Resume is typically the first necessary component of your career dream run. A powerful resume not only stands you a significantly better chance to get your dream job but also maintain that impression edge even during the job.
There are hundreds of books and blogs on preparing effective resumes. There are tonnes of information available on this topic. My objective is to present to you some of the more critical tips that can help you create that million dollar resume.
I have been involved in resume development as well as scrutiny for more than a decade now. I must have reviewed tens of thousands of resumes and have been involved in recruitment of thousands in my professional career.
Sometimes the impact of a powerful resume can indeed be so powerful that it overrides all other phases of recruitment – interview, due-diligence and even eligibility criteria. I once developed a resume for a bureaucrat that got him a very high placed job circumventing certain government norms. Not that it was deliberate, but just that no one bothered to do the necessary due-diligence once the fit was evident from resume. Of course, there would have been other factors, but by his own admission, the selection was made the moment the ministry saw the resume. Its a different matter that it landed the gentleman in problems later when some detractors threatened with legal actions to score political points. But thats a different story altogether.
The key point is that a smartly crafted resume can definitely turn the tides. The only request is that once you know the secrets of making a powerful resume, do not misuse it to turn the tides wrongly.
Also note that while the above was an extreme example, the real trick lies in preparing a resume that integrates well with your real persona during the interview phase. The worst thing to happen to you is when it becomes evident that someone else made your resume or that you copy-pasted from some other source.
So here is the first basic tip of resume-writing:
Be Original and Be Honest
Believe me, I have not seen the power of honesty more evident in any other field than in recruitment process. When your resume and interview depict consistently the same confident person with high integrity, that synergy is so powerful that it easily overrides all other lacunae that your profile may have.
There are other benefits of having high integrity as well, but let us focus on resume-building right now.
I have myself been guilty of preparing certain resumes for some closed ones that sailed them through the interview process as well into high placed jobs (We shall discuss art of successful interviewing sometime later) through an unfair advantage. But despite that, the crux of my experience in professional field is that the benefits of being original and honest far more outweigh any short term gains you may make otherwise. So if you want to be truly unleash the legend within, never ever deviate from this golden tip: Be Original and Be Honest.
The key principle of resume writing
This is obvious but often overlooked. If you can keep this point in mind consistently while building and evaluating your resume, you need not even read rest of the stuff. Because they simply build upon this basic principle: “Resume is your advertisement.”
Resume is not a legal document, it is not a contract, it is not answer to any question, it is not a statement of facts. It is an advertisement in a document format.
Most resumes I have come across ignore this most basic principle. Some even have a statement of approval: I hereby state that all information in this resume is true to best of my knowledge…blah blah blah with a signature.
Unless such a predefined format is mandatory for a given job, this is simply waste of time, ink and reduces your success probability.
Other resumes would have a section on Personal Details – Name of Father, Mother, Address, Village, Gender etc. These may be good for a biodata for marriage, but is otherwise junk. Unless mandatory, remove all this from your resume. Address should be put in Header or Footer. Gender is unnecessary.
Age/ Date of Birth can be provided when asked later. We shall discuss it all later in the book.
The advertisement approach does not mean that you create a full-page ad with your photo in a pose, and your name in Word Art. That may work fine for celebrities and creative fields, I am not sure. Or when your next movie is being released. But for those aspiring for more sensible jobs, it has to be subtle advertisement. An advertisement that portrays you as trustworthy, thorough, dynamic, elegant, team worker and above all a professional.
So stay away from loud-mouthed advertisements unless that is what your personality truly reflects. The focus of this book however would be more conventional job roles for 99.99% of us.
(However, do note that I have observed people creating most unconventional resumes and being successful with them even in conventional job roles. They represent mastery of the art of resume writing. In martial arts, once you reach the masters level, the previously learnt rules are no more applicable for you. You move beyond the rules. However, the focus of this book is on those who are yet to become masters. For them, these tips would perhaps be useful in reaching the level of masters.)