Published 22 June, 2020

5 Steps to an Effective Resume (4 min read)

The 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson was asked how much time will he take to prepare a speech, his response was “It depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”

Your Resume is more like President Wilson having 10 mins to speak. In fact in your case you actually have 30 seconds at best, that is the maximum time a recruiter spends to view a resume. In case the top half of the first page doesn’t resonate with the recruiter, it gets junked. We know that hurts and you have all the justifications in the world why two pages are too less for you to do justice to your profile. But reality is “People Don’t Have The Attention Span”. So, no matter how passionate you are about writing about your illustrious career and your passions in life. Chances are that it would only be you, who would read your entire resume. Don’t make it a PhD thesis, which generally is read by only 2 people i.e. the PhD student and the Professor.

Here are 5 things you need to do while building your Resume

1.    Don’t outsource the task

No matter how senior you are as a professional, find the time to do this on your own. One of the CEOs once delegated his Resume building to his Personal Assistant and what he got was “Cream on Cow dung”, a pretty looking resume with great formats and fonts but no real meat in terms of content.

If at all you choose to outsource this activity, engage someone who would spend an hour or two with you to understand your profile and then gives you some pointers and guidelines which you should use to build your resume. Avoid the providers who claim to be resume writers, they will just give you pretty looking junk which won’t enable you to get more shortlists. There is no way you can delegate this fully and get the desired output. So, lock yourself in a room for 3-4 hours and work on this on your own.

2.    In reality-One page is all you got

The 2nd page of your resume would hardly be read. So pack in all the good stuff in the first page itself.

Compare this page to a 400 sq ft office at Mumbai’s Nariman Point or New York’s Wall Street. If you have only 400 sq ft to play with, how would you design the office. What would be the items you would keep? How would be design of the office? I am sure you would make sure that whoever steps into your office understands what business your company does. The reception would have a board or an LED screen talking about your company. You wouldn’t want the prospective customer ask 5 people in your office about your business and finally find out about it after crossing 10 aisles and 3 conference rooms.

The message is, looking at your resume people should understand your expertise and key skills. It should be right up there rather than somewhere at the bottom, where most recruiters would never look. The first half of the first page needs to have all the stuff that tells the recruiter about your skills and competencies.

3.  Start with a Summary

Best way to make sure your skills are clearly understood is to have a crisp summary. Ideally, it should not be more than 3 sentences and should tell the reader exactly who you are. Also “Avoid Jargons”, recruiters won’t get it 9 out of 10 times.

4.    Flaunt your pedigree but Don’t Project Yourself to be one of the Avengers !

Below is a quote from a real Resume.

Top B-School Graduate with 10+ years of experience in Sales, Marketing, Operations & Consulting. Proven leadership skills having led large multi geography teams of up to 100 members serving clients across multiple industry verticals like Oil & Gas, Retail, FMCG and Automotive.

What do you think are the chances of this guy getting a shortlist ? The person seems to be Superman’s neighbour from Crypton 😊.

We know you got the message but still stating the obvious- Say the truth about who you are and what your core expertise are. Specific to this example, with 10 years of experience you cant be an expert in 4 areas. At best your expertise would be limited to two of them.

5.    Make it pretty

This is where you can outsource the work or use some useful templates. This would only be embellishments, your chances of shortlist wont essentially depend on it but hey, who doesn’t like to see stuff which is easy on the eye.

To give you something to work with, we have put up a few Resume Templates on our website, you can access them by clicking here.

That’s all we have for this one. Happy Job Hunting !

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