A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is the most effective marketing tool to promote yourself. Do you notice that I use the word “promote” not “represent”? Because its purpose is to catch the attention from whoever read it and will be willing to meet you. An excellent resume can lead you to the door step of your dream job; however, a bad one can make you like a pearl sunk on the bottom of the ocean – valuable, peaceful, yet, unnoticeable. So, how to write a good resume? Here are my tips for you:
1. Build up your “Master Resume”
Regardless you are a new grad, or an experience professional, document every single task you have performed in detail, and group them with related skills. For example, skills related how to use computer applications, experience in system configurations, accounting skills like performing bank reconciliations and preparing periodic financial reports should be segregated by your employment history and the tactic. When there is an opening, say, Senior Financial Analyst, requires at least five years of computer and financial skills, your resume should have each of these skills listed in every of your employment. This demonstrate when and where you last performed the tasks.
Over time, your master resume grows longer and longer, so does your competencies. When you notice an interesting position comes up, you pick and choose the most relevant tasks you have performed, organize them into one presentable resume, and send your application.
2. One size does NOT fit all
Many of you asked, what is the ideal resume’s length? The answer is, it depends. It depends on the position you apply, it depends on the nature of the sector, and it depends on the corporate culture. While there is no perfect answer, my suggestion to you: Check the job posting and apply your best professional judgement. You don’t send a four-page resume to apply for a job posting has only five requirements. Likewise, you can’t send a two pager to apply a position that has over 1,000 word counts “mandatory requirements”; it is simply wasting everyone’s time.
Generally, the private sector prefers short and simple resumes, whereas the public sector prefers detailed ones with solid examples to prove where, when and for how long of the required skills you have built and performed. For the corporate culture, there is no shortcut to tackle it, however, you can Google the reviews from current or former employees. Trust me, you will appreciate yourself when you did it.
Do not send out the same resume over and over to multiple vacancies. A job posting takes a while to develop, you need to show your respect to that. Everyone loves the “custom-made” idea, you need to make the hiring manager happy to get into the door.
3. Presentation, presentation, presentation
A cliché: “Your resume should look professional and error free.” However, it is just the minimum requirement. You need to consider your audience – your future employer. You need to read between the lines. What kind of candidate are they looking for? Not merely the must-to-have qualifications, also what challenges are they facing. Do they need someone who can hit the ground and run right away? Or there will be training provided? Do they need a Finance Director who also has a business view? See what I mean? You need to put these solutions in your resume, and I bet you, your application will stand out in the crowd.
Looking for a job is a full-time job. It takes much resilience and persistence. Remember, your resume is designed to win a permanent contract, quite frankly, a multiple- year contract with tens of thousands of dollars. How can you not take it seriously? As mentioned earlier, your resume is your marketing tool, and your responsibility is to let it shine. It’s a similar idea as an insurance policy, it needs to catch the client’s attention before the sales associate talk the client into it. You need to let anyone who reads your resume have the same conclusion: “Let’s call this candidate to meet up.”
This is an intro section of Tips of Writing an Impressive Resume series. I will put more on the CCPAA’s website and hopefully, they can be beneficial to all of you. Please share your thoughts, questions and ideas with me.