15 Feb Basics of a Resume
Your resume is a 1-page document that highlights your education, academic background, work experience, publications, awards, presentations, honors, and additional details. Resumes are used when applying for jobs, academic programmes, scientific or research positions. To put it simply, a resume is your professional image.
Resume vs CV
The goal of a Resume is to showcase your experience and skills so that you may appear fit for a job, while the goal of a CV is to highlight your academic and research achievements.
The Resume is typically restricted to a one-pager, maybe a little more if you have more than 10 years of work experience to exhibit, while a CV can be about 2 pages long.
The Resume will contain your contact information, education details and work experiences along with skill sets required for the job. A CV on the other hand will have your contact information followed by education details, research experiences and interests, awards and recognitions, and publication details if any.
Why should you care about writing a good resume?
The three main reasons for you to spend quality time in crafting (a deliberate choice of the word) an impactful resume are:
- 1. To make a compelling case for yourself so that you get an interview call
- 2. To highlight how can you contribute by clearly articulating skills you possess and displaying action Verbs to demonstrate your work experience
- 3. To differentiate yourself from other candidates. for the same position. Here the differentiation is not so much in making a creative, colourful resume but making an effective and impactful one.
4 ways to get noticed
- 1. Length And Formatting
- 2. Well-crafted sections containing the following:
- a. Contact Information
- b. Experience
- c. Educational Background
- d. Skills & Interests
- e. Awards & Recognition
- 3. Action verbs to demonstrate experience
- 4. Quantify to make an impact
1) Length and formatting
The ideal resume length is 1 page. If you have more than 10 years’ experience then you can extend it to 2 pages. Your resume must be concise and accurate. Do not beat around the bush. Keep it as brief as possible and choose your words carefully. Stick to fonts like Times New Roman or Arial, avoid underlining, shading, and adding text boxes. Font size should be between 10 and 12 points and keep it consistent throughout the document. Margins should also be consistent and should be at least three quarters of an inch in size.
2) Well-crafted sections containing the following:
- Contact information
- Skills, Interests
- Awards and Recognition
a) Contact Information
Your name is usually centered at the top of the page. It should be bold and visible from a distance. Under the name should be your professional email id and phone number. If you want to use a temporary email id or home address, you can put that on the left and right of the page.
b) Work Experience
This is the section which will show what jobs and job titles you have held in the past. This section is about demonstrating your growth. In reverse chronology, list the companies you have worked for, dates of employment, positions held and brief descriptions of your responsibilities.
Write specifically about how you contributed to the organisation- What was your role and how important was that role. The organisation or university that you apply to, does not want company specific jargon. They are more interested in what your responsibilities are in the organisation.
List your education in reverse chronology. List your latest education first and then go backwards. First put the name of the degree, then the institution name and years attended. If your marks or grades are poor, don’t mention them.
Masters in Business Administration
Year of degree
If you’re in high school, then list your education at the top of your resume, before your work experience. Let your education do the talking for now, even if you already have a little experience.
When you are in college or have just graduated, you will generally be studying subjects that you want to take up as a profession later on, so your education section will have more depth to it. However, you will still probably have no work experience under your belt. Unless you have substantial work experience at that point don’t mention it before the education section. It would still be advisable to put your education first.
Once you start working as a professional, your work experience will start increasing in depth. Once you gain a bit of experience you can put your experience section before your education section. At this stage your work experience will carry the weight in your resume and employers will not be that interested in your percentages and marks.
d) Skills and interests
Hard skills are technical skills that can be taught. We mostly learn them in school. They are often what employers look for. These skills can be measured. ATS softwares that are used by employers mainly is meant to identify hard skills. These skills have a well-defined structure and therefore are easier to organise. Hard skills should primarily be listed first. Some examples of hard skills are computer skills, accounting, coding, languages and sales skills.
Soft skills are skills that cannot be measured. They are generally not taught in school and need to be cultivated. There is no well-defined structure and it is very subjective. They are interpersonal skills. Even though they are difficult to organise and may not be tracked by ATS systems, they are still imperative to your resume and must be included. Soft skills bring out a brief highlight about what kind of person you are. Examples of soft skills are – good communication, stress management, teamwork and adaptability.
It’s important to match your skills to the job. Most job listings mention the skills that are required.
If you play a sport or a musical instrument, are involved in any art form, and participate in community work, do mention it as your interests. Especially if you are applying to colleges, mention a wide variety of interests. Universities look for all rounded individuals. Many companies are very involved with their local communities and like cultured individuals. When applying for a job, try and include interests that are related to the job.
Achievements and responsibilities are different. Responsibilities are what you are required to do. They are the outline of your job and are mentioned in the job description. Achievements are when you do something extra and do well on those responsibilities. It shows that you have done more than just carrying out your responsibilities. Employees will have the same responsibilities in a company but will have different achievements.
By putting awards and achievements you will be one step ahead of other candidates. Employers can see that you have shone at your previous jobs and will think you can excel with them as well. Achievements and awards show more than just potential. They are accolades of what you have already done. This adds a lot of worth to your resume.
When you just start out, you will have academic achievements to show. As you gain more experience, and start excelling at your job, you will start getting professional awards.
If you have excelled in any sport, make sure to write down your awards. Winning an interschool, state, or national event adds tremendous impact to your resume. State or national rankings provide an extra boost when applying to colleges. Many colleges in India have a sports quota. Drama and music can also be a trump card in your resume. If you have been part of any drama club and have won competitions, include that in this section. If you play a musical instrument and have completed exams like ABSRM/Trinity, be sure to mention that as well.
3) Action verbs
In order to have the most impact with your words, use action verbs. Action verbs shorten sentences, bring out clarity and are more powerful. Passive language can be boring and results in more clutter. Action verbs can summarise a point in an impactful way. This makes it easier for the employer to comprehend.
4) Quantify to make an impact
Numbers add specificity and strength to your Resume. Add certain metrics to your work experience. That is, use numbers, amounts, and percentages (e.g., “Increased monthly sales by thirty percent,” “Supervised and trained six new employees,” “Handled daily receipts totaling 2 lakhs,” “Designed 22 costumes for local production of”).Ask yourself these questions- How did you help your company achieve a specific task? What problems did you solve for the company? Did you create any strategy that helped the organisation in some way? What impact did you make in the company? For example, if you’re going to write about increasing sales or improving efficiency in the company, support these claims with real statistics and an explanation of how you accomplished these feats. Be very specific. Make sure it does not go beyond your contribution.
- Don’t use all capital letters – it becomes harder to read
- Don’t use several fonts. Its distracting. Use either Times New Roman or Arial, which are easily readable
- Don’t use long-winded sentences
- Don’t use fancy templates to construct the resume
- Don’t use superlatives to emphasise your work
- Don’t do it in a rush
- Don’t lie
How many resumes do you need?
The golden rule here is to follow horses for courses. It means don’t peddle the same resume for different roles. Spend time in understanding the skills required for the role (look at the JD carefully) and craft a different resume for different requirements.
A resume is required right from college all the way through your career. Make sure you get it right.
Edupeer cares for your holistic being and we help you realise your potential. Join our Career Enhancement Platform to better your future prospects, starting with getting your Resume right! Connect to speak with us.