Writing a powerful resume is as valuable as having a good professional degree. Anyone who understands the English language well cannot guarantee that he/she will write an extraordinary job application or resume. Apart from the command over English, one also needs to master the skill of resume writing to be able to draft a well-crafted resume with a perfectly showcased cover letter. Most young job aspirants find it challenging to design a convincing resume using a persuasive language to express what qualities and qualifications they possess. Your resume serves two major objectives – first, it highlights what you can do for the company, and second, it tells your prospective employer why you are a better choice than rest. To present yourself as an accomplished candidate through your resume, you must organize your ideas to highlight your virtues and present yourself a versatile professional who is ready to take up challenges for building a good career.
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You earn a degree, and prepare yourself to embark on a rewarding journey as a professional. In your quest for better placement, one essential step that you have to take is designing a meaningful resume that may help you get the first interview call. To write a good resume you must be aware of the requirements of job markets and plan your career accordingly. You also need to assess your personality, identify your skills and set your goals to lead a successful professional life. Hence, resume writing and job application are two vital segments of career management.
What is a Resume?
A resume is a self-promotion that enables you to tell your story, express your personality and gain a competitive edge in the job market. In other words, your resume is a short and crisp written snapshot highlighting your education, skills and work experiences. It is a clear indicator of your past laurels and future aspirations. It is the passport to your dream job. Resume should be designed attractively so that it could immediately capture the attention of a prospective employer. A good resume is developed in a way that it can be skimmed.
A well-planned and well-written resume elucidate that you meet all the requirements for the position you are applying and you deserve an interview call. The ultimate aim of any resume is to land an interview. The best resume is the one that enables prospective employers to know everything about the job applicant in the shortest possible time. Ideally, within 15-20 seconds of resume reading, your prospective employer should know who you are, what are your strengths, what are your future aspirants and how would you serve the company’s interests. So, the real challenge in resume writing lies in presenting all the information, concerning a job aspirant through a neat, simple and concise resume.
What is a Curriculum Vitae?
A CV, also known as curriculum vitae or vita that means a course of life in Latin, is a complete sketch of your accomplishments – education, employment, research projects, and university engagement or community work. In the USA, CV is mostly used to present a person’s academic status and achievements. What academic appointments you hold, which research projects you work on, where you publish, etc., are the main ingredients of your CV. A CV is usually longer than the resume and it may run more than three pages depending on your profile. Broadly, a CV is a reflection of your scholarly identity while a resume constructs your personality identity.
Differences between resume and curriculum vitae
Functional and Hybrid
|Varied by careers|
|Purpose||All-purpose||Mostly for academic and scientific positions|
What is a Scannable Resume?
A Scannable Resume is an electronic resume that is viewed using a scanning machine or document imaging technology to store it in a computer database. It is no different from the regular resume as the basic sections remain the same in both. This technology saves time and resources for recruiters by automatically extracting key information from the resumes received from job aspirants. To ensure that important information about you gets extracted when your resume is scanned by prospective employees, for which you need to work on two aspects: keywords and formatting.
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The following points explain how to take care of these aspects:
- Use the most appropriate and job-related keywords, particularly nouns. For instance, a computer would scan for ‘Human Resource Management‘, not ‘manage human resources‘. Another example would be, ‘teamwork‘ and ‘interpersonal skills‘ which are relevant keywords for a business professional.
- Keep the resume format simple and font face consistent to avoid any misreading by the scanner.
- Do not use fancy design with graphics and pictures.
How to develop an Impressive Resume?
The following are some useful tips to help you master resume writing so that you could write an impeccable and impressive resume and win an interview.
What to Do?
- Many resumes follow the “24, 14, 12, 10 rule”. This indicates that your name should be in 24 pt, headings in 14 pt, sub-headings in 12pt and bullet points in 11/10 pt.
- Be consistent with the fonts when in doubt use Times New Roman.
- Use black font color and normal text sizes nothing else than 10 pt.
- Know your purpose. Be clear that your resume is to help you get an interview call, not the job.
- Keep your resume simple, direct and concise.
- Create short and meaningful sentences and use Standard English.
- Make sure to use appropriate keywords. They are your identity and strength. By using suitable keywords, you will attract more interview calls. Job ads will give you an idea of what the hiring managers are searching for.
For example, for the accountant, you could include accountancy, finance, budget and firm as keywords.
- Use spell-check while typing your resume, and proofread.
- Make sure to use bold type or bulleted points to represent your credentials. Times and Cambria are the fonts which are advisable.
- Use action verbs. Words such as ‘pioneered’ or ‘championed’ get more attention rather than ‘commenced’ or ‘initiated’
- Update your resume regularly with every new change in your position or experience.
What not to Do?
- Use wacky fonts.
- Use colors besides black.
- Include insignificant details such as religious and political preferences.
- Bluff and kill your candidature for good.
- Stretch your resume more than two pages; the shorter the better.
- Load your resume with too many details of your qualifications and experiences.
- Include personal pronouns ‘I’ and ‘we’.
- The use of CAPITAL letters and exclamation marks is unnecessary.
- Avoid jargon and slang in the resume.
- Decorate your resume with empty phrases such as ‘extremely creative’, ‘noble hearted’ or ‘problem solver’. Try to connect real-life experience.
- Mention people as referees without their prior consent.
What to include?
As stated earlier, your resume is a precise record of your qualifications, skills, and qualities. To make a good first impression on a prospective employer, it should be written in a crisp language providing concise information about you through bullet lists rather than verbose sentences and paragraphs. It should help the employer skim the necessary information and decide whether you deserve an interview call. You may design your resume to highlight your academic credentials and professional experiences. But remember, your resume should not be shorter than one page and longer than three pages unless it is required specifically for certain jobs.
A resume can have many sections but the basic information remains the same in every resume, such as personal details work history, education, career objective, and other additional information.
The following is a description of the basic sections that you must include in your resume:
- Begin with your details that are your name, telephone number, and email address. It would be handy for the hiring manager to contact you if needed. Do not include personal information such as marital status, family size, and religion.
- Mention a clear and concise objective focusing on how better would you help the company achieve its goals. Do not give the impression that you are using the company for your personal growth. For instance, you may state your objective as follows:
Objective: Enable Zensor Communications to become a market leader by adding new brands to its basket as a marketing consultant.
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- Describe your employment history meticulously by detailing key responsibilities and accomplishments that are relevant to your present job.
- You must include names and addresses of the companies where you have worked, date of employment, title and responsibilities.
In addition to the above basic sections, you may also include the following components in your resume. These components are the following:
- Achievements and awards.
- Professional memberships and affiliations.
- Voluntary and community service.
- Special skills and languages.
- Interests and hobbies.
Different Formats of Resume
Depending upon your experience and job for which you are applying, you are applying, you can choose any one formats for designing your resume, introduced in the following sections.
The chronologic resume is the most widely used format. The following are some features of a chronological resume:
- It is effective for those with a steady employment history.
- In it, your work history is showcased by job title with the most recent mentioned first.
- It works well when your professional experience matches the desired job.
The functional resume format is important for people who have varied job experiences. The following are some important features of a functional resume:
- It features your skills without mentioning the dates associated with your work.
- It includes those skills that are most relevant to the job you are trying to get regardless of dates of employment.
- It is suitable for applying for a job even when you gaps in your employment history.
- Suits most to the students who have acquired valuable experiences by performing many unrelated projects, courses, and jobs.
- Combines the best features of the chronological and functional resume formats.
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Job application or Cover letter
Your job application, also known as a cover letter, is your first interface with hiring managers. It expresses your objective or goal for joining a particular organization. A job application is duly supposed by a well-written resume. It covers or communicates the most promising features of your professional life for the prospective employer.
It can be of two types – one, the solicited application letter, which is designed in response to an advertised post, and two, the unsolicited application letter, through which an aspirant makes his/her efforts to secure a job that has not been advised.
Need for Cover Letter
You need to a cover letter:
- To emphasize why you are the best choice for a particular job or office.
- To ensure that you have done homework about the department you are applying to work in.
- To demonstrate how you can help the company grow with your addition.
How to Develop a Cover Letter
Resumes and cover letters go hand in hand. An impressive resume needs an equally great cover letter. Like a formal business letter, a cover letter provides a preview of your resume. It prepares the prospective employer to decide whether to look at your resume or not. A cover letter is developed in full block business letter format, where the text is left-aligned.
A cover letter has essential parts – opening, body, and closing. The following sections explain the contents and objectives of these parts:
In the opening of your cover letter, you
- Include the job name and vacancy reference.
- Mention how you came to know about the job vacancy.
- Explain that you have done enough homework about the organization by including the relevant information.
In the body of your cover letter, you
- Sell your skills and experiences the way expected by the employer.
- Tell how a company can be benefited by hiring you.
- Highlight the prominent job-related accomplishments that make you stand out as the only choice for the job.
In the closing of your cover letter, you
- Reaffirm how your candidature aligns with the organization’s goals.
- Restate how your professionalism will help the organization.
- Request for an interview or meeting.
- Thank them for their time and consideration.
If you follow these advice, an important part of your job application will be in good shape.
With some conscientious work upfront – and by adhering to these rules – you can turn this elementary job search document into one of your substantial professional assets.
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