There are many mysteries and age-old problems that you can’t wrap your head around:
Is there life after death?
Does an alternate universe exist?
What makes a great resume?
Well, you are probably here at this blog because you want to know the answer to the last question.
This is a question that many people (myself included) ponder about.
Having reviewed, edited and designed dozens of resumes, I do know a thing or two about great resume designs.
Distilling lessons from all my experience, here are 3 key elements that I believe differentiate an exceptional resume from the average one.
1. Length: When More Is Not Always Merrier
Remember the last time you read a book about a stranger you were not really interested in?..
..Well, neither do I!
Potential employers are not interested in reading a book about your life.
Your resume is not an autobiography, so there is no need to list every single achievement you have.
This will only leave the employer much less convinced and much more confused.
The reader only wants to succinctly and easily understand your achievements till date, decide quickly whether you are a good fit and whether to call you down for an interview.
Excessively long resumes simply make it hard for the reader to focus and evaluate your skills properly.
So, try to keep your resume to only 1-2 pages.
If your resume is really too long, try to think from the perspective of a potential employer:
Is all the information provided helpful for you to make a decision? Are there unnecessary parts that you would simply be uninterested in?
This will help you better decide what to keep, and what to remove.
2. Organisation: Prioritize and Personalize
Resumes are very much like our life stories:
They are unique to each and every one of us. There is no one-size-fits-all formula.
Resume designs and their content depend very much on each individual’s industry, stage of his/her career, and other factors.
Here are two examples:
Imagine if you were Tom, a 24 year old recent graduate.
Your resume will be focused more on the internships and committees you have been a part of, highlighting the lessons you have learnt and your eagerness to learn and contribute to the new company.
A larger focus will also be put on the educational institution you have graduated from, and academic qualifications.
Now imagine yourself as Chris, a 40 year old mid-career professional.
Your resume will now be focused on your contributions and leadership to the company, and the many impressive achievements he had done for the company.
The resume will also highlight your certifications and professional achievements/awards received.
More importantly, there should also be a logical flow to your resume. It should not make the reader have to jump back and forth to pick up clues and hints to understand your story.
So, think about where you are at in your own career trajectory.
Consider your skills and experiences, and craft your own personal story around it.
3. Design: The Subtle Agent of Success
A good first impression is half the battle won.
Great resume designs also indicate effort and sincerity in trying to secure the interview and eventually the job.
Think about it: Would you dress in a singlet and slippers to an interview?
Probably not, right?
So, why would you dress your resume shabbily?
Without a well-designed resume, how are you going to score the interview in the first place?
Do not underestimate the importance of good resume designs.
The resume design is crucial, as it can complement the good organisation and content you have put forth.
But this does not mean that it needs to be flashy and overly creative.
Resume designs can be effective and look professional at the same time.
While we may find ourselves being deceivingly familiar with resumes, familiarity doesn’t always equate to proficiency.
Now that you have found out about these simple yet often overlooked parts of a resume, have a look at your own resume!
Does it meet these 3 basic criteria?
If not, consider using some resume tips to improve your resume!
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