Resume/CV Writing Tips
Let’s get one thing out in the open - Writing a Resume/CV is intimidating for everyone, so don't worry, you're not alone. What makes Resume/CV writing difficult is identifying what to include, what not to, what to highlight, what to de-emphasize, etc. HR professionals and hiring managers receive hundreds (if not thousands) of Resume/CVs for any given position; therefore, the bottom line is that they will spend about 10-30 seconds on yours. Organizing information incorrectly could cost you a shot at an interview, unfortunately it's a very common mistake made by job seekers.
Before putting your pen to paper (or fingers to the keys), begin by determining your objective (do this prior to writing the Resume/CV). You should clearly state what sort of a job you want, and know what kinds of skills and experiences are needed to do well in that job. Even if you decide to change your job objective later, it is very important that you decide on a temporary objective for now. After your objective is determined, you can structure the content of your Resume/CV around that objective. As noted above, you have a very small window of time to get the interest of a hiring manager, therefore being general and scattered will insure that your Resume/CV is filed in the "circular file" - i.e. - the trash can. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time before you start your Resume/CV to form a clear and targeted objective.
Now that you have your objective, you're on your way. Now lets begin the Resume/CV writing process. Keep in mind, the single and most important goal of a Resume/CV is to obtain an interview. It's a marketing tool to get you in the company and in front of your potential boss – that’s it. Once in, you will need to do the sales pitch, and close the deal.
With that said, you do not want to go into detailabout every accomplishment in your Resume/CV. Strive to be clear and concise, as the sole purpose is to have a potential employer contact you for an interview. Bottom line – you should put yourself in the shoes of the Resume/CV reader - when looking at the job qualifications needed for the position; what would you be looking for in a candidate - Obviously, that is what you should include in your Resume/CV.
In the body of your Resume/CV, use bullet points with short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. As noted above, Resume/CVs are read quickly (usually 10-30 seconds). Therefore, having key phrases standing alone and bulleted will help the reader see the important information at a glance - while at the same time absorbing the most important information. Again, don't worry about the specifics; you will go into the details during the interview.
Use action words - words like prepared, managed, developed, monitored, and presented will cause your Resume/CV to stand out.
In addition to standing out to a reader - you are also insuring that if your Resume/CV is scanned, the computer will pick up on the words. You read correctly, some companies now scan in your Resume/CV, and have computers pick the Resume/CVs to be looked at. The computers are looking for one thing – they’re looking for keywords that have been picked by the hiring manager. These are action key words that relate to the position; therefore not including them could mean your Resume/CV is disregarded as a "non-match". I’ve devoted a section to Resume/CV format, and will deal with how to format your Resume/CV for computer scanners.
Highlight your strengths and what is most relevant to the potential employer. Due to the fact that most Resume/CVs are typically reviewed in 10-30 seconds, put forth the effort and determine which bullets most strongly support your job search objective. Put the strong and most relevant points first where they are more apt to be read. Doing this will hook the reader, and the rest of your Resume/CV will reel them in.
Match the needs of the hiring company - Review job postings online and in the newspapers for positions that interest you. Each listing will almost always have a brief blurb about the company and the position available. Read the job description closely, and use the key words listed in these ads, and match them to the bullet points in your Resume/CV.
How long should my Resume/CV be? What size font should I use? - The font size should be 10 point, and the length of your Resume/CV should be 1-2 pages. Yes, you read correctly; you can use more than one page. But remember, keep it concise. It's ok to use 2 pages for your Resume/CV, however it’s not necessary.
OK, you’re ready to start applying for positions – When submitting your Resume/CV, you should apply for some jobs that appear to be above your qualifications, apply to positions that are a match, and apply to positions which may be beneath you. Why? Perhaps the position beneath will turn out to be more than it appeared once you interview for them. Or perhaps once you have your foot in the door you can learn of other opportunities. If nothing else, interviewing more and more will increase your interviewing skills. Like anything else, repetition will decrease your nervousness, and increase your skills at attacking the tough questions.
Sample Resume/CV format
What type of job you are looking and what are your goals?
You may list computer skills or your Job skills/Strengths or any other skills you are good at.
List all the job experiences you have in descending order i.e. latest Job/Company first, including the Job Title and the duration of the Job. Then brief description of the work you have done.
List all the degrees from which college/University and the year graduated and also any diplomas/certification you got.
Any references you have from your previous employers or mention ‘References will be provided upon request’.