Process of Developing a Resume
Nobody can ever underestimate how important it is to write a good resume. Everyone needs to make a resume be it a college student or a working professional. A resume is the first that a potential employer sees. It is correctly said that “First impression is the last impression.” First impressions counts the most, and the first impression that a potential employer will have of a candidate is going to depend on how the candidate presents his/her resume. Presenting resume is one and only chance to capture a potential employer’s attention, or for your resume to be tossed into the file of those they don’t want to pursue. So either it’s a hit or a miss. All the recruitment processes starts with scanning the resume and only after clearing that stage candidates are called for personal interview rounds so that’s the importance of writing a good resume. If we go by the statistical data available to us we would get to know that the employer spends less than 60 seconds on a single resume and if the employer does not get a good impression then he is not coming back to the resume.
Understanding a resume
A resume is a summary of educational background, professional experience if any and skills for potential employers. The resume’s physical appearance a neat and clean resume always gets the attention, and most importantly, what you say and how you say it, will affect an employer’s decision to interview you. The contents of the resume are important but the presentation of the content is most important. Your resume should highlight your qualifications for securing job in that particular firm or field. A resume prepared for one position might leave out information that should be included in a resume for another position. Because a resume may not be suitable for all the profiles. But in all cases, your resume should focus on your qualifications and transferable skills, and suggest future contributions you could make to the organization. Your resume should always be up-to-date, so rewrite and reprint very frequently as necessary- in fact, it is a good idea to update your resume every time you have a new accomplishment or credential. While writing a resume always keep in mind that your resume may get as less as 15- 30 seconds of consideration. Always be pertinent, short, and consistent in your layout and writing style throughout your resume. Another thing to always remember is, “resumes get interview, not jobs!”
Before Writing a Resume
Before you start writing your resume a research about certain things is required:
Begin with researching the company you are targeting. Company’s website can be a great place to start your company research. On the company’s website you would be able to find information related to company background, community involvement, special events, executive bios and annual reports and any other relevant information. If you are not able to get the required or substantive information from the company’s website you may also physically visit the company to know whatever required literature is available. Another thing you can do is you can also call the company directly. While making that call, you are specifically looking to find out how that company is structured, and most importantly what qualities they generally seek in their potential employees, their job openings, names of department heads, etc. Then after researching about the company make sure you research the position you are applying to well. It is always good to research about the position well in advance.
The more you will be knowing about the position and the company, and there will be greater chance that you will be able to match your resume to that position. If feasible, see if you can speak with someone from the same company who does the same job. Interacting with someone already in the similar position can give you valued insight into the different types of things that can be asked to you in the interview. Last but not the least research yourself. The goal of life is not just to find a job. Your goal is to find a job that you will enjoy doing. After finding out all possible information about the company and the position, make sure that it is in line with what you actually want to do and where you really want to be in your life. While you may not spend your entire professional career in that position, it is the base of your lifetime professional career. You might not want to find yourself in a situation where you spend too much time doing something you do not enjoy, working with people you do not like, living somewhere you do not want to live, or in a position that isn’t challenging enough, or worse yet, or may be the one you are not capable of doing.
General Pointers for Resume
- There are many small things that matter while writing a resume like the format, length of the resume, writing style and structure of the resume. These things may look very easy but leave a very important impression of the candidate on the employer.
Appearance of the resume
• Create good spacing with margins one inch wide on top, bottom, and sides of the resume.
• Use bold type, underlining, and CAPITALIZATIONS to highlight information.
• Use non-decorative fonts such as Times and Helvetica and a font size of 10-12 points.
• The resume should be neat. Never make handwritten corrections.
• Produce on a computer using a laser printer. Then you may have professionally copied on white or off-white resume paper.
Length of the resume
• Resumes (not curriculum vitas) should typically be confined to one page. However, in some fields it is fine to have two pages, but never make it beyond two pages. Put name and page number on second page.
• Paragraphs should be no longer than ten to twelve lines or five to seven bullets.
Content of your resume
• Use only current resumes. Make sure all contact information is current. Update your resume every time you apply to a new position.
• Demonstrate your content and transferable skills.
• Quantify and address why your work in your previous job was important. Show results and achievements.
• Do not list personal information or references. It does not leave a professional impression.
• Always check for grammar, spelling, and typing errors. A resume with grammatical errors leaves very unprofessional impression.
• Write objectively – no I’s, me’s, my’s, etc.
• State present position in present tense and past positions in past tense.
• Use action verbs and keywords.
• Avoid abbreviations wherever possible.
• Place most important material with greatest amount of detail at the beginning of each job description and resume section.
• Use a format that is uncluttered, organized and readable.
• Always make sure that your resume is telling the employer why you qualify for the job.
It is always important to divide your resume into relevant sections and then putting the right thing into right section. You need to very carefully decide about the information you want to include, and how to present it clearly and powerfully to the employer. There is never a set template or one single way to write a resume. Employers generally prefer to see what experiences or other activities you may have aside from your studies and paid work, as they always prefer to employ people with diverse skills and qualities. Therefore your resume should therefore be a brief snapshot of you as a person – your education and work experiences, and all your extracurricular interests and achievements that you have done in your past.
Add a professional touch to resume It is crucial to realize that it is good to make the look and feel of your resume attractive, but it should not be an overdose so as to defeat its main purpose. The writing style and format of your resume should not appear unprofessional. It is okay to use colors but use them carefully. They must not clash with the formality of your resume. Keep in mind that potential employers have specific criteria for selection of candidate.
What should be included in a resume?
Job description of the profile should be kept in mind while deciding on what to include in your resume. But in all cases these things should be included –
1. Name: Begin with your NAME (we suggest upper case bold for name only), and complete contact information (address, phone and email address). Make sure you cross-check this information as it is very important part of your resume.
2. Certifications: List professional certifications with dates received. If you have undertaken any professional courses or training then make sure you include them in your resume to give a good impression.
3. Education: Put your education in reverse order, begin with your last degree or the one you are enrolled in currently. Make sure you include your school name, city, state, degree, major, date degree was – or will be – conferred and honors or any other relevant information. Include your scores CGPA or percentage with university name or board name.
4. Courses: To sharp up your resume to a specific job, you can also include a list of “relevant courses.” This also fills space if you have little experience.
5.Awards and Activities: You can make use of one or more categories as you deem appropriate, mention your achievements such as scholarships, leadership roles in clubs in your college or university, campus/community organizations, sports or other accomplishments.
6. Research/Project Work: You may also include special projects or research, mention your significant relevant classroom learning experiences such as research projects, special presentations, and major papers if you have done any. Make sure you add two three lines describing the project.
7. Work Experience: Your experience, regardless of what type it (be it full time or part time jobs, internships, community or college service) is usually of main interest to the potential employer. For each position, include: Job Title (include dates of employment), Employer, City, Emphasize (put first) either employers or job titles, Describe your roles and responsibilities, duties and accomplishments, preferably using list format with appropriate bullets.
8. Relevant Skills: Include computer hardware and software knowledge, fluency in foreign languages if any, or any other technical skills you possess. If you have several of each, use separate categories.
9. Free time Interests: List interests only if you have good knowledge about something it or you are very good at it. This section is optional.
10. Affiliations: List relevant professional or volunteer affiliations/memberships (if any). Include any offices/position of responsibility held.
Important Features for a successful resume
Most candidates for a specific job often have similar degrees and work histories, if you are applying for college placement then all the students have same degrees and many times same background. So it becomes really important that you show how your application is different from others. Mere putting some points in your resume is not as convincing as signifying how you have used the skill. Here are some important pointers:
- Make use of action verbs to include your duties and achievements, depicting yourself as someone who gets the job done.
- Use a good vocabulary list. Put more emphasize on skills and experience relevant to that job you are applying and to the potential employer’s needs.
- When you are describing your work experience be it community service or any internship, use more detailed descriptions that give the employer a picture of you as an individual avoid giving vague descriptions that make you sound like everyone else.
- Quantifying your work leaves a very good impressions. Citing your work done by numbers, percentages, etc., where appropriate. But do not unnecessary include numbers.
- Describe the most relevant and impressive achievements first and continue in that order. How to market your
The work experience section of your resume is one of the most important section your resume. It allows the candidate to describe to the employer the skills and roles you have done in your previous jobs. Experience can be of any kind be it paid, unpaid, volunteer, community, family business, or any other significant educational achievements such as co-ops, internships, research projects, business collaboration projects, and any other extracurricular. Here are some points to keep in mind while writing this section of your resume.
- Use reverse chronological order in each experience section. Begin each full experience description with employer, city and state, your title, and dates – typically on two lines and arranged identically for all experiences within a section.
- Describe your skills, accomplishments, and responsibilities. Expand on parts of your experience most relevant to the employer.
- Begin each statement with an action verb.
- Make sure that you write objectively – no I’s, me’s, my’s, etc.
- State present position in present tense and past positions in past tense.
- Use bold type, underlining, and CAPITALIZATIONS to highlight information.
- Creating Experience Headings
- Divide your experiences into most powerful to least powerful sections to
THINGS TO REMEMBER
• Always understand the insistence and audience of your resume and try to cater to their needs.
• Choose a style and format that you think presents you well.
• Include facts that are updated and relevant, and try to exclude information that isn’t relevant to the profile.
Things you should avoid: Don’t use pictures in your resume. Try to not include work experiences which are not backed by documents (like: letters of appointment and release). Never write you’re the salary you are expecting, wait for an interview call, salary negotiation can always happen there over the call. Do not include unnecessary references in your resume; they are important but provide them only on request. There is no need to add your hobbies unnecessarily.
Highlight your skills
Create a section for your “Skills,” which you should briefly list. The most important skills you can convey to potential employers—the hard and soft skills that are not easily conveyed by your work experiences. If you possess any relevant skills that are in predominantly high demand, then emphasize them first.
This section may include also languages you are comfortable in speaking, any programming/computer languages you’ve mastered, any specialized areas of knowledge, certifications you have outside of those required by the jobs in your work experience section. And always include the soft skills, which are becoming increasingly important for any job profile.
Always make sure that the language you are using to describe your skills matches what’s in the job description
Interests & Achievements
Try to make this section of your resume as short as possible but this section is still essential, it does not only shows an employer what type of person you are, personality wise, but could also highlight skills that are relevant to a particular role. You don’t have to give many information .But without giving so much information, make sure that your interests reflect your personality type and who you are. If you are interested in creative writing, perhaps say more about this.
Travel: Took part in a voluntary scheme where you traveled to any place.
Now it is also possible that some of your interests may relate to a job and can show that you are different from other applicants. Your achievements can be any awards you received in your school, college and any other top classifications, scholarships or impressive facts that may show leadership and successes.
Conclusion: Make sure that your resume does not include all those principally that may be rejected through screening software. Always bear in mind that the basic information remains the same but you may be required to make modifications to cater to different employers or different businesses you are applying every time. Finally at the end go through your complete resume and search for any typos before taking out a hard copy.