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Remember the adage “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”?  This is the most fitting maxim for the concept of resumes.

Your resume is the first impression that your prospective employer gets of you, so having a “decent” or a “good enough” resume won’t get you that coveted interview call.

Economists all over the world have predicted that 2017 is going to have the best job market in years. While it is great news as far as employment rates are concerned, it also means increased

Competition for job-seekers.

To make things worse, research has shown that an average recruiter spends just 6 seconds scanning a single resume.

Hence more than ever your resume needs to be streamlined and optimized such that it meets the expectations of the recruiter and can present the highlights of your profile in the precious seconds time frame you have.

Get the Job You Actually Want-An Ultimate Guide on Resume Writing

Confused how to start?

Check out this infographic on 23 tips to create the perfect resume of 2017 which will help you in landing your dream job!

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To help you out further, here is the breakdown of all things that you should do to go about creating an unbeatable resume:

  1. Clean and Refined Format:
  • Your resume should fit on a page. Employers don’t have the time or patience to go through the lengthy content. A 2-page resume is justified only for people with more than 10 years of work-experience.
  • Don’t over-complicate it with by using watermarks, designs, and graphics on it. Keep it clean and refined.
  1. Readability Matters:
  • Use standard fonts such as Calibri, Garamond, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, and Helvetica. These fonts are legible and will give a fluid look to your resume.
  • Don’t play around with multiple fonts, stick to a standard font throughout the document.
  1. How to effectively use bullet points:
  • The purpose of a Bullet point is to make the data easily skimmable and give an idea of the impact that you created through your work.
  • Aim to keep your bullets 1-2 points long, also do not add more than 4-5 bullets per job.
  1. Quantify your achievements:
  • You can optimize your bullet points by mentioning facts and quantifiable achievements.
  • Employers do not like reading vague responsibilities like “Part of XYZ marketing project”, instead you can talk about your undertaken responsibilities and outcomes that you achieved in that job-role.

For example, compare

  • Statement 1: Responsible for making a marketing plan for a new product and successfully launching it in the market.
  • Statement 2: Developed strategic marketing plan to introduce the product into international and domestic markets, launch exceeded forecasts by 17%.

5. Stick to value generating content

In order create a one-page resume, you need to know which data adds direct value to your resume and omit all the additional information.Here are some of the data that you can skip:

Here are some of the data that you can skip:

  1. Objective: Once a popular section in resumes and cover letters, the “objective” or “mission statement” has become obsolete in the current market. It is more of a generalized statement which ends up looking ambiguous on the resume.
  2. References: A resume is definitely not the correct place to provide an extensive list of references. You can easily attach it in a separate document.
  3. Experiences Irrelevant to your job profile: If you are applying for a business analytics profile, adding your 6-month stint as a musician will serve no purpose.

If you have achieved something substantial during that period, you can add it in the extra-curricular section.

6. The “So-What” Test

  • In case you are confused if whether or not to add a particular responsibility to the list, ask yourself ‘So what?’ to check whether the point highlights your capability.

Example

  • Before: Helped new trainees with learning company procedures.
  • After: Conducted training program for new trainees, which decreased average ramp-up time by 12%. The program has run in three offices for past two years.

7. Action Words to Attract Attention

  • Think of skimming through a resume and coming across word such as “Was, Did, and Made”, as opposed to “Managed, Spearheaded and Created” and you will see the difference.
  • Additionally, a lot of companies use automated scanning software’s which specifically look for Action words.
  • Pro-Tip: Avoid using vague terms like – Team player, Hard worker, Detail oriented, Thinks outside the box, etc.

Example

  • Before: Responsible for inventory control and ordering products.
  • After: Optimized inventory by monitoring product shortages & ensuring efficient service usage.

6. Resume Language

  • Do not use fancy words and technical jargons. Your resume will be going through the hands of several people right from the HR to the project manager and the content has to be understandable for everyone.
  • Voice: Avoid passive language as much as possible. Using the passive voice gives an impression that the subject is acted upon by something else.

Write the resume using active voice. It will add ownership to all the accomplishments that you have listed.

  • Tense: When talking about earlier Jobs and responsibilities held; always refer to them in the past tense.  When talking about your present job and responsibilities; use the present tense

7. Online Certifications

  • Online certifications are a great resource to present yourself as a competitive job candidate.
  • It shows that you have a thirst for knowledge and are ready to pursue it after regular hours., which is a positive mark against your application.

Example: You can find a host on MOOCs on EDx, Coursera, Harvard Open Courses

8. Interests, Volunteering, Awards

  • Tailor your interests section according to your job profile.

If your job requires you to be an outgoing and good team player, mentioning that you played Basketball at State-level is a good option.  Knitting, binge watching sitcoms, playing chess etc. is not.

  • Also, be sure to include any Volunteering activities or Awards (Workplace or otherwise) in your resume. Most companies look favorably upon employees who contribute in a positive way to the surrounding community and/or are overachievers.
  • Languages spoken can be an interesting thing to mention here.

Pro-Tip: Use the standard terms of proficiency such as ‘native’, ‘basic’, ‘fluent’,’intermediate’ or otherwise to describe how well you speak the languages listed on your resume.

Author Bio: Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control.  His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online start up for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients.

He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company.

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