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Monday, September 14, 2009

Tips on writing a concise resume

Nothing impresses a potential employer more than how you can say what they want to hear in the shortest time possible, and in a very easy to understand manner too. Imagine having to go through tonnes of resumes and to shortlist a handful in the hope that they are as good as they say, it can be a total nightmare. Remember that reading through resumes is only part of the job on top of countless deadlines. So if you are able to impress the reader at first point of communication, you will most likely be high on the list to get a call for an interview. Provided, of course, that you fit the job. Read on to find out some tips on how you can write a concise resume.

There are many samples of resumes that you can find either from helpful friends or even from online searches. It’s easy enough to start that way, just having to fill out whatever information from those sample resumes. However, it is also not such a bad thing to start writing your resume from scratch. It enables you to write it in the exact format that you want, and to only provide information that will truly be useful to your potential employers.

Let’s go through some categories of information that normally make up a resume.

Personal Details

In this category, you normally would provide your name in full, age, nationality, contact details, etc. All’s fine and necessary. But what I wish to highlight here are more of the “don’t do”. Here are some stuff that you should exclude and I’ll tell you why along the way.

Date of birth – If you have already provided your age, I don’t think it’s necessary to inform the reader when you were born. It’s not as if the reader wants to know your horoscope or zodiac sign from your date of birth.

Place of birth – This is also not necessary because it doesn’t tell the reader how capable you are. Don’t put this in just to add more lines to your resume. Remember that less is more.

Hobbies – I think this would be appropriate once you’ve been employed and the company requires you to fill out some forms provided by HR. The employer may want to know you better as a person but I don’t think a potential interviewer would like to know if you prefer watching TV or going for a swim.

Education Background

In this segment, it is important that you list down whatever awards you may have received, however small it may be. Nothing is too insignificant if you received recognition for it. If you don’t blow your own little trumpet, no one will do it for you. So be proud of all your achievements and flaunt it.

Don’t forget to mention other activities that you have been involved in during your school days too. These are important to show your all-roundedness. It is important for your potential employer to know your other talents on top of good grades in the classrooms.

Work Experience

If you ask me, I personally feel that it is of no harm if you list your work experience in point form rather than in long paragraphs. Of course it is useful to explain your achievements and it may build up well in a narrative way in paragraphs, but if you are able to put them in straight-forward point form, it will save your reader a lot of time. Remember that time is of the essence and the more time you save your reader to find out about you, the better.

It is also not that important to rate yourself in the area of using office softwares like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. It is a given these days that you must possess some reasonable skills in using these vital tools. So if you are not a proficient user, all the more you should not be highlighting this. If you are a genius at it, you may rate yourself perfect but then again anyone can rate themselves a 10 out of 10 and it lies with the reader whether or not to believe you. So in my opinion, this is another waste of space and effort to read. Unless you have some very niche or specific knowledge of a particular software, then it will be worth mentioning, especially if it is written up as an advantage in the recruitment advertisement.

Other Information

It is important to let your potential employer know your estimated date of availability, i.e. notice period with your current employer. This is a must to include in your resume. You may also want to indicate whether you are for or against heavy traveling so that you and your potential employer do not waste time if you have deferring stance on this. More often than not, if you are not gamed for heavy traveling, it is normally not negotiable as you probably have very strong reasons for it. So be upfront about your preference if you know that it will likely be a deal-breaker.

One other thing which is subjective is whether or not you should reveal your salaries and your expected salary with the potential employer. From my own experience, I found that not talking about salaries in the resume helps me get a foot into the office for an interview. It is only upon judgement (if I may call it that) of my performance at the interview that the interviewer will consider if I am worth the salary asked for.

I hope the above tip has helped you in fine-tuning or even write your resume from scratch. Your resume should give the best of you in the least words as possible. In other words, describe yourself well in the most concise way. Say what you need to say in the most straight-forward way and avoid beating around the bush or using too flowery language. Having said that, it is also important to be grammatically correct at all times so do watch your language closely. Check and recheck your resume for errors before sending it out.

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