Resume is your first impression - it is your marketing tool and you certainly want to give the best first impression to your marketing document. Now, you may wonder and think, how can you enlist your whole life/work history in just one or two A4 sheets? Let’s keep it straight - resume is not your life/work history, and nor it is a summary of your failures and short comings, but a simple and quick methodology to show your suitability and qualifications to do a particular job.
It is highly critical to write an impressive resume to get noticed and get called for interviews. Here are some strict do’s and don’ts of writing an effective resume.
DO’s of Resume Writing:
- List work experience in reverse chronological order. The last/current job must be listed first, while you can choose not to mention short-term, irrelevant jobs in your professional experience section.
- Demonstrate accomplishments in numbers. Quantify your accomplishments with numbers and facts. “Managed a team of 25 trainees” is more flavoured than “Managed trainees”. “Increased department revenue by 60%” sounds more factual than “Increased department revenue”.
- Follow a pattern from start to end. Use easy-to-read fonts (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri body etc.), regular font size of 10-12 (depending on page space & content), set order of information focusing experience, responsibilities and achievement details of past companies along with a professional presentation.
- Clearly mention contact details. Place all important contact information including phone number, email address, professional networking profile link such as LinkedIn, city and state at the top of the resume with no mistakes.
- Have a section highlighting your qualifications. Always consider having a summary section in the resume. While a hiring manager may have just a few seconds to skim over your resume and decide, it is your responsibility to help him select you in the first glance – what you want to do and what your are good at – explain this is brief through the “summary of qualifications” or “work summary” section.
- Proofread carefully. Ask for help from friends, teachers, and colleagues to read your resume and proofread for mistakes. It is highly desirable to edit and proofread your resume multiple times to avoid any misspellings and typos.
DON’Ts of Resume Writing:
- Give details in paragraphs. Employers like easy-to-scan resumes which let them get the gist in a quick glance. Providing information in lengthy paragraphs makes it difficult to focus the text and thus demands more attention.
- Lie about your candidature. Dishonesty in resume/interview may get you the job, but if found may lead to public embarrassment and other serious actions against you apart from losing the job. Lying about your candidature is risky and highly unadvisable.
- Give references until asked. You should not provide references until specifically requested. Not all employers want it, if they do, keep it on a separate sheet for a later stage of the recruitment process.
- Include a lot of personal information. Your future employer is not interested in your personal - irrelevant to the work – details for now. Don’t share too much information stating your birth date, religion, hobbies, weight, number of kids, passport number etc.
- Emphasize older experience. There is no need to highlight very old professional history. Instead, list them in just a job title-company-location pattern with or without employment period in a separate section titled as “previous professional experience”.
- Make your resume too long. The generally accepted length of a resume is 1-2 pages. Anything above 2 pages (until specifically asked), makes the employer uninterested to read it. But also on the other hand, don’t get distraught about the “one-page resume rule”.