Resume Writing as easy as it may sound, is a challenging and a daunting task for a lot of professionals out there. Resume writing is an art and at the same time, has a good amount of science in it. With this being the case, it usually is challenging when one is clueless about the ingredients to a perfect resume. When they are not in a position to differentiate from the useful information that can go into the resume from the information that can be avoided. The reason why this is a difficult process in the recent times is due to the extensive use of Applicant Tracking Systems on the other side. Applicants fear losing out on keywords by avoiding information, which has a direct impact on their resumes being shortlisted by these ATS engines. So, what are the ingredients that goes into creating a perfect resume?
So here are the 20 fundamental rules to creating a perfect resume:
1. One or Two Pages:
The industry norm is 6 seconds. That’s right, six seconds is the timespan your resume gets when the hiring manager glances through your resume. There is a good possibility that they may not even look at the contents on the second page. A one-pager or two at the max would be the ideal size for your resume and if you are going in for a two-page resume, the most important aspects of your resume should be placed on the face page. A visual resume is a good bet when it comes to highlighting aspects that you would want the hiring manager to see. Keep in mind that the idea is not to cramp your resume showcasing everything that you have done, but rather to show that you have the requisites to meet the job that you are applying for.
2. Check and Recheck:
Spelling and grammar, you would be surprised to know the number of resumes that recruiters and hiring managers trash because of poor spelling and grammatical errors. It does not matter if you have drafted the resume yourself or you have taken the help of a professional resume writing agency, check line by line to see if there are any spelling or grammatical errors before you share them with your prospective employer.
3. Past and Present:
This is a common error that most professionals make while drafting their resume without realizing the impact it has on the reader. However, it is really easy to avoid this error. If something on your resume is done in the past, use past-tense (achieved, delivered, collaborated) and if these are aspects of your present role, use present-tense (achieve, deliver, collaborate).
4. Too Many I’s:
Too many I’s don’t appeal to the reader. Avoid using first person pronouns such as I or Me or My. So instead of stating “I consistently exceeded the sales targets by 100%” it would work in your favor when you say “Consistently exceeded the sales targets by 100%”.
5. PDF is the Norm:
Ensure that after you are done drafting your resume, it is saved in a pdf format and sent to the hiring managers. You do not have the control on the device they see your resume on. When the resumes are sent as word or any other formats, there is a strong possibility that the format or the fonts that you have used on your resume does not look the same on their screen, depending on the version of the office suite they are viewing your resume on or the device on which your resume appears. Using a pdf format of the resume ensures that they see the same format as you do.
6. Name the File Professionally:
We’ve seen this a million times. Resumes named with random file names or junk characters. File names such as asdf.doc does not give any sort of perspective about the document to the receiver. You must know that you are not the only applicant for the position that you are applying for and recruiters and hiring managers do get to see the name of the file you have attached. So when there is a necessity of coming back to your resume, make it easier for them by naming the file with a proper structure – Firstname_Lastname_Resume.pdf would be an ideal way to name your resume.
7. Use Logic:
You could choose between a chronological or a functional resume. It is important that you make up your mind on the approach you would want to take before you start drafting so that you are able to give a logical structure to your resume. It purely depends on the position that you are applying for that will help you decide on the format you would want to use while drafting. While chronological resume is the most preferred one, many a times, a functional resume would work to your advantage.
8. Easy on the Eye:
Do not cramp your resume with information and try to fit everything into a one or two pages. Pick out only information that makes a difference to the hiring manger and makes you the best suited candidate for a particular position. Keep it as crisp as possible and while you may be tempted to reduce the font size to accommodate all the information, never go below a font size 9 and use default fonts that are available on the office suites. Space it out evenly and make it pleasing to the reader’s eye. Some of the well-received formats are available to download on the samples page of CV Designer
9. Stand out from the Crowd:
When your CV is your best marketing material, you do not want it to look ordinary. It is important that it stands out from the rest of the resumes and strikes an impression with the reader. It is acceptable to use visuals to highlight information you want your readers to notice. However, it is important that you strike a balance in the use of visuals. Overdoing it will work against your prospects of getting shortlisted.
The sense of consistency has to start with your resume. Be consistent in the use of fonts and the way the fonts are used and the lines are spaced. If you have used bold fonts for a header, then make sure that all the other headers are in bold or if you have used a 1.5 line spacing, then the entire resume has to follow the same pattern.
11. Give them a Context:
Readers always prefer to have a context to the statements you have made on your resume and it is crucial that you give them that. For example: The tenure at a particular organization / role or the geographies that you have handled, etc. This helps them evaluate your potential.
12. Validate your Statements:
Validation is important on your resume because most make generic statements such as excelled at a particular task. While it is important to mention it on you resume, it is the validation that makes it work in your favor. Always include the end result of a particular activity that you have mentioned on your resume. There could be areas where it is a breach of NDAs when numbers are mentioned, there you can replace it with the percentages.
13. Bragging is Good:
Bragging is good on your resume. If you have been promoted because your performance has been exemplary, it is perfectly okay to brag about it on your resume. If you have been directly working alongside your CEO in a particular role, talk about it. It shows that you are someone who has the capacity and capability to do so. Aspects such as these goes a long way in differentiating you from the rest of the applicants.
14. Drop the References:
Do you really think that mentioning a reference on your resume can actually get you that job? The sole purpose of you resume is for the hiring manager or the recruiter to decide if they want to meet you for an in-person discussion. Stating a reference is not going to help the cause. If they really need references, they are going to ask you at the time of interview. When the space is limited, you do not want to waste that on mentioning references.
15. Be Creative:
Certain industries expect you to be creative and what better than using your resume as you canvas to showcase your creativity. If you are applying into the media or advertising industry, you could experiment with colors and make your resume vibrant. You could experiment with graphs and charts if you are applying into a position that has to do with numbers or revenue figures. Visuals always has an edge over text.
16. Everything is not Important:
Refrain from listing everything that you have ever done or what your present / past employer has asked you to do. For every statement you make, ask yourself this important question: “Is this going to help me get the job” If the answer is a no, then consider removing it from your resume.
17. Read from the other Side:
After you are done drafting your resume, while it is important to recheck the same for spelling or grammatical errors, it is also important to read it from the employer’s perspective. You must understand that it is the recruiter’s and the hiring manger’s responsibility to hire the best candidate for that position. So, when you read it from their perspective, it helps you understand if you have presented yourself in a manner that showcases you as the best candidate for the position.
18. Differentiate Yourself:
You must understand that there could be hundreds or thousands of applicants for a particular position and the hiring manager or the recruiter is going to see that many profiles before they shortlist a set of candidates for the next round of discussion. The only way you can get into that list is by differentiating yourself from the hundreds or thousands of the other applicants. Before you draft your resume, list down a set of things that you consider to have done differently from the others. Use this list to frame the skeleton of your resume. When the recruiters and hiring mangers are looking for the best, it is important that you don’t present yourself as an ordinary one.
19. Be Specific:
A generic resume does not sell always. Give the job description a thorough read and tweak your resume accordingly. It is important that the reader finds your resume compatible to the position that they are hiring for. Incorporate words that are part of the job description into you resume. This is extremely important when you resume goes for a manual or an automated screening (ATS) Using the right keywords improves your chances drastically.
20. It’s your Resume:
Personalize your resume as much as you can. It is your resume and it should mirror your personality. Do not lookup on the web for content for your resume. You will no doubt find quality content out there but they are generic and there could be million others using the same content. If you are seeking the support of a resume writing consultant to draft your resume, have elaborate discussions with them and personalize the document in a way where the content of the document applies only to you.
We do understand that it is a lot to take in, but considering the competition out there in the market, it is important that you follow these to ensure that you get that competitive edge over the others. We have been writing resumes for over two decades, being awarded the best resume writer in India and the most preferred resume writer by global recruiters, these guidelines are curated based on our experience we have been part of thousands of success stories because all of the parameters were taken into consideration while drafting our client’s resumes.
If you would like to get your resume drafted by some of the best resume writers, do drop us a line or you could visit www.cvdesigner.in to know more about us.
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