Writing An Effective Resume

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Resume Writing – The first step

Resume writing is undoubtedly the first step in job hunt. Before starting let me make some things clear. If you write a good resume then your chances of getting a job call increases. Once you get a job call then it’s up to you to convert it into an offer. Resumes responsibilities are to showcase your experience, qualifications and skills to perform the applied job successfully. Always write a resume from HR’s point of view. Mentioned below are tips that I have summarized from my experience, tips from company executives and HR, and things that I came across while helping others in their resume. It may vary from person-to-person.

  • One page rule

If you are applying for entry-level or associate position your resume shouldn’t be more than a page. HR receives the maximum number of applications for entry-level positions. If everyone submits more than a page of resume then it will be difficult for HR to go through all resume. HR personnel have only few seconds to go through your resume. You may write more than a page resume if you have more than 3 years of experience but for entry-level stick to 1 page rule.

  • Name, address and contact details

Your name, address and contact details should be at the top of the resume and should accommodate in maximum 3 lines. It will be better if you can reduce it further to 2 lines but don’t make it too cluttered. Always make sure that your contact details are accurate and updated. If you make any mistake in this section then you may lose a job call.

  • Profile Summary better than Objective statement

If you are applying for a particular job then it’s obvious that it’s your objective to get that job. Don’t waste your 2 lines of resume on writing objective statement. A better strategy would be writing a profile summary/ professional summary of your qualifications at the start of your resume. This will make HR interested in your resume from the first second onwards. It’s also an excellent way of displaying briefly about yourself and reducing HR’s time to know about you. If you notice in below examples the technical and computer skills are included in the summary so you don’t have to write a different section on technical skills. This summary will help you save some space that can be used for some other purposes like your job tasks details, projects, etc. In fact it also includes the keywords that will help resume showing up in the search engines used by HR personnel.  

Examples of profile summary: 

Sample Resume A 

Profile Summary

* Two plus years of experience in IT management and software designing & development.

* Experience in C#, ASP.NET, T-SQL, MS SQL Server 2005, SDLC, Java, NUnit.

* Knowledge of MS Visio, MS Project, Visual Studio 2008, SQL *Plus, SSRS, Eclipse, Android SDK.

* Microsoft Certified

Sample Resume B

Summary

* Experience in the fields of statistics, computer engineering, industrial& systems engineering.

* Extensive knowledge on SAS, Matlab, R, Minitab, ASP.NET, C, C#, C++, JAVA, SQL2000, Oracle.

* Knowledge in Visual Studio. NET 2005, Eclipse, MS Visio.

  • Show numbers rather than adjectives

Instead of using adjectives like exceptional, honest and hardworking, use numbers to present it more strongly. In the interview just support these numbers by giving details of the work performed and how these numbers were achieved. You don’t need to show exact numbers with decimals but an approximate number should work good enough.

Examples: 

* Implemented an online solution that reduced manual intervention, increased efficiency by 60% and reduced cost by 70%.

  • Master resume and different resumes for different jobs

Don’t use the same resume for all the jobs. First of all, make a list of job positions that you would be interested in and are similar to each other. Examples: Associate Software Engineer, Associate DBA, Entry-level Data Analyst, etc. These all positions require a degree in CS or IT and some IT project development experience. In this case make a master resume. You should make changes in your resume according to the position. Amplify and elaborate things that are required in the job you are applying. Include keywords in your resume from the desired job description and requirements of the company. In case you don’t have time then your master resume should be such that you should be able to use it for all similar kinds of jobs. 

  • Chronological Order and pattern

The experience and education on your resume should be in chronological order. The latest job experience should be the first under the Experience section. Your experience can also include any relevant work you did at University level such as Research assistant, Graduate assistant, Teaching assistant, Web designer, etc. I also recommend you to follow this pattern in your resume; Name & contact details at the top then Profile summary, Experience, Academic projects, Education and extra-curricular activities or academic achievements. The details of Experience and Education section should be in chronological order. This will help to avoid any confusion to HR. If you don’t have any kinds of experience then try to add as many relevant academic projects as possible.

  • Use bullet points

Write your profile summary, experience, educational details and achievements in bullet points. Avoid use of paragraph. It’s more readable and easy to understand when you write in bullet points.

  • Start sentence with an action verb

Always start your sentence with an action verb. It’s a common advice, as it makes things more clear about the tasks that you performed in your job.

Examples: 

* Implemented a web solution to automate certain tasks

* Managed a team of five to achieve target sales figures.

  • No references and salary expectations

Resume shouldn’t contain references. References are important but they come into picture in the later stages. If the company is interested then they will ask you for your references. The same rule applies for salary expectation. It’s quite possible that the company may have high or low scales compared to overall market standards. Salary comes into picture in the later stages of the job game. If they ask you beforehand then give them a range rather than exact number. If they persist on some exact number then provide average of the range. But in any case don’t make mistake of writing salary expectations in your resume.

In the end, I would also recommend you to give importance from where you are applying for a job. You may use university career services, popular job portals and some employee referral. Employee referral is the best and most effective way of applying for a job. Remember the source of your resume is very important for HR personnel.

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