Here are a few tips to ensure you always stay on top of a pile of resumes.
Before we go any further, remember that the purpose of a CV is to speak for you in your absence. There are thousands of CVs that interviewers and HR people get. What makes yours stand out?
The golden rule for CV-writing is: Make sure it conveys everything you want it to. Don’t say ‘I’ll clarify it in the interview if he asks’.
Remember that a badly-worded CV may ensure that you never even get called for that interview. Here are a few tips that will help you out make the existing CV better and, more effective. (If you have no activities or poor percentages, we suggest you work towards that first!)
TIP 1: A lot of us make the mistake of very plainly stating our work experience and activities. Innumerable CVs have things in the following fashion:
Cognizant Technologies Pvt Ltd
* Worked as a software engineer
* Used Java and J2EE
* Was a member of the literary committee at college
* Was a member of organising committee, Winds 2012, College fest
While this is passable, it does not make your CV stand out. Everyone was a software engineer, and everyone helped organise a college fest. What did you do to make it stand out? What was your contribution? Yes, you might have been in-charge of everything from coupon sales to logistics, but does your CV convey that? Remember, you are not there to clarify to the person doing short listing that you did all this. To him, all you did might have been serving drinks to participants and sticking posters.
So, what can you do? Simple. Follow this formula:
(verb/header) + (something you did) + (outcome of what you did)
Verb/header = organised, headed, was responsible for, as a member of, etc
Something you did = this should explain what you organised, headed, etc.
Outcome = it would be excellent if you included this.
* As a member of the literary committee at GECT, was responsible for bringing out ‘Reflections’, a quarterly student magazine
* As an organising member of Winds 2006, the college fest of GECT, was responsible for marketing, which led to sponsorship worth 1.6 lakh
Remember, if you can mention outcome, that will always catch the short listers’ eye, because he now knows what your specific contribution was. Compare these two and you will know what I mean:
* Was a software test engineer for the client’s website
* Was responsible for quality control and testing for the client’s website, which led to reduction of errors by 75%
TIP 2: Always format your CV well. Put 2 decimal places in your education column figures. Keep you CGPAs as 3.31/4.00 and your percentages as 76.30% or 90.64%. Capitalise the first letter of each sentence, and ALWAYS write in the third person. Do NOT, under any circumstance, mention ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘my’ or ‘we’. Do not capitalise unnecessary words in the middle of the sentence. Many of us fall into that trap!
TIP 3: Some information is needed, some are not. Birthdays are not needed, since your interviewer is unlikely to send you a birthday card, and you give him the added headache of calculating your age. Mention your age; that will do. Always provide a working e-mail address, preferably a professional-sounding Gmail or Hotmail ID. Do not use your current employers’ e-mail address or college ID, since those are temporary e-mails and might even get filtered. Use a professional e-mail like email@example.com rather than something like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re applying for a job, which is relevant to the course you studied in college, mention around 5-6 subjects studied. If you’re a mechanical engineer applying for a post at L&T, mention you studied Fluid Dynamics, Heat Transfer Operations, Engineering Drawing, etc. If you’re an MBA applying for a marketing post, mention you studied Consumer Behaviour, Brand Management, Sales and Distribution, etc.
TIP 4: For your prior work experience, mention the dates and whether it was a full-time employment or an internship. State your job responsibilities in the format mentioned in Tip 1. Mention your projects and theses, if any.
TIP 5: Now you may have many achievements and extra currics, but your short lister might not have time to go through each and everyone. What do you? Bold the important words in each line, so that the reader gets a faint idea by just glancing through it. Believe me, this is an extremely powerful tool. Bold the committee name, or the prize won, or the event, etc.
TIP 6: Lastly, it’s always better to mention on your CV only something that you have physical proof of. If you were on the editorial board at college, get a hard copy of a book with your name on it, or a letter from a college professor. If you won an event, have the certificate ready. If your article was published in a paper, have a clipping ready. It’s important to give only the truth. Exaggeration can be done, but in limits. Never, under any circumstance, lie. Interviewers are smart, and can make out when you are being genuine and when you are making things up. Be ready to be able to justify anything and everything on your CV, right from your education to your languages known
Good luck! Crack that interview!