Are your a Student looking to start your career ?
Are you a working professional looking for better opportunities ?
Are you currently at a wrong company and planning to switch ?
Is your Resume a copy/pasted version of a friend/relative?
If you are anyone of the above, grab a cup of coffee and learn the steps to get that job interview call.
Your Resume is one of the most important tools for your job hunt. Like any other tool, keeping your resume sharp and in good shape will reap better results. The difference between applying the job and getting that interview call.
When it comes to a job hunt, there is huge difference between a CV and a Resume. Let’s explore them and understand the difference. Even though the term is used inter changeably, they are quite different.
Resume or CV ? What?
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
In Latin, Curriculum Vitae (CV) means course of life. When you create a CV, you pretty much explain everything in detail. Be it Education, Professional Experience & Achievements. This usually is asked in only some parts of the world and more so for higher up the ladder jobs. A CV must be detailed, should convey the whole story from the beginning to the end. Think of a CV like someone watching the entire series of Game of Thrones or Money Heist. People who are into research or looking for a job in research would probably have CVs which explains all the grants they have, the researches they have done, the sponsors they bring etc. This will be detailed and will run into pages.
A Resume on the other hand is like that 2 mins trailer of a movie or a series which immediately makes the viewer buy a Netflix subscription for example. These trailers are designed in such a way that they capture the emotions of the viewer quickly and get them hooked in no time. So, think of your Resume like a 2 mins trailer of your professional life conveying one thing eventually: Why are YOU interesting one!
Unless asked specifically, most of the times you just need to share your Resume and the contents following next are all about Resume. If you are looking for a CV, the content will still help but it would not be enough.
Chapter One: Content Is King
Preparing your Resume
The saying “Content is king” is bang on target when it comes to keeping your resume polished. The content you put inside your resume can be THE deciding factor to get that interview call. Here are some guidelines which you can follow while creating your resume:
- Not more than 2 pages
- Crisp, factful.
- Should be about why you should be hired.
What should a Resume have ?
Here are the thing you could include in your resume:
- Your Contact Details
- Professional Summary
- Core Skills
- Cool Skills
- Your Work/Projects
- Work History
- Education and Certifications
- Hobbies / other things which makes you stand out from the crowd.
Now, let’s go through them one by one.
Ensure you provide your own and correct contact details. A professionally sounding email Id and a contact number which is reachable. As simple as that.
It can get better
If you happen to have a strong online presence and are comfortable to share that with the world, You should share a link to your profile. Example: Your GitHub Profile showcasing your side projects or a technical blog where you post useful content.
Note: Your blog/projects need not be always super high tech or ultra amazing. Remember even Elon Musk started from zero knowledge. As long as its useful for one person, go ahead and do it.
Just make sure it is relevant for the job you are applying. For example: Lets say you are applying for a developer job and your passion is Black and White Photography. Adding that Instagram link in your resume may not be very useful.
Consider this as a trailer for your resume itself. It is ideal to keep this in two lines which outlines what you bring to the table and explain your expectation in terms of challenges you are looking for.
This is the most important part of your resume. Your niche/core skills which is/will be earning your bread and butter should go here. If the Job you are looking for needs a specific skill, that skill should be highlighted here. Core skills are what you probably work on already and have enough mastery on. Mastery may be a heavy word but you get the gist.
This is what your future employer is looking for and the skill you have. If this is not matching, check again you may not be in the right hunting ground.
Apart from the core skills, you could also some fancy skills which may not be needed but think of it like a “good to have”. These could be tools, frameworks or libraries you have played with on actual or side projects. Do not forget to add these cool skills. You never know what other skills your future employer my also be looking for.
You could be someone who is a fresher or may be someone with a 20+ yrs of experience. Making a two minutes trailer (read as Resume) out of it would be not something easy. To make this simple, narrow down the projects/side projects which are related to job requirement. After this (the list could still be too long), consider only top three projects which you have enjoyed and have enough experience with and most importantly you know in detail.
If you are a fresher, the rule still remains the same. If you have worked on multiple things, you still need shortlist your best work, your best project or assignment. Whatever you shortlist, these are the projects which some interviewers can dig deep into to understand your actual work and experience. So, the idea is to choose these three projects wisely.
This is pretty simple. List out all your jobs in descending order starting with your current job. Simply make it a table consisting of Company Name, Duration (Spent in that company) and Location.
Education and Certification
This is again straight forward. Only add your highest level of education. Just the last one and not the entire education history. If you are a fresher, add last two. Some companies sadly look for 60% and above from the day you were born. For such companies, put what they need. Remember, the idea is to get that Job.
You can also list up to three certifications. Again, these certifications should be relevant to the job you are applying.
Hobbies and Other things
While a resume is a great tool to showcase your professional talent, it is also a great place to show what else you bring along other than your work. List your hobbies and things you love spending time on after work. It could be books, music, following a niche technology or research area etc. Who knows the interviewer and you could have something in common which could totally setup the interview to your advantage. Be sure to make use of this space and customize as necessary and set yourself up for success.
• Correct contact details
• Core & Cool Skills
• Highlight Your Work
• Project your hobbies.
Now that we understood the “what” of the resume, lets focus on the “how” in the next chapter.
Chapter Two: Presentation is Queen
Many of us (including myself) would have gone through a phase where we have cloned a resume from friends/family, change some personal details and voila, its ready! We have all done it haven’t we? It is fine to do it as long as you least put in some more effort to make your resume not boring.
While there is no doubt content is king, content without proper presentation is meh!! So, ensure you present your resume in the right way. How you ask? Read on.
Templates to the rescue
Choosing a decent resume template allows you to filter out a lot of jank. There are many websites out there which could help you find a nice template. Some of these templates are free, some of them are paid. Free ones are good enough. I recently discovered a website by the name Canva . They have a huge resume template collection including free ones (Thank the all creators and more power to them). MS Word or Google Word Document also have resume templates. Choose one which suits you the most, I recommend the free ones in Canva.
Once you chose the template, it all about placing the content in the predefined place. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Just this alone will right away set your profile to stand out. Just don’t write paragraphs after paragraphs. Use bullet points and wisely.
Ensure you use one professional font. The font you use should be readable and pleasant to the eyes. Font size, formatting, spacing and margins, all of these things will add the needed aesthetics of your resume. Feel free to experiment around and finalize. Up to two font colors can be used.
You can optionally put your photo or even record a video (runtime under a minute) about yourself to impress your next employer. The possibilities are endless.
If you have your own website (hosted on either public/personal domains), Just send that link to your employer. An online resume is always a plus. If you are a web designed/developer, Your employer can quite easily see your skills immediately.
Note: Whether yours is a online resume or a regular resume - Everything you read here is relevant.
Chapter Summary/Key Takeaways
• Choose a template which works for you.
• Choose a Professional / Readable Font & Size.
• Format the document.
• Maximum two colors.
• Online resumes are always a plus.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of what to put in your resume and how to present it. Next we will look at some of the Do’s & Don’t while creating a resume.
Chapter Three: Do This
Below are the best practices which I would recommend strongly. Keep these in mind and then edit/prepare your resume.
Just save your resume word document as PDF and share the PDF version.
Highlight Achievements via numbers/facts. Examples:
Did you manage a team of 2000+ ppl across the globe?
Did you make a sale of a million dollars?
Did you reduce 80% of cost by bringing a new technology?
Did you write a in house tool which saves your developers X number of hours daily?
Did your idea ensured your company made Y% more profit?
Don’t let these fictional words daunt you (especially if you are a fresher) – These are just examples of how to quantify in numbers. It may or may not apply to you. You will have some or the other thing that you can mention. If you are not sure how to state those numbers, do feel free to get in touch and I'll help with what I can.
Project/Work details with Roles and Responsibilities.
Your resume should have the work you have done. The important point is the need to also summarize Roles and Responsibilities in a clear and concise way. Remember, the overall goal is to make sure you power pack everything about you and what you bring to the table. Spend sometime and look back at all the things you have done and point out note worthy things. Feel free to skip the small/easy/simple stuff.
Include only projects/skills which you are confident on, have worked on and relevant for the job you are applying for.
Use Impactful Verbs everywhere possible. Instead of saying I did X or I did Y you can chose Impactful Verbs like I Initiated, Created, Crafted, Engineered, Eliminated etc. I can go on and on but you get the point. Do note that these verbs could welcome some interesting questions during the interview. So do your homework, be prepared around this area.
Be Truthful & Honest in your resume.
If you do not state the truth and get the job, you may still be flagged during background verification or later after you join the company. Honesty is the best policy.
Ensure the tone of your resume is direct, polite and is grammatically correct without spelling mistakes. Once you complete your resume, do a spell check via
Grammarly or share with your friend.
Consider naming (file name of your pdf)to match and attract attension. Instead of saying 'myresume.pdf' you can name it as 'YourName_ReactJS_2Yrs.pdf'. Which one do you like ?
Chapter Four: Please Don’t Do this!
Below are some things which YOU SHOULD NOT ADD in your resume.
Date of Birth, Gender, Marital Status or any other private details --> It’s not a matrimony site. There is no need to include them.
Do not mention your expected CTC/Current CTC on your resume. It is a no brainer.
There is no need for declarations like "all the information given above is true and correct to the best of my knowledge". (but be honest & never lie).
If you feel a particular detail is not required to be put in your resume, go with your gut feeling and remove it. If something is needed, the interested party will anyways ask.
Do not send the same resume to every job you are applying. Change or tweak your resume and make it tailor made for the job you are applying. Example, If you are applying for a start up, focus on talking about how quickly you can learn. If you are applying for an MNC, focus on scale. (These are just examples but I'm sure you get the point).
I hope this guide helps you make your resume better and helps you get that dream job.
Spend 30 mins polishing your resume today.
If you want me to review your CV or help you prepare a better one, feel free to reach out.
Connect with me & say hello here.
Until next time.
Photo by Markus Winkler
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