How to Create a Great Resume - Part I

Tips on curriculum vitae. If you are fresh graduate, looking for a job or an experienced salesperson, thinking of switching your career, the most challenging task that you face during your job search is how to create a good resume.

If you are fresh graduate, looking for a job or an experienced salesperson, thinking of switching your career, the most challenging task that you face during your job search is how to create a good resume. Of course, it seems quite difficult to bring all your important information including your career history, your education, your dreams and your commitment to employers on a white A-4 size paper (maximum two pages). However, these two pages are a touchstone as to determine whether your prospective employer would be interested in calling you for an interview or otherwise. To be effective in this pursuit, the information in a resume should be provided in an attractive, efficient and easily accessible manner. A good resume can help you secure an attractive job while a bad one can keep you in that undesired job or in the state of continued unemployment/underemployment.

A potential employer, when reading your resume, would be keen to see the instant answers to the following questions.

  1. Who are you?
  2. What positions are you applying for?
  3. What are your qualifications?
  4. What work experience you have relating directly to the job you are applying for?
  5. Are you worth the salary this position pays?
  6. What special skills/experience you bring to the company that other applicants don't have?

Your resume should work as a “sales tool" for you and give an idea to your employer about your present capacity an potential strengths if you are hired. Your resume/CV should make the employer call and hire you and not that it is filed or discarded to a wastebasket. It does not matter how much time you have spent to create your CV; most employers spend less than a minute (actually 10 seconds) to glance through it while evaluating it. It means that your CV should present your information quickly, clearly and in such a presentable form that makes your past experience most relevant to your potential employer.

There are two basic formats/styles of resume: the Chronological and Functional. The Chronological resume is traditional type of resume and is time-based. This resume presents your career info by dates in a reverse chronological order i.e. beginning with your present or most recent position. You should use this type of resume if you have a well-established career path with no large unemployment gaps and your formers jobs and employers are also big names in the industry. Functional resume, on the other hand, allows you to focus on your skills and achievements/experience instead of emphasizing the job titles and your workplaces. The most common type is the Chronological and employer may assume that use of a different format is to cover up negative information. Use functional resume only when if:

  • Your career path is uneven
  • You have been switching careers more often·
  • There are gaps in your employment history·
  • Your experience and accomplishments are mostly from freelance or volunteer positions·
  • You are a recent graduate with no job experience·
  • Your recent employer/ position is not something to mention about

There are three different parts of writing a resume.The first part relates to style, second to the content and last one relates to the presentation.

Style

The visual appearance of your CV is as important as its content. Remember that your CV is not to show the world that you know a variety of Fonts used in Microsoft Word. Choose an easy to read, 12-point traditional font, like Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica or Verdana. Don't use multiple fonts in your CV. By overusing italics, underline or bold options, you will only make your CV confusing and harder to look at.

If your employer is confused whether you are the person to be called for an interview, your CV is not doing its job. If you are using long paragraphs to describe your tasks, it will make difficult for the evaluator to find the required information.Use bullets, indents and focused statements to make your CV concise and easier to scan. Use action verbs and descriptive phrases to get your point across. Avoid cliches like "hardworking", "self motivated" and "goal oriented". Your accomplished tasks will provide this information.

Proofread your resume or ask a friend/relative to do it for you.The worst mistake on CV is the typographical or grammatical mistake. It demonstrates carelessness and lack of attention to detail on your part. Your potential employer may wonder that if this person can't spend some time to proofread his resume, how he would take the time to do his job properly and protect employer's business interests.

For more on resume writing, see Part-II

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