First Impressions

Instead of following the logical order of the Sign-on and surviving the first few months at work, I am stepping back a bit to reflect on First Impressions.

Your Resume.

These days candidates are starved for choice so far as crafting resumes are concerned. Besides websites like about.com, e-resume.net, the resume builder, etc..and jobsites including monster.com and naukri.com, there are even firms that offer specialized resume writing services, for a fee of course. But that’s another post.

You don’t need to spend a few thousands or even a few hundreds to write a good resume. All you need is to set aside some time, do a SWOT analysis and understand what your key skillsets, your saleability and unique features are.

After all, in the job market you are a product that needs to be showcased the best way possible so you get a good buyer.

Crude though this may sound, that is the truth. Unless you plan to be an entrepreneur every jobseeker is on the receiving end.

I will not get into details here since there are plenty of online resources available. But here are a few quick tips to help you spruce up your resume and weed out unwanted blosh.

  • In case of a CV, a curriculum vitae=resume, it is never a good idea to go with “More the merrier.” Do not get into details like the school you passed out from, your undergraduate studies, the color of your eyes, personal stats or your personal interests
  • KISS works best here. Keep it Simple Stupido. No jargon and catch phrases which will make HR tear out their hair in frustration, roll their eyes and reach out for that cumbersome dictionary to swat you with when they meet you..if you get to that stage that is 🙂
  • Remember, a CV for a greenhorn will obviously be different from that of an experienced professional. But the basics remain the same. Highlight your skills, professional experience, relevant educational experience, extra curricular activities and language skills (even if this means you are proficient in English and your native tongue (not using mother tongue here since it would go against my gender neutrality policy 😉 ) and passably conversant in a foreign language)
  • A summary statement works better than stating an objective since there is more room to play around with. You could use the summary statement to underline your winning attributes and what your career goal or professional vision is
  • Keep your format simple without clutter. That means no fancy fonts and formats. Try to minimize usage of Italics.
  • Keep a master template of your CV so you can customize your CV to different jobs that you apply for. So for instance, if you are from the hospitality sector and are looking to move into sales you could draw attention to your sales skills – probably selling bakery products during your college’s annual festival, being F&B manager who had to entice customers to try new items on the menu, etc.
  • Before embarking on customizing your CV it is always a good idea to read the job description and understand the profile and requirements
  • You can use some of the phrases used in the JD as part of your CV. Always make impact words part of your resume. Instead of “a good team player” use “an innovative team player good at adhering to deadlines.” This goes to show that you are not only good when it comes to collaboration but come up with novel strategies and drive the team to deliver before or on the deadline
  • And finally, a spell check pease. After all this hard work you do not want the recruiter cast aside your resume due to dumb spell eror!!

Get some one to proof your resume. A second pair of eyes will probably spot something you missed and even help you Market yourself better

Sadly, while a lot of people do pay attention to the quality of the CV, they do not pay as much attention to the covering letter.

In fact, it seems a covering letter is almost redundant these days. A covering letter does not have to repeat what is there in the CV but it can serve as a teaser to the real stuff. A well written covering letter will have a recruiter want to check out your resume.

A covering letter should not go beyond three paragraphs. It should not be a case history of your career. Just state in a few simple well-chosen words why you have decided to apply for the job and why you think you would be ideal or perfect for the job advertised.

All the best  😀

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