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7 Steps To Resumé Perfection

Friday, July 21, 2017

/ by Nurdin Budi Mustofa
Whether you’re contemplating a career change or just looking for a new job in your existing industry, there’s one thing that you can’t afford to get wrong: your resumé.

It’s your passport to a new job, after all. It’s the first chance that an employer will have to see what you can do, what you have to offer, and how you are presenting yourself. It’s not pushing the bounds of supposition to suggest that if your resumé isn’t where it should be, you are massively harming your chances of ever even being called to interview - never mind being offered another job.

Resumés are a difficult thing to get right. Many people puzzle over them, wondering how they walk the line between selling themselves versus appearing arrogant. You’re also trying to read the mind of the person reading the resumé. What are they going to want to see? What is going to put them off? What do they consider to be necessary information, and what do they think of as being superfluous? It’s a nigh-on impossible task, but it’s one you’re going to have to go through as you contemplate looking for a new job.

Given that your resumé is something that must serve so many different purposes, how can you make it stand out as truly spectacular - and what information can you cut without fear of reprisal?

7 Steps To Resumé Perfection

Step 1: The Basics

The basics on your resumé are the essential, need-to-know information that helps to give the company you’re applying to an idea about who you are. You should always kick off the document with the following:

Your full name. Your address, including email address. Your contact telephone numbers. It’s also a good idea to specify when you can be contacted on those numbers. If you’re currently working in another job, then make sure you provide your cell number and list it as a daytime contact - you’ll just need to be able to check your messages frequently throughout the day.

With these basics dealt with, you can begin to add in more detail.

Step 2: Personal Statement

7 Steps To Resumé Perfection
Many people launch straight into their resumé details at this point, reeling off endless facts and figures about the jobs that they have done and the grades they got at school. This is useful information - and we’ll definitely get to it - but it’s not something that people want to see immediately. They need a little background on you first, which you achieve with your personal statement.

Your personal statement should be up to 100 words longer - don’t be tempted to make it any longer; remember, the company will have countless numbers of applications that they are reading. It also helps if you embolden the important points.

Here’s an example:

Thanks to 12 years experience in the field of data entry, I feel I have much to offer any roles I apply for in future. I consider myself to be a diligent employee, who always strives to perform any given task to the best of my abilities. I have a can-do attitude and always look for solutions that other people might miss. Due in no small part to my degree in English Language, I believe I have excellent attention to detail. Although appreciative of my current role, I am always looking for new challenges and experiences in my career.

So basically, you want to underline some of the things you’re good at - achievements and career history - in brief, concise detail. Remember, the exact details of the “12 years experience” and “degree in English language” will follow in the rest of the document; this is about selling the overall picture of who you are, what you can offer, and why you can offer it.

Step Three: Career History

Start this section with details for your existing job. This should include a thorough detail of what you do on a day-to-day basis and how you think it has benefited you as an employee. For example:

My Current Role: Healthcare Assistant (2013 - present day)

I current work as a Healthcare Assistant for Memorial Hospital. My daily duties involve helping patients with their daily needs, as well as filing paperwork as to the actions I have performed. I report to the Duty Manager, who relies on me to complete my tasks in an orderly fashion and without delay. I believe this role has taught me the values of patience, given me the chance to learn industry-specific software such as Healthcare Pro, as well as ensuring I can work to a deadline in a high-pressure environment.

There is relatively little benefit to just throwing the basics onto your CV. You have to explain what you have learned, the skills you have developed in that job, and how they may help you in the future.

The rest of your career history should be much along the same lines, but you don’t need to go into such detail. Feel free to omit jobs you have done that aren’t applicable to the role you’re applying for. If you’re looking to be a marketing manager, then the company don’t need to know about the summer you spent tending bar and waitressing - keep it on message!

Step Four: Education History

7 Steps To Resumé Perfection
Your education history should always be a reverse pyramid; the most important information is the part you give the most detail on. Start with the details of your highest level of education, be it a degree or a vocational qualification. It helps not only to list the name of the course, but also the topics that you covered and how you learned from them.

For example:

BA History (2003-2007)

I chose to study history due to my interest in how the past can impact current events. In the course of this study, I covered topics such as The History Of Medicine, as well as completing an in-depth analysis of the history of my home town. My final submission paper was on The Tudor Monarchs (1485-1603) and included exploration of themes involving sovereign rights and taxation. History is a study that requires intense attention to detail and which taught me to assess all information on an individual basis.

From there, you can go into detail about your other qualifications. Try and keep it specifically academic or vocational at this point; qualifications obtained in traditional methods of study, be it a school or a college.

Step Five: Additional Qualifications

This is the section for any additional qualifications. This could be anything from a coding course you completed or details of your CPR Certification. These might not be particularly pertinent to the job that you’re applying for, but they help to flesh out your resumé and provide a more rounded picture of you individually.

If you don’t currently hold any qualifications that you can enter into this section, then it’s well worth looking for online courses that can give you something. Employers like to see that potential hires are interested people, who engage in learning and improving their world view.

Step Six: Skills

This is where you can show off about the things that you know and the achievements you have enjoyed in the past. It should look something like this:

  • Holder of a Full Driving Licence since 2003
  • Proficient with content management systems such as Wordpress and Blogger
  • Typing speed of approximately 75 words per minute.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of the entire Microsoft Office suite of applications.

Unlike the rest of the document, you’re going to want to keep these simple and brief. It’s a snapshot of the things you can do outside of your specific work environment; again, it’s all about rounding out the picture of who you are and where your strengths lie.

Step Seven: Proofreading

7 Steps To Resumé Perfection
Finally, go through your entire resumé and proofread it. Then proofread it again. Then set it down for 24 hours and - you’ve guessed it - proofread it one more time. Making basic mistakes of spelling and grammar on your resumé is not going to endear you to an employer. Depending on how fastidious they are, it might be enough to see you dismissed entirely - no matter how good your qualifications or experience are. That’s because if you leave such errors in place for such an important document, they will naturally conclude that you have a haphazard focus on details in the rest of your life - and haphazard is not a character trait that anyone wants to employ!

In Conclusion

While there’s no doubt that completing your resumé is a difficult task, it doesn’t need to be an impossible one. Just work through the steps and then check, check, and check again. If you apply yourself to this and ensure you’re providing thorough information without being either too brief or too wide, then you should have a document that you can be proud of.

Remember: it’s always a good idea to tailor your resumé a little to the job requirement. If they have emphasized a need for an upbeat personality in the job ad, you should add in a sentence that shows you comply with this. A good basic resumé that you can then add to as needed is the key to job hunting success.

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