On finding a job listing, the first step you take is to send in your job resume. More than just a document, it is an essential tool when applying for a job. A medium to advertise yourself, it is the first means by which you present and market yourself as the best candidate, and get invited to the job interview.
A Resume outlines your background, your education, your experiences and skills, making it easy for a potential employer to analyze if can contribute to the company’s success. With your resume, you are both Describing and Bragging about your Best Qualities.
However, a Resume is very different from a Curriculum Vitae (CV). Be careful not to mix them up.
Differences between a CV and Resume
The difference between the two can be understood from the very meaning their names. Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life.” In contrast, resume is French for “summary.”
An in-depth document with a variable length, a CV contains all details about your achievements, more than just a career biography. The CV covers your education as well as any other accomplishments like publications, awards, honors etc. In contrast, a resume presents a concise picture of your skills, qualifications and experience for a specific position.
A resume is an evolving document and can be tailored to each position, whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.
A Resume can be used to apply for jobs in companies and startups. Whereas, CV should be used if you are applying for internship/research opportunities in colleges and universities.
Contents of an ideal Resume
A resume is like a fact sheet, highlighting your skills and past positions. However, just writing down the responsibilities is not going to help you. Although there is no single best way to write a resume, you need to add more value and make your resume interesting.
So what should a resume ideally include?
Start the resume with contact details, without giving out irrelevant and unnecessary details. This can include Name, Phone number, Email address, Postal Address, Social Media platforms (if related to work) and website.
Resume Summary or Resume Objective
The Resume summary is like a movie trailer. Stimulate the employer’s interest and leave them wanting to know more about you.
Ideally within 3 -4 lines, grab the employer’s attention with evidence of your skills and qualifications. To be effective, it should be very brief (4-5 lines) and also include keywords and resume verbs.
This is most crucial section of the resume and probably the most extensive area. Begin with your current or most recent job and use reverse chronological order. Emphasize the responsibilities and skills by stating the position title and the significant contributions you made in the role.
Start with the highest level of education. Include the name and location of the institution attended, your degree, and field of study.
Your resume should include a list of skills that link your experience to the job you’re applying for. Divide into skill headings, with specific examples bulleted under each section. Some of the headings may include: communication, management, leadership, customer service, financial skills, etc.
Include Awards, Courses, Publications, Certificates, Conferences, etc. under this section. You could also list memberships and campus activities relate to your career objective.
Accompany your Resume with a Cover Letter
Mostly people tend to overlook the necessity of a cover letter, since they are already providing a resume with plenty of information. However, your cover letter is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. Use this coveted space to demonstrate your experience, knowledge, and performance.
Leave the hiring manager with no doubt that you are the Best Fit for the Vacancy.
Safeguard your Resume
With only a few seconds to “wow” a recruiter, having any kind of mistake on your resume is not a risk you can afford. Knowing what NOT to include, is as crucial as knowing the contents of the Resume.
Do not label your resume, “resume”. Use your name so the hiring manager will know whose resume it is, at a glance.
Double-check, review, spell check and re-read your resume before you attach it to an email or submit to an online application. A little proof reading, goes a long way. A grammatically perfect Resume is a must.
There’s no benefit in mentioning details that aren’t relevant to the job. Avoid details like marital status, your nationality, religious belief and physical characteristics on your resume. Only include information that will strengthen your application.
Fancy formatting and Elaborate Details.
Stick to easy-to-read fonts and format. A clean resume design that favors white space makes it easy for the reader to skim through your career history. The more elaborate your resume, the more likely recruiters will be forced to hunt for the information they care about, and the more likely they will skip over your application altogether.
One Resume for all Job Listings
Avoid sending the same resume for each job listing. Tailor the specific skills and achievements for each particular job. Pay close attention to the keywords they use and draft a resume accordingly.
Crafting a resume isn’t rocket science. Yet, you do not want overlook anything trivial that can sabotage your efforts. Once you are done crafting the right resume, you’d be confident, ready to stand out and land that job!