Points to ponder in career search Part2–Tips for resume writing
One of my previous organisations receive an average of 2 million resumes every year for a recruitment target of 23000. It maintains a ratio of 10 prospects per candidate to be recruited leading to the selection 230000 resumes out of 2millions, the rest being purged out of the database. The selection of resume cannot be random for such large volume and effort. More than 50% of rejected resumes attribute the reasons to missing information, tampered facts and obvious exaggerations. Success of getting screened for an interview depends on how effectively the resume suits the needs of the organisation.
It is an unpardonable blunder to lose an opportunity due to required information missing in the resume. Organisations need bare minimum set of essential information in the resume to initiate further processing. It encompasses details like Name, Communication address, Phone number, Date of Birth, Educational qualifications, gender etc. Lack of these information will automatically lead to rejection of the resume at the pre-screening stage itself. Verification of presence of mandatory information should be the first check point before sending the resume.
Resume should necessarily contain all the educational qualifications in specific order of time. Recently acquired certifications and passed courses will empower the resume. Such qualifications imply the inclination of the candidate to learn and indicate that the candidate is upto date in technology. In case of distinction in studies with outstanding performance, it should be clearly highlighted in the resume. Sharpening ones knowledge and adding skills is always beneficial independent of its relevance to a resume.
Organisations create a repository of resumes and categorize them based on technology, level of experience, expected salary and various other characteristics. This indexed repository will be used for any further screening. It is important for the resume to fall under the right category and right experience to ensure correct fitment. Resumes without technical terms, concepts, jargons and information on skill set will eventually get unnoticed or neglected. Recently I received a resume for SAP-PS position containing none of the terms pertaining to project systems like project, WBS, networks, planning, schedules, costs etc. Obviously it didn’t move to the second stage. A resume should contain the ruling words of the specific technology in the resume. For example a resume in SD should have the important terms like pricing, credit management, outputs, third party sales etc. Incorporating the right terms in the resume is same as including tags in content for search or feeds. If the terms are irrelevant the resume will miss the search for it and thus gets lost.
The decision to choose between integrity of character and preying for opportunity with false information should not be unclear. It is suggested not to falsify resume with unpossessed skills for obvious reasons. Bloated or faked resume can be instantaneously identified by an experienced interviewer, and even if escapes the interviewer will prove to be fake during simple background verification. Organisations have realised the benefits of performing background verification on doubtful resumes and it is no more a safe haven to up-skill the resume and get unnoticed. Legal framework in various countries considers lying as an offense leading to imprisonment. It is prudent to believe in professional ethics and adhere to strict norms of legal compliance. It is always good to wait for the right opportunity than to get one’s name spoiled and face lost because of greed.
While it is infernal to do undeserving adornments to the resume, it is essential to decorate the resume with ever-shining achievements supported by authentic documentation and verifiable through reliable sources. A well documented and doubtless list of accomplishment can make wonders to a resume and put the candidate stand-out from the mediocre crowd. Achievements can be highlighted in reverse order of chronology from the latest to the oldest as this exemplies peerless performance being sustained till the near present. Achievements can be both within and beyond the frontiers of technology and a differentiation is unnecessary.
It is important to understand that mastery over technology cannot be a substitute for poor communication skills. When technical skills seem to rule the roost, the behavioral and communication skills gain prominence and acceptance beyond certain levels of corporate career. Hence it is necessary complement the technical skills in the resume with the right set of behavioral and communication competencies. These are intangible skills easy to demonstrate and convince than to document and gain acceptance. Bestowed gift of good written communication can be exhibited by writing a resume, free of any grammatical fallacies and spelling mistakes. Style of sentence construction and choice of words used are indicators of effective written communication. A resume is an opportunity to establish the presence of this skill to the interviewer. Similarly during an interview, the poise, the glib and control over language clearly gives one the edge on verbal communication. Here are some of the methods through which these skills are demonstrated.
- Skills on additional languages learned or used
- Participation in Extempore, Elocution, essay writing competitions etc
- Participation in social forums, blogs, review sites etc
- Interests in literature, books, subjects and so on
- Participation and contribution in Community works, Social welfare activities etc
- Games played and tournaments won
The list is endless and abstract. Turning the magical want will not gift a person with all the necessary skills at a frisson of a moment. These skills are intangible and hence demonstration of these skills is expected even before, during and after interview. Hence due care should be taken while adding these skills to the resume.
This can actually be the first point but preserved carefully to be in the last area, atleast in this content. A person from hiring organisation would prefer to see the maximum information in the minimum possible time. Recruiter may have just few minutes to go through the resume before deciding to continue further or to drop. I personally prefer the first half page of first page of my resume to tabulate all my details as precise and brief as possible. This includes educational qualifications in one table which may have four records, each record having information about the course name, started period, finished period, percentage of marks or CGPA, name of institution. This is followed by another table containing start date, end date, organisation name, position handled, location of posting, and if needed a reference. The third table can similarly have additional skills like languages known, achievements accomplished etc. If such effective summarization of resume at first page is done, it provides the following information in just quarter page of a multiple page resume but ensures that interest is already elicited in the interviewer’s mind.
- Entire career history, technologies worked and domains handled
- Entire educational credentials
- Main achievements and performances
This can be followed by the detailed resume for the interviewer to go through each of these points in detail and find out the work done in every organisation.
In summary a good resume should at first sight provide the basic information required with the chronological (or reverse chronologically) glimpse of education, career, achievements. This should be followed by the detailed account of each organisation, responsibilities handled and the duration of work. Resume can be closed with ones behavioral and extra curricular competencies. Such an informative and error free resume will definitely find top the list of 230000 resumes screened among the 2 million sheets of paper.