Write a resume that works
the millions of candidates sitting on one side of the fence, the simple
document called the resume or CV is their only representative and
inanimate spokesperson to the hundreds of head hunters and recruiters
on the other side.
challenge is to make this document really speak volumes. So how does
one do it? Let's look at some of the ground rules for preparing the
1. Length of the document
For a beginner with 0-1 years of experience, it is important to keep
the length to one page. For experienced candidates, the length could
vary from 1-2 pages. Resumes that extend beyond 2 pages tend to annoy
recruiters as they are unable to assimilate all the written matter.
Most recruiters spend just under a minute to scan the entire document.
The key is to give the resume the right focus instead of trying to cram
in all you can.
2. Structure of the document
Sequence: Typically, the work experience, explained in crisp sentences,
needs to be provided in reverse chronological order. Educational
qualifications and skill sets should ideally follow and can be placed
in the form of a short table. Personal details can come last.
Headers: A header repeats at the top of every page. So this could carry
just the candidate's name and contact details in a small font.
Alternatively, the header could just consist of a grey shaded line
Personal Mission Statement: This is more applicable for experienced
candidates - someone who has spent 7-10 years working for
organizations. This should reflect the inherent strengths of the
candidate and skill sets. It could also highlight aspirations and
future career orientation. For example, "A thorough sales professional
with 10 years of experience, selling to corporate customers, I seek
challenging sales roles that would propel me to boardroom positions in
the next 5 years."
Provision for relief: Some resumes carry solid content throughout the
page in the form of text matter. It is good to break the monotony by
providing bullet points, tables (for educational qualifications) ,
usage of italics, etc.
3. Points of emphasis
* Usage of action verbs: Sentences should contain action words such as
"spearheaded, " "initiated," "handled," "achieved," etc. This gives a
sense that you are action-oriented.
* Highlight specific achievements: Wherever tangible results are there,
they need to be explained with relevant facts and figures. For example:
"Designed and executed the SME project in less than 6 weeks, thereby
exceeding customer expectations. "
* Spell check & Grammar check: Most programs like MS-Word have
spellcheck; it is imperative to ensure that the document is correctly
spelt and worded. Read through thoroughly to get rid of spelling and
grammar errors. If you are not confident in your ability to do so, give
it to someone who is good at it, or to a professional proofreader/
4. Personal Information
This can be in the form of a table. This could mention the candidate's
age, communication address, languages known and marital status.
* Font selection: Use universally accepted fonts such as Arial, Times
New Roman or Garamond. These are easy to read and ensure clarity
* Font Size: For A4 size paper, which is the typical size, font sizes can be 11 or 12.
* Margins: A 1-inch margin on all sides is preferable. This gives a feeling of a well spaced-out resume.
* Designer layouts: For candidates who are in creative roles such as
interior designers, artists, etc., they can use color or simple motifs
in the margins to differentiate and distinguish their creative
profession in a subtle way. However, the watchword here is "subtle."
The effect should not be very flashy.
These simple steps can make your resume much more readable and effective. It may put you on your way to your dream job.