Whether you are a fresh graduate seeking your very first job, or a seasoned (weary?) corporate raider in search of the quasi-mythical “better career prospect” , it’s worthwhile to put into as much effort as you can into building your resume because it is the instrument that will determine the type and quantity of bread you’ll be able to put on your table, and whether you can have caviar (or other indulgences) with that bread.
What I mean is, your resume will determine whether you’ll get your coveted dream job or end up with a job that will just enable you to “get-by” (and probably one that nobody wants, which is how you got it in the first place. It’s not about you, but the way you represent yourself in your resume and subsequent interviews, and this is what I’ll be advising you vide this post).
Trust me, it is harder for the veteran to squeeze in twenty years’ worth of accomplishments in 2-3 pieces of A4 than it is for the freshie to state his potential contributions to a bemused prospective employer. Whatever it is, the one thing and only one thing you need to remember when crafting or updating your resume is: YOUR RESUME IS ABOUT YOU.
And just about you and no one but you. It precedes you in your job application. Unless you are already well-acquainted by the prospective employer, this prospective employer does not know you or what you can do, so your resume must be the best representation of you, whether you choose the conventional resume type or the more creative video resume or social media resume or power-point resume. Whatever the format, the underlying principle is YOUR RESUME IS ABOUT YOU.
I am not going to embark on the ways and means of crafting an impactful resume. If you’re worth your salt as a jobseeker you should be able to Google that yourself. Hundreds of others have theorised about what they think make up an effective resume, mostly from their own experience at the receiving end. Read their views, they will give you an idea of where to start in putting my assertion to practice, which is YOUR RESUME IS ABOUT YOU.
My point is to stress to you that since YOUR RESUME IS ABOUT YOU, you should not misrepresent yourself or deviate attention of the reader of your resume to other things beside you.
Your resume does not begin with your resume, you know. It begins with your email address. If your email address is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org , this is the end of your resume. To begin your resume instead of murdering it “in utero“, please create another email account that is more professional-sounding. The best bet would be to use your real name or a variation of your real name.
You think the question of an email address is trivial? Well it is not. First of all it is the first thing that appears in the employer’s mailbox when you apply for a job with the employer BEFORE they even get to your resume. Getting a mail from a “teddyluv” does NOT impress. Cuteness is NOT for the workplace. A workplace is where you are paid for serving your employer, not for you to expect mollycoddling. And that kill_da_dog email address? There are more animal lovers out there than you think.
Well you may beg to differ but this is the frank situation of a master-servant relationship. If you do not convey the valuable first impression that you CAN do the job PROFESSIONALLY and INDEPENDENTLY, you will not get the job. It’s that simple. This is what I mean by not misrepresenting yourself. You know you can do the job, I know too (well I assume good of everyone), but the employer may not. Save yourself the disappointment, it’s free email after all.
Next, tell employers bluntly what you can do. Bluntly and directly. No flowers. No wishy-washy. No vague, ambiguous terms. Selling yourself is harder than selling ice to an Eskimo so if you can sell yourself you can sell ice to an Eskimo. OK put the Eskimo away, he is not important now. The important thing is you must not be afraid to sell yourself in your resume. I know it is easy for those who are already in sales (not because of the pun but because you can quantify your achievements) or if you have testimonials to prove your accomplishments. But what if you have the following:
- Gaps in your career history
- You were sacked from a job
- You have not made any significant contribution in any of your jobs (perhaps because you didn’t stay long enough)
- You are fresh and have no prior experience for the job
Then, the only way to retain the attention of your resume reader and to convince him/her to hire you is by accentuating how you can contribute to the company. What they can gain from hiring you. Tell them why they should hire you over the rest. Don’t be shy. Sell yourself articulately and honestly. Be frank with them about your skills. How you highlight your capabilities should dominate the rest of your resume and put any weakness or flaws you have into insignificance. But two things: don’t lie, and don’t boast. Keep it real. Everyone has virtues: think about yours before crafting your resume.
Lastly (by saying “lastly” I am not indicating that my three points here are exhaustive), do not colour your resume, whether font or formatting, and do not embellish it with frames or elaborate page numbering. Please. First of all it is distracting, looks like a takeaway menu and is totally unnecessary. I know some people do it, and I also know some people do it well so that the resume does not look like a takeaway menu. The question is, are you expert enough to pull it off? Otherwise, play safe, stick to black font on plain white background.
For a more personalised approach to building your resume, attend any of my workshops (announcements will be made vide this website). Every resume is just as unique as its owner, but, what unites the diversity is: YOUR RESUME IS ABOUT YOU, so let it speak wisely for you. The care and effort you make towards your resume is obvious to the prospective employer and very much appreciated too.
All the best in your job search.