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Resume writing tips
 
 
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For you, the main purpose of a resume is to get you through to an interview. It is a self-promotional message which states: I have what it takes to fill requirements of this job. For a prospective employer, resume is a tool to screen applicants and is the first glimpse they have of you and based on their assessment of your resume amongst many others, you may be called for an interview.

Therefore, you need to create a resume that makes you stand out as a superior candidate for a job you are seeking. Talent Quest offers some simple guidelines to craft a resume that will help you make a good first impression.
 
Time and effort
An effective resume gives the employer a clear image about your skills, qualification, previous work experience and achievements in the past in direct relation to a specific position. To achieve this, would need to carefully plan and focus on the content and design to stand out and this would require you to put in a little extra time and effort.
 
Identify the requirements of the employer:
You need to understand what the employer is looking for in his search for a perfect candidate in terms of experience, skills and abilities required to do the job.  Think of how you could be this perfect candidate by establishing connections between what you can offer and what the employer is looking for. This would give you a clear focus on how you want your resume to shape up for a specific employer.
 
Summary of skills, abilities and achievements:
Evaluate and determine which skills and abilities you possess. Make a note of your achievements in the past. Select and state only those skills, abilities and achievements which are relevant to the job and employer. Give credible evidence of your skills, abilities and achievements and list it down in the experience and/or education section of the resume.
 
Experience:
This is where recruiters will focus most of their attention. Jobs must be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first). The last 10-15 years of your experience are enough. Focus on the most recent and/ or relevant jobs. If you have very relevant experience, include that under the heading “Relevant Work Experience” and list less relevant jobs   under “Other Work Experience”. Include your title or position, the dates of your employment and your place of employment.
 
Use effective job titles by being as descriptive about the nature of your past jobs. For example:Bad Titles: Sales; Accounts
Good Titles: Key Accounts Manager; Management of Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and General Accounting.

Summarize a few of your earliest jobs by using bullet points to describe your work duties and accomplishments. This can be effectively communicated using PAR (Problem - Action - Result) statements. Let us consider a few examples to understand this well.
  • Resolved (P) employee grievances by (A) introducing dispute resolution process, (R) lowering grievances rates by 50% in first year.
  • (P) Increased productivity by (A) introducing new accounts, (R) resulting in a 20% increase in overall revenue.
  • (P)Reduced overall electricity costs by 10% by (A) implementing an audit procedure, resulting in an annual saving of Rs. 2 lac.
 
Customize your resume objective
Objective is a short, powerful statement that expresses the career goal in relation to what the employer is looking for in terms of bringing added value to their organization.
 
Keep these things in mind before formulating the resume objective:
Be specific about the position and type of job desired.
Use job and skill related words.
Match your strengths, abilities, achievements or qualifications to the position you are applying for. These should be aligned with the job advertisement to ensure you address the employer’s needs and not yours.
If you have limited work experience or if you are looking for a career change, then place the emphasis on your potential by listing your relevant skills to divert the employer’s attention.
 
Education and training
The education section is usually placed after the experience section, however it is better to place it at the beginning of the resume if your education is highly relevant to the job that you are applying for, if you are a fresher or if you have no past experience in the field that you going into, but have a degree or training in that field. List education in reverse chronological order starting with degrees, followed by certificates and advanced training.
 
While listing the degrees, keep the following points in mind:
  • Mention the institution where you obtained the degree.
  • Dates are optional. They sometimes indicate how old you are and how current your knowledge is, so be conscious of that when you decide whether to include dates.
  • Thesis, internships, projects etc. should be listed if they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

If you haven’t received the degree yet or are working on an uncompleted degree, include the degree and the name of the institution you are attending followed by the date you intend to finish or else mention currently enrolled, in progress or 1 year completed.

If you enrolled for a course but did not finish, mention your area of study and the name of the institution and then the dates (optional). The fact that you did not get the degree may be overlooked.
 
Awards & commendations
If you have received any awards when you were working or while studying, include them under Experience or Education heads respectively. If you were given the award for outstanding accomplishment or performance, mention that. If you received praise from a very senior source, be it in the institution you were studying in or the same organization you were working for or from one of your clients or customers, quote the source and put this under the Awards and/or commendations head and you could go ahead and quote the source.
 
Interests and hobbies
Include this section if it is relevant to the job you are seeking as it can provide further evidence of soft skills or area of knowledge or say positive things about you. For example, if you are applying for a nature or sports related job, you could mention you enjoy camping or outdoor activities. If you are applying for a job which requires a lot of travel and you like traveling, put that down in this section.

Your interests and hobbies should also reflect a personality more suited to the job description. When deciding which hobbies to list, take into consideration if the job is more desk oriented or more people oriented. Hobbies such as reading, writing, internet surfing, painting etc. indicate a personality that is suited for desk bound job. To reflect a more outgoing personality, state hobbies such as traveling, team sports, involvement with clubs, photography etc
 
References
It is not necessary to include this section in the resume as it is assumed that when asked upon, you will provide the references. However, you may put ‘References available upon request’ at the end of the resume. You can write the references on a separate sheet, to be given to the employer upon request.
 
Choosing the right resume format
 
Depending on your personal circumstances, you can choose from the following resume types:
  • Chronological Resume: This type of format is most suitable for candidates with stable, solid career progression through one or, at most two fields and with no large gaps between jobs and are not drastically changing their career direction. It presents your work history in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job.
  • Functional Resume: It is used most often by people entering the job market for the first time, or with little work experience, or who have gaps in their employment history, or who are looking for a career change and want to emphasize their transferable skills. This is a skill based style and it emphasizes your abilities and accomplishments without providing detailed background information on where and when you acquired these skills
  • Combination Resume: If you find that the chronological format doesn’t do enough to emphasize job skills or the functional resume doesn’t do enough to emphasize work history, you may use the combination of these two formats. If your job title does not suggest the kind of work you do, then it is recommended that you use the combination format. This would give you the opportunity to highlight your skills and accomplishments first, documented by a brief chronology of your work experience.
 
Use action verbs and quantify
To describe your past work experience and showcase your abilities, we suggest you use action verbs such as incorporated, negotiated, formulated, implemented, managed etc. and to make your statements more credible, make the use of numbers, percentages, and amounts. Stating that you brought in more customers is a lot less meaningful than stating that increased the customer base by 15%. Consider other examples such as managed an event under a budget of Rs. 1 Lac, implemented energy audits which lead to energy saving of 20% and reduced the cost by Rs. 50,000 or managed a team of 12 people, etc.
These will clearly communicate what your experience or achievements are.
 
Tailor your resume for each employer
Do not make the mistake of having one common resume that you will use to send to all job openings. Make a separate resume to illustrate information relevant to each employer.
 
Length of the resume
There is no thumb rule to decide the length of a resume, but ideally it should be between one to three pages with two pages being the most preferred option. Keep in mind that you do not omit any important details, however list only those details that relevant to the job you are seeking.
 
Identify key words by analyzing job ads
Most resumes that are received at medium and large scale companies are first electronically scanned and put into a database. The resume scanning software sorts and ranks your resumes based on the number of keywords contained in the resume. If you do not have the right keywords on your resume, chances are you won’t get an interview. By analyzing job ads, you will get plenty of information on what the right key words for a particular job could be. Analyze not only the ad for a particular job, but also those of other companies offering similar positions.
 
Be honest
Most HR departments do background checks these days and if you are caught lying about anything, it might ruin you credibility.
 
No pictures
Do not put your picture unless you are applying for a job where your looks would makes a difference, say in jobs such as modeling, acting, airline crew etc.
 
Format and size of the resume
The resume should preferably in word format and the size of the resume should be less than 100 KB.
 
Proofreading your resume
One small spelling or grammatical error in your resume and your chances of getting hired could reduce. Therefore, proofread it as many times as necessary. You could also get it reviewed by someone else as they might be able to point out the mistakes you have missed.
 
Resume presentation
The format should be clean and professional. Use bullet points and bold font to highlight and important information. Avoid italics as they can be difficult to read.

 

 
 
 
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