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Jun 16, 2011

Ten Ways To Smarten Your Resume

The First impression a prospective employer will form of you is through your CV. Here are some tips to help you make your resume better from others.

1.) What's in A Name ?
The email ID that appealed to you as a cocky 15 year old is going to elicit just one reaction from prospective employers, guffaws. So, before you write a resume, get a respectable ID, preferably one that simple spells out your name. Also stick to one contact number and don't bother tacking on a fax number.

2.) Don't Blind Your Employer :
Always stick to one font and keep only key words in bold. Opt for a summary if you have working for more than 10 years. "A recruiter's attention span is 10-20 seconds , so you have to ensure that you grab it with a good beginning." 

3.) Avoid The 'I' Syndrome :
You may be the center of your universe but the organisation won't be inclined to think so. Don't focus on what you want. The idea is to give a quick snapshot of what you can bring to the company.  Use the job description to frame this as it will help you understand what the company wants from you and the key skills that are required.

4.) Emphasis Recent  Experiences :
You may be proud of every post you held, trainee upwards but the employer is only interested in the one you held last. Downplay earlier experiences especially those more than 10 years ago. Also, if you worked for a small company, mention what it did. Avoid shorter stints. 

5.) Avoid Too Many Details :
If there is a period in your work experience that you do not want to mention leave it out. However, if  it is longer than a year , the gap will be obvious big, so you may need to state what you were doing. If you were involved in an entrepreneurial activity , it could be a point in your favour. 

6.) Get Rid of Humdrum :
Do you really want to highlight skills that even a teenager will scoff at? Avoid  jotting down commonplace abilities. Mention these only if they are relevant to your field. 

Hobbies is  another section that can be safely dropped, unless you have an outstanding one. "One extracurricular activity  that interest employers is involvement in social work as most companies have begun focusing on corporate social responsibilities. 

7.) Turn Flaws Into Virtues :
You need to choose your words carefully, especially if you want to intrigue the prospective employer. The choice of words will also depend on the post you are applying for. "Risk-Taking can be great virtue in an entrepreneurial venture but a disaster for a financial services firm. You should be able to substantiate the qualities you mention. " If you say you are great at problem solving, mention an incident where your skill has helped , otherwise it will be another trite claim. 

8.) Throw out Cliches :
Recruiters  have been there, heard that . Unfortunately candidates still cling to oft-repeated phrase, "I will give my 110%, "I'm passionate about my job, or "I like to work in a competitive environment". It's exhausting to  read another good communication skills. It takes up valuable resume on your resume. This can be better used to highlight a specific talent on resume.

9.) Leave The Years Behind :
If you've managed to get a graduate and postgraduate degree, you must have completed your schooling. Pointing It out is a waste of space. Ditto for the month and years in which you have completed various courses and the percentage /grades you scored. They should only be mentioned if you have worked for less than 4-5 years.

10.) The Long and Short of It :
Don't cram your resume in a single page but a 2 page CV is acceptable only if there is enough to write . Rambling is a  sure way of getting it atop the pile of rejects. 

The Thumb Rule :-  If you have less than five years of experience , opt for a single page ; go for 2 pages if it's longer.

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