How critical is your resume? Extremely. You don’t get a second chance to make a solid first impression! It is a record of all your accomplishments – your snapshot to a potential employer. You may have stellar achievements, but if they are not compiled in an impressive manner, you risk losing your job before starting it.
A crisp, error-free and coherently presented resume allows you to make an instantaneous positive impact. A well-constructed resume should document your skills and convince the selection team about your exceptional candidature.
Top 10 tips for building a strong resume:
1) Organize your content chronologically – No one has the time to read an ‘Inception’ like document. Jumping dates is very annoying for a reader. A linear documentation of your achievements and skills makes an easy read and ensures that your progress is highlighted.
2) Quantify your achievements – Putting a number magnifies impact of the action. See what a difference it makes when you write ‘Profit for the year rose from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 crore’ rather than writing ‘Profit for the year rose 2 times’. The second statement leaves room for doubt giving rise to conjecture – ‘What if the profit for last year was only Rs.10,000?’
3) Identify accomplishments and do not just list job descriptions. – It is important to highlight your endeavors and not just describe the role. Everyone knows what a sales profile involves. But mentioning you ‘Closed 5 sales with top 5 clients’, is what will set you apart.
4) Begin your statements with action words – Achieved, adapted, addressed, administered,advised, analyzed, arranged…These are just words beginning with A! The list can go on and they create a massive effect from the word go.
5) Don’t make things up or accentuate successes – It is imperative to be authentic. A small white lie on a submitted document will not bode well in the future. More importantly, you must be true to yourself.
6) Personal information such as religion, marital status etc. is not needed on your resume – If the company is interested to know your personal details, they will ask your for it.
7) Edit, Edit, Edit and Edit again – You may think your first draft is exceptional. But revisit each draft after a couple of days to find minute hidden mistakes. Ensure that you also get another pair of eyes to review your drafts.
8) Be concise but thorough – Say more with a few words. Be succinct. An ideal resume is exactly 1 page long without spillovers from formatting.
9) Check your formatting – In spite of being the most obvious point while writing a resume, this is what is most forgotten. Shadow the style through. If each header is made bold, follow this pattern throughout the document. Using too many fonts leads to more of an eye sore than beautification of text.
10) Showcase your work experience in maximum three bullet points for all places of work – You may have done a lot at a particular institution but you must be judicious and pick the top 3 points that you wish to emphasize. Each line must bring out a different facet of your skill and personality.
Underinvesting in the resume writing process is a huge mistake, which many applicants make far too often. Be smart. Invest your efforts and time in drafting a strong resume and get a head start!
This article has been written by Vibha Kagzi. Vibha is the CEO and Founder of ReachIvy , a boutique educational advisory that helps aspiring students get accepted into top ranked educational institutions globally. Vibha holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also pursued courses at the University of California, Berkeley, the London School of Economics and the Indian School of Business.
Vibha is the Co-President of the Harvard Club of Mumbai and is on the Carnegie Mellon Admissions Council.