How To Create An Excellent Resume

Resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae) is the first and most important step in preparing for your job search. It is a sales pitch where you market yourself and the skills you have to offer. A recruiter may spend approximately 30 seconds to one minute on a Resume but it the most important step as your opportunity for employment highly depends on this first step. The Resume you build must catch the attention of recruiter with in this short period.

There is a format we follow in the US which is a little different from the one followed in the European job market.

  • Contact Information – Start your Resume with your Name, Home address, phone or mobile number, e-mail address. (Add any other contact info if you have like Fax number, Skype ID etc.)
  • Title of you Resume – Provide a title or heading to your Resume which will summarize your work in a line.
    Example: “HR Assistant with 3 years of experience in a Multi-national Company” or “A .NET developer with proven managerial skills who has been in the field for 5.5 years”.
    If you are a fresher then lean on your educational background. Example “A MBA graduate from Ohio University majored in Finance and Marketing with a GPA of 4.00”
  • Areas of expertise – Bullet mark 6-7 points in which you excel or have good experience.
  • Objective or Summary – This is where you summarize your entire professional experience along with your objective which you are looking to achieve. Sometimes if you just write your objective there is a possibility that the recruiter may simply skip it. But if you summarize your work in a paragraph, it helps the recruiter to understand what you can offer to the company as it includes your total experience and skills you possess. Example: “I’m a Java developer with 8 years of experience. I have worked in three different industries, from Oil and Gas industry, Finance sector, Marketing industry”
  • Work Experience or Professional Experience – There are two ways you can write your work experience. A) Reverse Chronological order B) Functional order.
    Chronological Order – Start off with your latest job. Mention the organization, your designation, start date and end date. If you have worked for a client through your employer, then mention your client name, client location along with the name of your organization.Then go on and briefly mention your roles and responsibilities. It will be helpful if you highlight your responsibilities, bullet mark it.
    Functional Order – In this format you focus on your skills mainly. The organization you worked for becomes a part of the content and the skills become the headline. Highlight your area of expertise or the important skills. Example – “Team Management” become the headline underneath you mention the number of teams you managed, duration or “Project Management” becomes the headline and you mention how many projects have you managed, explain the project briefly, duration, organization etc.You could also do a combination of both Chronological order format and Functional order format where you highlight your skills and then mention the organization in a reverse chronological order.
  • Education Summary – Mention the degrees you have attained in a reverse chronological order i.e. from the last one you obtained or the one you are still studying to your schooling. Mention the Course, Institution, the year you started and passed out, location of the institution, Major and minor subject (concentration).
  • Scholarships, Honors and Awards – If you have attained scholarships, honors and awards during your academic years, you could mention it here.
  • Projects or Study – If you have completed any academic projects or conducted studies that were required to complete your degree, mention it here.
  • Certifications and Workshops – If you’ve attended workshops or done a certification course, write about it briefly. Mention the institute from which you obtained the certification, its accreditation, duration of the course or workshop.
  • Volunteering or Internships – If you have any volunteering experience, you may create a section for it at this point. Include your internship experience during your academic years. Mention the name of the institution, duration, and the skills you acquired during your volunteering or internships.
  • Achievements – If you have any academic or professional achievements that you are proud of, go ahead and mention it but make it brief. Write bulleted points only.
  • Special skills – Mention your language skills or computer skills, any skill set that you have acquired apart from your academic course.
  • Personal information – This section is for your personal interests, hobbies like music, reading, cooking, sports or any extracurricular activities.

How To Create An Excellent Resume

DOs and DON’T’s

DO NOT mention your personal information like Gender, Marital status, Religious beliefs, Ethnicity, Age and the like unless it is specifically asked for or relevant to the job. In the US it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on the above mentioned points. Hence to be on the safer side and fulfill the legal obligation employers may sometimes avoid shortlisting candidates who have mentioned these in the Resume.

DO NOT attach any of your original documents unless it is asked for.

DO NOT use graphics, bold or italics.

DO NOT give false information on your CV. It may lead to legal complications and termination of your employment in the later stages which will harm your career in the future.

Be concise, brief and to the point. This will leave something to talk about in your face-to-face interview. Use font Times New Roman or Arial font. The font size must be 11.

Most important of all, be confident! All the best!
Below are some sample CVs and helpful links.

Sample CVs

A link from American University on creating a Resume

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