A resume is a summary of your skills, work experience, qualifications, and other achievements. It is a document you create to tell the world all about your professional life. When you apply for a job, you would send your resume along with the application for the job. It is the resume that would help you clear the application phase of the job selection process. If the employer likes your resume, you would be called for the next stage of selection. The resume is thus, the most important document that you would create to help you get a job.
Here’s how you can make a great resume that can help you get shortlisted for a job. You must remember that an employer would get hundreds of resumes. A busy executive would not have the time to read through every single resume in detail. The executive would scan through the resumes and look for highlights that would impress him/her. So, while making a resume you need to ensure that it stands out and highlights your strengths. The following are some pointers to help you make the perfect resume that can get you your dream job.
- Professional document
The resume is a professional document and creating it needs some effort. Hand-written resumes are not preferred and you need to create a document using word-processing software. Most software would have ready-made templates that you can use to create a resume. There are also templates available online. You can use the ready templates to create a professional resume.
In case you want to create it on your own, make sure you select a simple font that is easily readable and looks professional, eg: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or Georgia. 12-point size is a standard font size to use. The heading(s) can be in larger font size, 14-18 points. Avoid colors, designs, and borders. Let the resume look professional.
- Structure of the resume
Don’t title the resume as ‘Resume’. Everyone knows it is a resume. Let your name appear at the top center of the resume in 18-point size. Below this, include your contact details with your phone number, email ID, website address (if any), and LinkedIn URL (14-point size).
The next sentence must be your career vision. Talk about what is your career focus. What you want to achieve in the long-term should be included in your career vision. This must be followed by your skills. The skills that you either have acquired through education, training, or through your experience should be listed out. This is what will attract the employer to your resume. Highlight those aspects that the job demands.
Following this, list out all your educational qualifications, with details of college/university, year(s) studied, subjects studied/specialization and grades. Next, you can highlight your work experience with details of jobs with the name of the company, number of years worked, job role and a one-line summary of your achievements at the job.
You can list out the training programs undergone and certifications obtained with details of the organization and date. This can be followed by the list of your achievements, awards, and recognitions.
Other details can be provided at the end of the resume include date of birth, details of languages known, hobbies and interests. You can also list out extra-curricular activities and achievements, including in sports activities. Generally, personal details like marital status and religion would not find a place in the resume.
The resume should conclude with your signature.
- Highlight your strong points
The above is the standard resume structure. You should use it to highlight your strengths. For instance, if your work experience is more impressive than your education, then showcase that at the top. Similarly, if your awards and recognitions are your achievements, you can move them to the top of the resume. What would impress a potential interviewer should appear at the top of the resume. Of course, you need to take care that you include only that information, which is relevant for the job you have applied.
- Chronological vs. functional
There are two types of resumes – functional and chronological. A functional resume focuses on the functions or job activities carried out and skills, with the details of the companies where you worked. A chronological resume lists out details of your education arranged based on the year of completion, with the latest qualification on the top. Details of experience may be at the bottom. The resume type would depend on your experience/qualification. If you want to highlight the functions or skills more, you can use a functional resume, else use a chronological one.
- Be consistent
Follow consistency in the font you use, size of the font, color, and the way you present information. Don’t mix too many fonts as it would look odd. If you use bullet points, then use the same bullet symbol consistently through the resume. Do not create a mish-mash of bullet symbols. It won’t look professional.
- Customize the resume
Don’t prepare a standard resume and use the same for all jobs. Customize your resume based on the company you are applying and the nature of the job. Highlight those aspects of your professional life that is relevant to the job and company you are applying.
- Review and edit
Review the resume once you create. Take a print and go through line by line and word by word. Any mistake, grammatical or spelling, in the resume will create a negative impression. Review the entire resume and edit it to make corrections.
- Show it to a professional
Where possible, show your resume to a professional, get his /her opinion, and make changes suggested. You can show it to an HR professional or someone who is experienced in the employee selection process. Their opinion and suggestions would be valuable. There are industry professionals who can create a resume for you. If you are not confident about being able to create a great resume, you can take professional help.
Making a professional resume can ensure you get a better chance of being called for an interview.