 300 resumes a day—or perhaps ‘a night‘ would be more appropriate. Actually, her days are already so busy; she packs them into her briefcase and brings them home to read later. At around, 11:00 PM she feels free from her family responsibilities and picks up the first resume. She finds no objective statement on it, she wonders what this person wants or where he would fit in my organization. So that resume goes on the reject list. Do you know, what is the meaning of not putting an objective statement on your resume? It’s like, Hey Mr. Manager, you decide where I should work. It’s like you go to a bike dealer and say, ‘you decide which bike I should buy’.
Job seekers work hard to get a suitable job and most of them just copy resumes from friends or the internet and edit its contents to make it their own. Such resumes are called weak resumes. Because Inbox of Human Resource Managers usually remains flooded with hundreds or even thousands of such resumes per day. Nowadays, HR departments run software based filters for specific keywords to their advertised job. And guess what, if your resume doesn’t have the matching keywords related to the job applied for, you will be out of the race before the game start and all your preparation won’t be used. Thus, it becomes imperative to have a strong resume which brings you an interview call for the desired job. And a strong resume begins with a strong objective.
How to Write Objective of Your Resume?
Most of the job seekers believe that HR person seldom scans the objective of the resume. But, they are wrong; one can lose the job opportunity due to an improper career objective, which does not match the requirement of the desired job. In fact, objective helps HR person to make the first opinion about the resume.
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. Thus, it must include the position applied for, key skills in support of the position and the goal. In an objective, say what you want, if you don’t have much idea, then specify the general area. But, tell the employer something that helps him to find an appropriate place for you.
Your career objective must satisfy following criteria:
- Resume’s objective should be powerful and precise, which helps your employer to know about your skills and talent.
- It should reflect that you will bring an added value to their organization.
- It should be related to the post you are going to apply for.
Writing objective is very important, but, they should not use much decorative language. Instead, a short and straightforward objective comprised of simple words focusing on the target position is more appreciated.
A Fresher’s Resume objective
Writing the objective statement in a resume is mandatory in case of a student, a fresh graduate or an entry level applicant. A modern resume objective statement is a mixture of career goal and a brief summary of skills. Some examples of objective statements are listed here:
Objective statement for entry-level IT professional by an engineering graduate:
“Sun Certified Java Professional certificate holder IT engineer seeking for a position of Software Engineer in a multinational software development company.”
“Software Professional possessing competent technical knowledge; looking for a challenging position in a start-up IT Company to effectively contribute my skills”
Objective statement for Network Administrator in an Internet company by a BCA graduate
“Fresh BCA graduate with sound knowledge of computer networks looking for a Network Administrator post in an Internet company”
Objective statement of a supervisory engineer position by a Mechanical/ Electrical engineering graduate in a power plant
“Mechanical Engineering graduate seeking position of supervisor in a well-established power plant, which helps me exploring power generation process and concepts”
Objective statement for a management trainee position by an MBA graduate
“To acquire the understanding of best customer service and to gain knowledge of daily operations as a Management Trainee in a reputed finance company”
Avoid writing objectives like:
“Seeking a position to explore my skills and abilities in the Industry that offer professional growth while being resourceful, innovative and flexible”
Reason: Because it neither indicates the qualifications/skills you possess nor the type of organization you targeted for.
How to Write Resume from Scratch?
A resume is fundamentally, a marketing tool. And as with other marketing tools, it will require some digging to discover or uncover what the consumer really wants. A resume is not a narration of everything you have ever done or experienced with no regard for how that list meets an employer’s needs. A resume is not your entire life story because your entire life story could not possibly be relevant to the requirements of a single job. You need to ask yourself that what achievements are most relevant to the receiver.
A resume creates an image first, if that image is a positive one, it will lead to an interview. That’s all it does. A famous saying says opportunity never knocks twice, so you never know when the phone will ring or opportunity will knock, and you will be sorry that you did not start preparing an effective resume. If you have not prepared your resume, then, follow the guidelines to write an effective job winning resume.
Candidates, who wish to write their resume from scratch, are really confused that what they should write and what they should omit. So here are some brief guidelines to help newbies to prepare an effective resume.
- Prepare Inventory
Writing a good resume is like writing a brochure about a product, and in this case, you are the product and you need to write your brochure. And, this brochure should be attractive enough to bring customers to the showrooms. Think of yourself as an explorer, and start thinking of all the relevant activities that will best showcase you. Take a paper and pen, start noting headings like education, background, the area of expertise, extracurricular, social activities, training, learning, and other relevant activities.
- What have you learned
Start from your education; write the names of all the schools you attended in reverse chronological order. Write down the grades you scored; date and place of attending school, etc. Mention distinction, honors, special recommendations, entrance exam rank, or other impressive points. Write the experience of attending or delivering any seminar or special lecture or any evening class, etc. This is a brainstorming exercise, whatever comes in your mind, just convert it into words. And don’t edit, that is the rule of brainstorming. You might be thinking how your evening English classes can be counted as a learning activity. But, it counts, everything counts. During brainstorming, every idea has equal value.
- Where have you worked
Write down all the paid jobs you have had during past years. Now, clearly write the name of the company, your designation, duration of the job, and work responsibilities.
- What do you do well
What are your strengths, write down each one of them. Your friends and teachers can also tell you about your areas of expertise. Interestingly, it’s easy to write what you can’t do well instead of writing what you can do well. It’s human nature, but, you should apply the same thing in a positive direction. For example, a final year engineering student may write:
- Good Communication skills
- Moderate writing skills
- Good analytical skills
- General Knowledge
- Good knowledge of Computer and Internet
- Time Management
- Event Organizing
- Good in debate
- Convincing skills
- What have you contributed to the world
Think for a while, have you ever done something for others. Something for the society that was a charity work. For example: Have you contributed to making a street hygienic, have you planted some trees to protect the environment, have you worked as a volunteer in a medical camp, etc.
- What do you enjoy doing
Common, write the activities you like to do. Doing what makes you happy? There can be numerous activities like singing with friends, playing guitar, video game, internet surfing, painting, reading novels, watching favorite movies, etc.
- What do you dream of doing
Everybody has a dream, a dream like one day I will start my restaurant, but, suddenly you think that I am pursuing engineering, and don’t know anything about the food industry. But, it’s a dream, and you are king of your dream world. You can dream of becoming an actor, a writer, a journalist, etc.
- What have you accomplished
Usually, people write about their jobs and responsibilities. But, they don’t write about their achievements during the job.
Actually, mere writing of responsibilities doesn’t show your capabilities and potential. Instead, you should use Problem-Action-Result (PAR) approach, that suggests figuring out the problems you have faced in a particular job, what actions were taken by you to get rid of those problems, and what were the results of those actions. In fact, Human Resource Manager says “Don’t tell that you have a particular skill, just show it”. Therefore, writing accomplishment is a preferred way to show your skills in a more relevant manner. Instead of writing “strong event organizing capabilities”, you should write “Successfully organized state level technical festival”.
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.
If you have gone through all the above steps, then I must congratulate you, because you have done enough of brainstorming and finished with a useful list. It was the most challenging part of making a resume for the first time. Now, all you need is to construct a resume using all the building blocks prepared by you. Following essential tips will assist you to write an impactful resume:
- Use effective heading matching the desired job: Employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5-10 seconds. So headings are important to grab the attention.
- 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.
- 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 the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords given in their advertisement, this increases the chances of your resume getting selected for the first phase.
- 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 readymade 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 readymade 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.
Advanced Resume/ CV Writing Tips
Advance tips are for those who are already in a job and looking for a higher package or wish to change their jobs due to one or another reason. They are the professional who is having work experience of 2-8 years. They also need to market their unique set of skills and achievements to attract the potential recruiter to their profile.
Therefore, one has to put some extra efforts in writing their resume other than the resume writing tips mentioned above, like:
- Use suitable power words according to your personality.
- Identify and solve the employer’s extra hidden needs by some research and analysis.
- Sell the benefits of your skills. Use PAR (Problem-Action-Result) approach.
- Create an image that matches the salary you desire.
Elaborating Resume/ CV
Usually, professionals with work experience have more information to represent in their CVs and that will definitely increase its length. Contrary to this, the interviewer doesn’t have much time to spend on a single CV. Thus, it’s a challenging task for job seekers to identify the key information and represent it elegantly so that the interviewer can look upon the same in a short span of time. Thus the following guidelines will be fruitful while designing a perfect CV.
- Top skills and experiences should be prioritized and presented in the uppermost section of the CV. Then details like additional educational, employment history, academic experience should be mentioned. It’s a simple idea to show your best part first.
- Use strong professional-looking phrases in describing your personality, capabilities, experience, and achievements.
- Mix and match words and phrases to project yourself, and to reflect what you understand about the job requirements. Offer to the employer and interviewer whatever they are particularly looking for.
A list of descriptive phrases and words to elaborate personal profile, capabilities for writing impressive and professional CVs are easily available on the Internet. A job seeker has to find out the needs of the employer with the help of detailed advertisement. And going through the company profile and guessing the hidden needs of the company will be a bonanza. Job seeker can choose the phrases or combination of phrases in a way relevant to the job specifications. Create a list of 4-8 key activities demonstrating your competence and personality that closely match the employer’s requirements for the job. And then, prioritize these activities in the order you want the employer should think about your personality and judge your experience. It is better to describe your experience and capabilities with some examples and proven past records.
Fresh graduates, at the beginning of their careers don’t have any proven experience to write in phrases. So they can relate their degree level experience with the demands of employers. For example, Fresher can write that “organized state level Technical Festival, lead the basketball team of college, completed a research project etc.”