Of course, your personality, knowledge and everything else will come into play in the interview room, but the resume that they will have in front of them will build their first impression about you and that first impression will have a profound impact on your chances of getting the job. Now the question is, how do you build the perfect resume?
There is, of course, no single flawless format for every type of resume, but there are most definitely a few points that are applicable in nearly all cases. In order to help you provide the framework that you need to write that perfect resume for your first job (or the second), take a look at these following points.
Strengthen Your Resume with Additional Qualifications
Contrary to what a lot of people may tell you, degrees, qualifications, and certificates do matter because the people who are interviewing you do not know you personally. Your resume is going to build the first impression and if they see relevant qualifications that you have in addition to the ones necessary for the job, you will most definitely have an edge.
For example, if you get a CPR certification online, it’s going to be a universal plus. It doesn’t matter what field of work you are trying to get into, someone who knows first aid and CPR is instantly getting brownie points from potential employers.
The law mandates that all companies must have at least one or more people present at the workplace with a first aid and CPR qualification so that instantly boosts your chances of getting hired. In most cases, you might even get paid a little extra. Similarly, any other qualification that is relevant to your original field of work or augments it somehow is worth completing to strengthen the resume.
Cater to the Job Description
Now we are getting into the finer details and it begins with this one. If you are applying in response to a job listing or ad, your resume needs to be exactly that; a response. In spite of the similarities between jobs, they are manned by different managers with different responsibilities and personalities. It is therefore imperative to read the job description to understand what they are looking for and customise your resume as a response to those needs.
It is likely that there will be plenty of other applications for the job, so when your CV reaches the hand of the interviewers, it needs to stand out and this is the best way to do that. Use your creativity and customise everything from relevant qualifications, job experiences (if any) to the subject matter of your resume to make it seem like you are the perfect answer to what the company is looking for.
Highlight Your Achievements
There is a difference between your achievements and your responsibilities and while subtle, it’s most definitely there. For example, if you completed your education, that’s your responsibility as a student, but if you excelled in it in some way, that’s your achievement. The same goes for any prior experience you might have had, even as an intern; did you just complete your internship or did you achieve something while doing it?
Of course, not everything we do is extraordinary and not all of us are capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat every time, but if you are sincere enough, there are bound to be moments of excellence in your academic life or during the tenure of your previous job/internship. There is no one stopping you from becoming creative and highlighting those moments of glory in your resume. Whatever you chose to write though, make it specific or put a number on it if you can.
Spare the Unnecessary Details
This is perhaps just as important as including the necessary details because of a number of reasons. Your employer has a very limited amount of time on their hands and chances are that more applications for the job have been sent to them than they want. What this means for you is that they hardly have time to read a long resume. Make it short and to the point, with the points preferably being as relevant to the job description as possible.
If you include unnecessary details that they will likely have no interest in knowing, your resume will be discarded. HR is not going to go through a long resume, trying to find things that make you useful to them, when there are so many other applications waiting to be evaluated. If you make that mistake, then your employers will simply think that you did not understand what they wanted and as you can imagine, that never ends well for the applicant.
First Things First
Figure out what would be the most important and relevant details to a particular job application and write them on top. The last thing you need is the manager discarding a resume even before going through it completely. Catch the boss’s attention with the headlines as soon as you can and once you do have the attention with your initial lines, you can rest assured that your resume will be fully read. Even then, don’t make it too long.
Be Creative, Not Dishonest
There is no denying it; the line in-between the two is a slim one, but it’s important not to cross it nevertheless. Creativity is when you take the liberty of highlighting even a seemingly insignificant achievement and make it into something that the employer may find useful for the job in question.
Being dishonest is when you talk in lengths about achievements and accomplishments that you had no relation with in the past. Even if we let the moralistic point of view slide for a moment, it would still be unwise to be dishonest for the following factual points.
- Employers know that a lot of applicants lie to get the job and they will grill you in the interview room to find out if that’s the case with your resume as well. Unless you actually know what you are talking about, chances are pretty high that you will be caught out and that can even get you blacklisted.
- A quick background check might reveal everything and that will put you in a precarious position in the interview room, or you may never get a call even to start with.
- It will build unrealistic expectations of you in the minds of the hiring company and unless what you wrote was true, you will have a very hard time meeting those expectations even if you are hired.
Proofread It More than Once
This may seem simplistic because it is and that’s why it’s the last point on this list. However, it still is an important part of preparing your resume. Even a single spelling mistake, a typo, or a wrong piece of information will make your interviewers think that you are lazy and careless; two attributes that will more or less confirm the fact that you are not getting the job. Proofread it more than once and get someone else to take a look as well, just in case you are missing something.
If you can incorporate these seven points in your resume with success, your chances of getting that interview call and making a positive first impression will increase substantially. You would be surprised at how many of the applicants are still making some of the mistakes mentioned here, but that’s good news for you because that’s where you will get ahead of the line.
Having said all that, as a student, try to make sure that your qualifications are as good as they can be because the points mentioned here are meant to make a good CV great and a weak CV decent, but it’s always better to have the “good CV” to work with.
- The Resume Design Book How to Write a Resume in College Influence Employers to Hire You
- Matthew T Cross
- CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Used Book in Good Condition
- Pat Criscito CPRW
- Barron's Educational Series
- Richard N. Bolles
- Ten Speed Press
- Edition no. Revised ed. (08/15/2017)
Last update on 2017-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API