Writing a Good Professional Resume

A resume is a summary of your work experience, skills, and education. Although the words resume and curriculum vitae or CV are used interchangeably, but CV is a more comprehensive term. A CV is a detailed bio of your career, ranging from your education, work, skills and experience without the restriction of length. But a resume is a precise version of those experiences and skills, and typically should cover 10 years’ of one’s major employment duration. Unlike a CV, a resume should be tweaked and edited continually as per the demands of the posts for which you apply. Ideally it should not extend beyond 2 pages maximum. However, few things that must be noted very carefully, if you are making your resume for the first time.

1) It is not just a mere record of your job history.

2) It is not only a summary of your skills and competencies.

3) It solely will not land you in a job.

Your resume is like an advertisement of you as a product. So, you need to highlight your features in the resume in such a way to capture the attention of your hiring manager, so that you get a interview call. Hiring managers are attracted to well-formatted resumes with attention-grabbing details. Statistics show that if your resume cannot attract the attention of hiring manager in the first 10- 15 second, it is likely to get discarded. To stand out of the tank, it is important how you piece together the various information in your resume that can flag your abilities even when one is giving a quick scan. Else, you might be just another number in the ‘rejected’ pile before the hiring personnel views your profile in details.

A resume is the most requested document in any job search — followed by the cover letter, of course. You may need to write resumes at different phases of your professional career. Note, the structure, format and approach of the resume changes as you move up your career ladder. In this blog, I have tried to give you a wholesome idea about the correct basic ingredients of good professional resume.

 

Commonly Used Types of Resumes

There are three main kinds of resumes as discussed below:

Reverse Chronological Resume: A reverse chronological resume is the most familiar format. Here focus comes on your recent work history. You need to list your positions in reverse chronological order, with the most recent positions at the top and the oldest ones at the bottom. Ultimately, the goal is to show how your earliest positions have led up to the current point.  This format must be used when you are applying for jobs as a fresher, in line of your education, in similar field of your current job or you want to display your vertical career progression.

Functional Resume: A functional resume, on the other hand, emphasizes more on your functionality, i.e., your experience. For a functional resume, you must write a crisp and well worded professional summary, highlight your skills and work experiences. Aim must be to show how well your skills match with the posts that you have applied for. This format is best for those who want to minimize career gaps, or are transitioning into a new industry.

Combination Resume: As name suggests, it is a blend of the above two formats. Generally, the professional summary and skills section of a functional resume can be combined with the work experience mentioned in a reverse chronological order. This format helps to grab recruiters’ attention due to focus on both your experience and skills in specific career. It is useful for mostly experienced job seekers. Do not use this format if you are an entry level candidate.

 

Basic Structure of a Resume

Remember the basic information that needs to be furnished in your resume must remain constant across all the above mentioned formats. As you move up your career, your approach and emphasis and how you stylize your resume changes. More precisely, how you want your recruiter to get an idea about you from your resume changes as you shift from being a fresher to an experienced professional.

Let’s discuss the main skeleton structure of a good professional resume.

Contact Details: At the beginning you are supposed to include your basic personal identity. This includes your name, phone number, location, official email address and maybe the link of your LinkedIn profile. Make sure that you furnish these details carefully, so that recruiters can easily connect with you. Avoid irrelevant personal information like your age, marital status, nationality and even your photograph. Earlier, these information were seen by recruiters but currently legally these personal information are no longer must be paid heed during hiring processes.

Career Summary: The career or the professional summary is the most important initial section of your resume. Take extra care to curate this brief, two to three liner section in such a way to stand out of the lot of applicants. It must be crisp and precise that must specifically describe who you are, what you do and how awesome you will be for the said job. Be clear to list out your accomplishments with use of specifics and limited use of proper action words. Avoid mentioning your career objective that details out your aim or opportunity you seek in your career. Instead professional summaries are not about what you want. They emphasize on what valuable contribution you can make to the recruiting employer. In the process of quick 10 second glances through piles of resumes by hiring manager, this section actually acts as the decisive point to either junk it or give in some more time to get a quick overview of why you are the right person for the job.

 

Skills: You must add a separate section to highlight and emphasize about your skills. No point in mentioning specifically, the skills section is one of the vital section in your resume that comes under maximum look see by the hiring managers. Remember to clearly state your skills, both your hard and soft skills. Highlight your tech skills, expertise of any particular software. Don’t exaggerate them to the extent which you can’t be able to display at work. Suppose mentioning important skills like leadership, negotiation or any technical skills of which you don’t have full tactical knowhow, then, refrain from doing so. Don’t lie but at the same time don’t miss upon the assets in your kitty.  Recruiters and hiring managers do increasingly hunt for candidates with specialized backgrounds. In this section, follow the golden rule, less is better. Rather than making the headhunters understand you as versatile, clearly list few yet solid skills that portray you as an adept and crackerjack individual. If they see that you have the proficiency to fit the said role, chances of your resume getting selected and ultimately getting the interview call increases.

 

Work Experience/History: This is the most critical section of your resume. You must highlight your work history in a well versed and comprehensive format. Mostly, the reverse chronological order is followed here, where you enlist your upward career mobility, starting from your current work details to bottoming down to your earlier professional commitments. Mention your company names, locations, tenure of employment, roles and designations you held in all of them. Customize the resume to befit the position you have applied for. Try to mention your experiences and achievements in line with the demands of the post applied for. Pick out similar action and persuasive words (Developed, handled, leveraged, led etc.) from the job description of the vacancies to highlight your accomplishments. Try to elaborate on your achievements(How much sales have you generated, new product idea generated, instances of conflict resolution, number of people you have supervised and so on.) areas where you demonstrated your skills and what quantified results you have brought to your companies(give numbers).  Don’t overstate your skills or results to give a false impression to the employer. Don’t even sit down to only describe your responsibilities in your earlier positions. Headhunters peruse this section to connect whether your experience and skills will suit the position. So, make sure to stand out from the lot and display yourself as a qualified potential hire.

Education:  For most of the organizations across the globe and especially in India, certain educational qualifications are prerequisites for particular posts. Your degrees, credentials and certificates ensure your eligibility criterion. Simply list out your academic degrees, trainings, percentage or grades obtained, year of obtaining them and your education and training institution.

 

Add on Experience: This may be an optional section but can gain you the brownie points especially if they are in line with the position applied for. Mention about any of your volunteer works, internships, workshops, awards and recognitions, hobbies, language fluencies and any significant achievement in some other field.  Don’t make it too long.  It may detract from your skills or work experience. But few mentions can be potentially valuable way to provide a more impressive picture of who you are.

 

FEW CAUTIONS TO FOLLOW

  • Don’t use an unprofessional email address bearing weird names.
  • Don’t use fancy, outdated, illegible fonts. Stick to simple fonts like Times Roman, Arial and so on.
  • Use result driven approach, examples and quantifiable results to specify more of your accomplishments. Don’t blabber around your job descriptions and responsibilities in your earlier roles. You must aim to show what impact have you created in your company.
  • Proofread to check for spellings and grammatical goofs.
  • Restrict yourself from using too many buzzwords like strategic thinker, out of the box solver, so on.
  • Always tailor your resume in accordance with the post applied for. Don’t stick to the ‘one fits all’ approach.
  •  Use keywords from the job postings to show how well chosen you will be for the potential hire.
  • Complement always with a cover letter.

 

Creating a snappy, polished and attention grabbing piece of this document-‘RESUME’ is actually a craft. Think it as the 10 second elevator pitch that can actually decide your career fate. Give in your best efforts…boost up your resume building skills….result will surely follow…

Date
2021-06-09