So you finally came across your dream job posting! Congratulations. But the real battle lies ahead – your resume and interview are key stepping stones in bagging your dream job. That is where this blog comes into the picture. Read on to know more about rules to follow and mistakes to avoid.
Let’s first focus on the resume – the gatekeeper in the process.
Tip 1: Personalize Your Resume
We cannot stress enough on how important it is to create a matching resume for every job that you apply to. Most HRs today use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which looks for job description keywords in your resume. If your resume does not produce a high keyword matching score, too bad – you are out of the queue even before a human being looks into your application. Hence, it is of utmost importance to re-draft your resume for every job you apply to.
Tip 2: Use An Appropriate Resume Format
Should you choose the reverse-chronological format or a skill-based format? Should your resume be text-only or can have some graphics? There are several such aspects to consider. What makes it challenging is that there is no clear winning answer most of the times. Resume writing is a bit of an art and you have to experiment with formats and understand their pros and cons. A good way to get going is to use a resume template and customize it for your case.
Tip 3: Maintain A Professional Look And Feel
When we said ‘resume building is an art’ above, it does not mean that you can adorn your resume with fancy fonts and colors. That is a BIG NO! Your resume must impart a professional look and invite recruiters to read. Use of standard fonts and colors is recommended. Also, it is a great idea to divide your resume in sections, so a recruiter can quickly zoom into what he finds interesting and relevant.
Tip 4: Keep The Right Length
If you are a fresher, is a two-page resume really necessary? Also, if you have 20 years of experience, must you have a 10-page resume? Again, there is no fixed number of pages for a resume, but common practice suggests a one-page resume, with an exception of another page for those with long, diverse career history. Remember, the third page of a resume is never read with the same enthusiasm as the first one.
Tip 5: Ensure Impeccable Language And Grammar
Imagine how a recruiter would feel if he spots a spelling mistake on your resume. He will certainly assess you are a careless applicant, someone whom he doesn’t want to hire. So, proofreading is a must! Often you cannot find mistakes in your own writing. So here are two tricks. Firstly, never write your resume in one sitting. Build it over a period of time, so you come back to it every time with a fresh mind. Secondly, have a friend or a colleague read your resume and offer constructive feedback.
Tip 6: Show Your Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities
Most resumes are a list of roles and responsibilities when a recruiter is actually looking for accomplishments. Quantifiable achievements are the most impressive – “Increased store sales by 10%” is a definite eye-catcher as compared to “Worked on increasing store sales”. Another tip in this regard is to always start your accomplishment with an action verb that explains how exactly you performed your duty. E.g. verbs such as Identified, Examined, Enhanced, Pioneered, etc, are powerful resume words.
Tip 7: Use Extra Information Intelligently
Should your resume talk about hobbies, or references, or even sports activities? Extra information is generally not valued unless it helps you bring forth a new dimension. If you led your college to victory in university football finals, it is worth highlighting as it talks about your leadership skills. Similarly, if you have a creative hobby, you may want to mention that if you are applying to a job requiring creativity. However, ensure that the extra information does indeed showcase some relevant value.
So are you now ready to roll? Remember, resume writing is a work in progress, so get started today!
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