You’re passionate about your career. You know you have what it takes to get the job you want. You excitedly prepare answers for your interview, and even plan your attire for that important occasion.
Hold it right there. Before you prepare to impress your interviewer with your passion, you have to realize first that you typically don’t get to create that first impression face-to-face. Before you even meet your interviewer, he has to get to know you through a very important document: your resume.
Your resume is a piece of professional communication with your prospective employers. Do it wrong, and they’ll probably never get to realize your career enthusiasm. Do it right, and they’ll say, “We’d like to meet this person.”
The good news is, learning how to write a resume isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of keeping some simple fundamentals in mind. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, an entry-level job, or a fresh graduate job, the guidelines for writing a good resume are more or less the same.
Know the employer’s submission requirements. Most employers are very specific about the file formats of resumes they want to receive. If they specify that they only accept .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf files, then give them only one of these. Don’t try to impress them with a full-production, 12-MB.mov file of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Such media are for companies presenting their credentials to prospective clients, not for job seekers.
Keep it short and simple. Nothing turns off a manager more than a resume with large blocks of text filled with lengthy, complex sentences and jargon. Instead of paragraphs, use bullet points, and keep these as concise as possible. Use everyday language that anyone would be able to understand.
Use one simple font. You may be tempted to make your resume look fancy. Don’t! The employer is looking for someone to fill an important position in the company, not someone to design their posters. Use proven, easy-to-read fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. The ideal size for body text is 12 points, with the absolute minimum at 10 points. For headings, you may go as high as 14 points, or simply render these in boldface.
Include your educational background. Provide information including the schools you went to and the years attended. Even if you’re still a student looking for a part-time job, state your year level at the time of the preparation of your resume.
Highlight your particular skills. The person reading your resume wants to know what you can contribute to his company. Use clear terms like “Account Management,” “PR Writing,” “Office Administration,” “IT Programming,” etc. Also include whatever supervisory or management skills you may possess.
Give your complete employment history details. Make sure you give all of the following information when stating you work experience:
• Company name
• Job position
• Start date and end date
State your achievements in specific terms. When highlighting your career achievements, avoid vague, non-quantified statements. For example, “Formulated the marketing strategy that propelled jobsDB from number three to number one in the market” is much more specific than “Played a critical role in the marketing team that advanced jobsDB to new heights.” Here’s another example: “Designed software that cut down Finance Department’s payroll computation time from four hours to two hours” is more specific than “Designed software that greatly assisted Finance Department.”
Check it again… and again. It’s obvious – but still worth stressing – that before you hit the “send” button, you have to make sure your resume contains no factual or grammatical errors. Go over your document twice or even thrice to make sure you have all your facts right, and all your thoughts properly expressed. And remember, make good use of spell check.
If you think that preparing your resume may be a bit time-consuming, well, you’re right. But investing in the time will be well worth it when you see how many employers will want to meet you. Only then will you be able to get the job you want.
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