Some key things to keep in mind when you document yourself as a professional
Although we know the importance of first impressions, most of us consider it only during personal interactions and interviews, and often ignore where it matters the most – in the résumé. You wouldn’t dress shabbily for an interview, would you? Then, why send an unformatted, cluttered résumé? Even before you go for the interview, the evaluators will have already formed their first impression about you based on your résumé. Leverage this document to your advantage; it can be the difference between selection and elimination.
In this blog post, I’d like to share a few but important tips for developing a good résumé.
As formal online interactions become the norm of the digital world, digital profiles are a necessity. It’s not only about converting a résumé into a PDF and uploading it for online viewing; a résumé should also address the information needs of multiple people in the hiring chain.
Typically, evaluators spend a mere eight to ten seconds per résumé. A résumé that doesn’t quickly capture attention usually ends up in the inactive database or an archive folder. When tasked with identifying 50 résumés from a set of 5,000, the hirers, in the first few rounds, generally look for those who do make it to the shortlists. With their experience and expertise in scanning thousands of résumés, they can easily distinguish between boilerplate, cut-copied texts, and uniquely crafted, focused career statements. Refrain from using clichéd phrases from a web search or résumé repository. The key is to be your unique self and stand out as a professional from the rest of the crowd. Here are a few CV writing tips:
Do your research, put thought into what you want to say
This goes a long way towards making the hiring manager’s work easy. Don’t simply list jobs and roles – try to hold the reader’s attention with quantified achievements, credible industry certifications, and internship projects in their order of importance to the organization and role.
You are the star in this piece; don’t shy away from saying so! For developer positions, it helps to highlight achievements that demonstrate logical problem-solving and ability to proactively identify bottlenecks. Focus on spreadsheet expertise and statistical tools if the role requires analytical capability. If the role demands frequent external stakeholder interactions, highlight presenter awards and debate participations. Avoid achievements that aren’t relevant to the role. These only take up precious space on the document without adding much value.
Think about the interview when writing the résumé
Writing a good résumé can also prepare you for the big occasion – the interview. Take, for instance, the dreaded ‘what’s your weakness?’ question that catches most candidates by surprise. Interviewers ask this question to gauge your level of preparedness. Those who think it out at the résumé stage are better positioned not just to turn the weakness into an opportunity but also demonstrate their ability to think proactively and communicate clearly – two essential attributes for getting hired. When you write your resume, think about the possible interview questions that may emerge from it. Look for inconsistencies in dates, recall incidents that showcase your strengths. You may have to explain all of this at the interview. Be prepared for it now.
Format, follow the employer’s submission guidelines
It’s very likely that the first approval on your résumé is given by a machine, not a human. With thousands of résumés hitting mailboxes every day, most organizations have a system-driven filtering process. Follow the prescribed guidelines on font, format, size, and structure to get past the system-screening filter. Formatting and being consistent with formatting is also a good indicator of how detail-oriented you are as a person, so don’t ignore this!
You might have the best degrees, certifications, skills, and attributes, but all of this comes to naught if your résumé doesn’t establish your professional persona effectively.
I sign off with the hope that these résumé building tips will help you design your brand and position yourself as an appropriate fit for an organization out there that needs you. Feel free to share these tips within your network.
Are you looking to know more about a career-driven subject or have a career thought you’d like to share? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you the best.