Writing your Resume
Writing your resume is an essential aspect of applying for a job, as it requires a lot of effort and planning on your behalf. A badly worded and poorly presented resume can put off a potential employer totally!
Your resume should be about two pages long
A resume should be about two pages long. It is supposed to be a brief presentation of your skills, work experience, achievements and education. Anything too long runs the risk of being skimmed over and not read properly. Long and detailed does not necessarily imply better! What your resume has to get across to the potential employer is just this – you have the required skills, experience and education to handle the job! Appropriately focusing on the key aspects unique to your experience, and leaving out the standard repetitive details, which would be similar to those of your competitors applying for the same job/position, can do this. So, try and stick to 2 pages!
Start off by identifying your job objective
The job objective is an excellent area to include in your resume and is usually omitted. It puts your resume in the right perspective for the reader and clearly shows where you are headed in your career plans. If you are applying for an entry-level position in the marketing, your job objective could be something liken this:
Use language and content that communicate a proactive style
The style of writing that you use and the particular words or phrases can make a significant difference to your resume. It affects the impression created about you regarding your past work experience and your skills. For example, you might say in your past work experience that you “maintained records and accounts”. A better way of expressing the same thing could be “Reported directly to the VP-Finance and managed over 1500 accounts…. “Your language and content should focus on what you achieved e.g. saving so many lakh rupees for the organization, rather than a standard listing of responsibilities which sounds like a job profile common to anyone in a similar position to yours. If you have been a brand manager in the past, do not just list your job responsibilities like” responsible for sales, profits, advertising related to the brand…” Instead highlight things like “ Implemented change in product formulation that saved Rs 50 lakhs per year for the brand…” Quantifiable parameters have a better impact than just saying, “Implemented change in product formulation.”
Priorities details of your past work experience
After the summary section, you can go on to providing details of your past work experience. Leave aside the job objective and summary and that gives you just one and a half pages to cover the details of your work experience as well as your educational qualifications. You need to priorities. Decide what weight age to give to different organizations/positions. You should not skip any place worked at, but you obviously cannot give all details of each position. A few points to note while preparing this section:
You could present the work experience in reverse chronological order
Start with the most recent work experience at the beginning of this section and the rest later on. That is the organization where you are currently working first and the earlier ones worked in, later in the resume. This should highlight your relevant work experience at the outset.
Mention responsibilities briefly, focus more on accomplishments
If responsibilities are similar across positions in an organization, try to avoid repeating the same set of responsibilities with each position. That will unnecessarily increase the size of your resume without giving any additional value. Instead, try and include your different achievements at each position, or something that you introduced or did differently in your job. This would also hold true for situations where responsibilities are similar across organizations. Avoid tautology and stick to the accomplishments.
If changing your area of specialization, classify the information by function
If you are changing your field from finance to marketing, then instead of just presenting the details of your past work experience in reverse chronological order by organization, you could clarify the information into different functional areas e.g. your responsibilities and achievements in finance (even if across companies); similarly for marketing. You should try and incorporate some marketing experience (and hopefully you will have some) if you intend to get into that area.
Include other information only if significant
You may like to mention your hobbies, interests or extra-curricular activities, under a separate heading, but it will really not add value to your resume unless you have made a significant achievement there. For example, mentioning mountaineering as a hobby is not relevant unless you have achieved something like taken a trip to Mount Everest or Kanchenjunga!
Present education qualifications with the most recent one first
When giving information on your educational qualifications in a separate section, it is advisable to begin by presenting the most recent degree/diploma achieved, as this is usually relevant to the work you are currently doing. For example, if you have acquired a post-graduate degree in management, give that information at the outset.
References should be provided on request
Though it is useful to have names and contact numbers of people to give as references, it makes sense to provide them only on request. You should not give the details on your resume but provide the information later on, when asked for, or further on in the selection process.
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