MAKING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME
With employers receiving hundreds of resumes you must make sure that your Resume grabs an employer's attention within a 5-second glance. Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing a job. Here are Twenty Top Tips that can help you design an effective resume.
1. Know the purpose of your resume
The objective of your resume is NOT to get you a job. It is to get you an interview opportunity and the interview will get you the job. Therefore you must disclose just enough information to intrigue the recruiter/employer to give you that crucial interview opportunity.
2. Customize your resume for each employer
One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. You will find plenty of useful information on job ads. Analyze not only the ad that you will be applying for, but also those from companies on the same segment or offering related positions. You should be able to identify what profile they are looking for and how the information should be presented.
The same point applies to your cover letters/emails as well.
3. Don’t forget the basics
The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed.
4. Use effective titles
Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:
Bad title: Accounting
Good title: Management of A/R and A/P and Recordkeeping
5. Put the most important information first
This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.
6. Achievements and skills instead of responsibilities
Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities included…” are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements. Merely stating that you did something or even can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.
Further if you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don’t merely mention that you achieved your target, say that you achieved 120% of your target and so on.
7. Make sure to use the right keywords
Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. So, if your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, it will be difficult for you to get noticed.
8. Go with what you got
Never lie on your resume. Even small lies should be avoided. Apart from being wrong, most HR departments do background checks these days, and a negative report might ruin your credibility for good.
So state the facts in the best possible manner without changing them. If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion.
9. Don’t include irrelevant information
Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion etc will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview. Just skip it.Same goes for hobbies. Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them. You may be proud of your swimming team, but share it with your friends and not with potential employers!
The ideal length for a resume is often debated but most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.
10. Basic Formatting
First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place; remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices. No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives. Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume.
11. Proofread it twice
It would be difficult to over emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary.
12. Get someone else to review your resume
Even if you think you resume is looking great, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another people will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.
13. Use a good printer
If you are going to use a paper version of your resume, make sure to use a decent printer. Laser printers usually get the job done. Plain white paper is the preferred one as well.
14. Consider getting professional help
If you are having a hard time to create your resume, or if you are receiving no response whatsoever from companies, you could consider hiring a professional resume writing service. There are several online and offline options available, and usually the investment will be worth the money.
15. Update your resume regularly
It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to the employer.
So you have received an interview call! Now what? Successful interviewing is really important to get that job. Here are some tips and strategies for effective interviewing.
1. Employer Research
Gathering background information on your potential employer is a crucial element for successful interview preparation. Knowing as much as possible about the company can make your interview more interactive and could be just what you need to get ahead in a competitive job market. Review the company’s website, products/services offered by them, and other information available on the internet and through other media. Also don't be afraid to request details on the position you are interviewing.
2. Learn and Practice
Next, practice answering typical interview questions so you'll be prepared and comfortable during the actual interview. Some of the typical interview questions are:
- What do you know about the job profile?
- Why should we hire you?
- Why do you want to work with us?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your strengths/ weaknesses?
Try to do some mock interviews with friends/family members. Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position.
3. On the Day of the Interview
Plan on what you are going to wear ahead of time. Also, make sure you know where you're going and give yourself plenty of time so you can arrive on or before time. Finally, try and relax!
4. Money! Money! Money!
If asked, be prepared to state your expectations on the salary front. Try to find out the industry standard for the role for which you are interviewing. This data will provide you with the information you need to discuss salary offers. Be clear on what you want and your worth. Depending on the situation do take a strong stand on how much you ask but do not be unrealistic and weigh all pros and cons – including the non monetary ones- before accepting or rejecting an offer.