When it comes to writing a great resume, a more exact science is preferable to an abstract art.
Creativity can come into the process, but for the most part common advice is to make your resume as inoffensive as possible. An employer, especially an employer dealing with many thousands of applications, will usually read the first two lines of a resume and make their decision right there. Bad formatting, bad spelling, or even unnecessary header information can switch an employer off immediately, as they throw your resume in the bin to view the next application.
Does this sound unfair? That’s because it is. However, you can’t expect to do anything about it. This is one of the ways the job market works. For this reason, crafting a resume (particularly your first,) can be a scary prospect. If you have difficulty selling yourself, or are simply unaware of where to start, let this article serve as the main advice you use to craft your applicant presence. It’s time to stop being disregarded, and to start gaining the jobs you truly want.
We will tier this advice chronologically, as in listing information in our headers depending on the progression down the resume page you should hope to replicate. We’re sure this will help you format the CV with added integrity.
You need your contact information to be front and centre. It should be professional. Your email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ might have seemed awesome when you were fifteen years old, but now an ‘AJenkins@gmail.com’ could be much more serviceable. Use your full name, and avoid numbers where you can. Only list important information. Neglect to mention silliness such as height and weight, as it’s likely that unless your job involves this information, your employer simply does not care. Your mobile, landline, and maybe even Skype name should be there for immediate contact if necessary. Your name should be immediately legible and larger than all the header test. This contact information should be straight, to the point, and well formatted.
You need to add a personal statement. It needs to be snappy, and quickly list your achievements. This is likely the furthest an employer will go with your CV if he is already unsure. You have three or four sentences to convince him. We’d like to use an example:
“An accountant with fifteen years of experience in his field. Specialized and trained in business accountancy. Regularly performed complex duties for commonly known Fortune 500 companies. Always looking to improve and be challenged in his work.” This is all you need. It has your job role, the duties you are the most familiar with carrying out, as well as a notable achievement. Then a small subtle hint about what you could bring to the table.
This is fast, readable, instantly gives plenty of information to the reader, and opens the platform for the rest of your CV to detail. This provides a wonderful platform for you to develop further into your explorations.
Of course, you must always list your past experience. More than listing your past experience, you must list your achievements within each role. Really try and sell yourself here. It’s important that the prospective employer knows exactly what value you brought to each firm you attended. If he or she is in any doubt as to your worth at a firm, particularly if you’ve had a short stint at your recent firm, they might consider you questionable.
As well as listing the achievements you have crafted at your previous jobs, write a SMALL amount about how much you learned. This can show that you’re willing and able to continually refine your ability, and are much more interested in developing your skillset when at new firms. This shows that you are an asset which continually increases in value.
You can also list your personal projects here. This might be suitable even if it’s seemingly not relevant. For example, if you’ve directed a few corporate films in your spare time for a little extra cash, list it here, even if you’re applying for an accountancy job. This example in particular shows a great ability to manage a team, and to organize with tight efficiency. It could also suggest you controlled the budget of the film. It might suggest that you’re willing to go the extra mile to satisfy your career ambitions.
Make sure to reflect on all experience and ensure it’s relevant. A Coca-Cola manager is likely less inclined to hear about your McDonalds experience in high school if they’re attempting to recruit their replacement. Use your best wisdom here.
Education is wildly important to list. For some job roles, only a degree and pre-college courses you have achieved need to be listed. For some lower jobs, or for one of your initial jobs, listening your high school qualifications could be necessary. Employers look for self-starters, for example people who have qualified in a prestigious leadership MBA online. This should take front and centre in your CV, and should be listed chronologically from your most impressive educational achievement to your least consequential. If you feel it’s’ not relevant, never be afraid to prune.
Now, assuming that your prospective employer has managed to read down to this part without getting bored, and they’ve managed to light a small amount of interest in you, you are able to talk about yourself in a more informal sense. What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy?
This is a trick question. What you should be thinking is ‘what can I talk about which makes me look good, without lying?’ Let’s say you have both a knitting and mountain climbing hobby set. Which one makes you look more adventurous, more exploratory, and more willing to overcome challenge? You can also embellish this by leaving select information out. NEVER lie, because it will come out in the wash at some point.
For example, if you are a recent explorer of the martial arts and have entered as a white belt, you area more than able to list this in your personal section. Just leave out the fact you’re a complete novice, and it’s not a lie per se, but it’s surely a more impressive read than reality. Obviously use your best judgement here, it’s never worth spoiling a great CV with a silly lie to seem more impressive. Be smart, be wise, and be as honest as possible.
With these tips, your CV is sure to take on a new life. It should be simple, around two pages and three at an absolute maximum. We hope you’re able to use this to achieve the job of your dreams. We certainly believe in you.