Friday, January 05, 2007

Tips for writing a good resume!!

Courtesy Desipundit I happened to come across a very interesting and detailed post- comment on ‘what constitutes a good resume!! . It is a must read blog-for it compares the practice of what an accepted resume is -in US visavis the Indian versions! It debates on the length of a resume, and the structure –the order of chronicling the education, work experience etc…

As a recruiter –whose life revolves around reading such documents for a living, I shall attempt trying to articulate my thoughts on the same.

Resume writing is as much as a science as it is an art!

1.While the words resume and curriculum vitae (CV) are used almost interchangingly these days, I am of the school that a CV is an in-depth record of the academic performance, credentials as well as accomplishments to date. And a resume is a convincing introduction and summary of one’s skills and experience with respect to a specific field, industry or job opening!

2 A resume is essentially a document that should help the ‘candidate’ advance to the interview. And so in this world of information explosion, it is essentially to get thru the clutter and appeal to the reader asap!

3. Just as one dresses differently for different occasions, a good resume should be tailor made for the position one is applying for! A decent format would cover :

-the objective, or the purpose of the application –essentially seen as a strategic part of one’s career plans;

-a brief background qualifying the applicant for vindicating the objective-it could dwell on why one is right in aspiring for the role-perhaps highlight those specific key result areas (KRAs) very critical for the success of the role;
-the education and work experience –that could emphasise why the applicant is the best suitor for the role! It is very essential for one to project the achievements on the various assignments rather than just list out the duties and responsibilities of the role. It is here that ‘the kill’ has to happen.. ;
-the personal attributes, contact details etc that allow the reader to invite the applicant over for a meeting!

4. The length, the fonts, the tables, the bullets etc are cosmetic changes one can design to attract the reader-please remember, the person is perhaps is screening hundreds of such claims to shortlist it to a reasonable and manageable sample to meet in person!
5. And yes, the style of writing a CV should try to bring out the personality of the applicant-as distinctly individualistic as possible! A crisp, no-nonsense, business like narration would help set expectations right -so that the reader can then quickly navigate through the subsequent interaction during the personal/telephonic interview.

Points to ponder:

I must confess though- often selection in itself is a misnomer..a la type II error in statistics; the way to selection –is often aided by rejection!! As a reader, one is broadly looking for reasons to reject the candidate- it could be due to spelling errors, poor presentation, looking out for those blatant claims. Any gaps in education or work experience must be substantiated in order that even the juniormost recruiter is enabled to use the resume as a tool to chose whom she/he should reject. If the resume isn’t rejected, the candidate is invited for a personal/telephonic round-where again the onus now shifts to the higher official whose key is to try to reject :-)!

Nowadays, technology is predominantly used to filter such responses…even before the naked eye takes over. And here comes the trump card –of key words! The filter often searches for some specific key words-which when present- helps in the resume being shortlisted! ( this perhaps explain why most Indian resumes list out an entire gamut of skillsets they have ever heard of- for your chances of being shortlisted is better that way :-)!

Especially in India –where abundance is the reality- one is flooded with responses, there is an increasing tendency to shortlist on the basis of the age of the candidate-and qualification –and in most cases, the premier institutes, ability to travel abroad at shortnotice etc- which perhaps explains the reason why people mention passport numbers!!

Once the HR person screens the resume –it is then forwarded to a hiring manager-who perhaps-looks typically at a totally different set of parameters ( type of project, role played, competencies of skillsets that are complimentary etc!) –thus necessitating the need for a looong resume :-)!

Tips for a fresher : in order to mask the inexperience, the person should highlight the allrounded personality-by indicating the spectrum of competences she/he has been exposed to! So one must go beyond academics, into extracurricular activites –that encapsulate the persons ability to work in teams, and ability to learn and adapt fast to different stimuli!

To summarise I cant resist using a cliché- a good resume should be like a bikini- long enough to cover the essentials –but just that wee bit short too, to reveal enough to excite the reader to know more!!

1 comment:

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