Why you need a Resume
A resume is one of the most important documents you’ll ever write. It’s a snapshot of your skills and experience that represents you to potential employers. The way you present yourself in this document will also show how well you can articulate and convey your message.
It is easy to forget about what a resume is for. But for those who are looking to get hired, it is an absolute must. A resume gives potential employers the opportunity to see what you have accomplished and why you are not only qualified but interested in the position. This also provides them with a way of seeing your personality and determining whether or not you would be a good fit for their team.
As a hiring manager, I used to receive and scan through hundreds of resumes. I can see the errors or mistakes that shouldn’t be made (yet they all were in blindspot to me when I was in the position of the applicants). Here I want to share some tips that may help you take your resume to the next level.
What to include in a resume
In general, a resume is not supposed to exceed one page. This is because employers spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding to move on.
Thus, it needs to be concise and well organized. A good way to organize a resume is to list your most recent experience first and work backward in time. Many people also want to mention their career goals in the first section. Myself included. You want to show your prospective employers about you, in a nutshell. Be bold. Be different! This is your chance to be memorable and stand out from the crowd.
However in my own experience, I use two-page resume and it still works wonders. The reason I use two pages because it get tricky to fit everything I want to share in one page, either I have to remove critical information, or reduce the fonts.
The typical structure should be as follows:
Contact information: very basic
Summary (or your own value proposition
Skills & highlight
Others (the software you can use, achievement, volunteer experience..)
Tips for writing your professional summary
The summary section should be the first thing that a recruiter or employer reads. The goal of this section is to provide them with a brief overview of your work history, skills, and goals. Try to make it clear what sets you apart from other candidates quickly so they’ll want to read more.
Make it relevant
First and foremost, put yourself into the shoes of the hiring manager. What would they look for in an applicant? What critical skills or experiences do they value the most? Do you have that? If yes, for sure find a way to highlight in your resume. If not, tweak your past experiences to stress how your transferable skills can be relevant to the role you are applying to
Decide on the right format and font
The choice of font is important. We tend to associate certain fonts with certain ideas, for example, Times New Roman with tradition and serifs with authority. A good choice of font will reflect the feeling that you want to give your document. Times New Roman is a traditional font, and thus it’s commonly used for formal documents such as resumes. Arial or Georgia is also another good option as they are easy for the eyes. Do avoid cursive fonts as they are difficult to read and the audience may take a while to get used to that font
Creative ways to generate ideas for your resume
A resume can make or break you, so it’s important to make every detail count.
Of course, if you’re struggling for ideas, here is a list of creative ways to generate them:
– Think about the company’s mission statement and qualities they look for in employees. What would this mean for your skills?
– Start off with a quote from an inspirational figure.
– Include a list of skills that is not typical on a resume.
- Look for recent change/news of the potential employers: what are they trying to do? how are you going to fit in the puzzle? How can you potentially help them?
Should you include your photo in the resume?
As with many things in life, the answer to this is IT DEPENDS.
Whether you include your photo in your resume depends on if it will be an asset or a liability to your application.
Regardless of your industry, profession, or other factors, you should not include your photo on your resume. Having a photo on a resume just means that job applicants are easier to spot which in turn may disqualify them before they even get an interview.
In my opinion (even though I did include my photo in my resume previous and still got into the next interview round), it’s best to avoid adding a picture of yourself on your resume if you work in a field that relies heavily on visuals (like acting or modeling) or even requires creativity (like writing or design). They aren’t going to care about your appearance (or should they?). In certain cases, including a picture of yourself on your CV may be seen as unprofessional and/or unwise.
Common mistakes to be avoided
- If you make typos or grammatical mistakes (especially if English is not your mother tongue), ask a native speaker or use some app to highlight any mistakes that you could miss)
- List of duties instead of achievements (ask yourself: how did you do the job differently from others, what were the things you had done well, any achievement that can be measured or quantified: this would gives hiring manager a good sense of what you achieved – much better than just qualitative data)
- Incorrect contact information (this one is fatal)
- Use passive verbs instead of active verbs
Where to find a good resume template?
There are many resources that can help you start your resume, or refine yours. If you are thinking of finding your next best job, or just starting your career, or getting back into the job market after a career break, chances are you need to update and refine your resume. A good professional template is important, yet it could be very time-consuming to build from scratch. If you want to take advantage of my templates (proven to be effective), check them out here. I personally used this template during my job hunt and got a lot of interviews, so rest assured that this template works well. I also used to include photos in my applications, and it didn’t make a difference in the application, at least based on the number of interview calls I got. However, if you prefer a safe approach, feel free to remove your photo.
A resume could help you open doors to potential opportunities. It’s not everything, but it is among the first critical step. Many times applicants couldn’t make their way into the interview rounds not because they do not have skills or experiences, rather due to some mistakes in their resumes, or they weren’t able to paint an interesting picture about themselves to hiring managers. While many people get their jobs without submitting any resume (due to various reasons), that’s not the norm and should not be expected. If we cannot present ourselves in the most presentable ways and put our efforts into creating a good resume, how should we convince employers that we could be dedicated employees?
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