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How to Write A Solid Resume

The pandemic sent many professionals and jobseekers into an array of chaos. The news about employees being laid off and businesses closing down have been left and right. The unemployment rate has seen an increase in numbers over the past 2 years and no one has a clear indication of when the economy is slated to recover. Nurses, doctors, policemen and firefighters among others were not given the Work From Home (WFH), so not everyone. A big shift for a lot of employees at the beginning of this pandemic was the transition from working in the office to working from home – a rather big adjustment for most especially when not a lot of professionals are used to such a setup.

For those who were retrenched or made a decision to switch careers during the pandemic, they are in need to update their resumes for their next job venture. It should consist of one’s education history, past experiences and showcase their skillsets. How exactly does someone draw up a resume from scratch and stand out amongst peers especially since the introduction of the Application Tracking System?

Here are some ways to amp up your resume:

  1. Be honest in the resume. It is not cool to list a job one hasn’t worked at or exaggerate about an achievement. It can only hurt the candidate’s chances or put them in an awkward position with the interviewer if they are found out. Recruiters will appreciate an applicant with a little less experience rather than one that lies.
  2. Make sure to create a professional email address that states the candidate’s name. It is not becoming of someone looking to embark on a new career, display an email address that sounds like it was created in secondary school.
  3. Keep it short and sweet. The temptation to write everything a candidate has accomplished may be strong but it is important to reign it in and keep the resume to one or two pages short depending on how many years they have been working. If the candidate is fresh out of school, there should be no reason their resume runs longer than a page.
  4. Keep the resume relevant and leave out unnecessary information. If an individual is applying for a job in the marine sector, maybe their time bartending during the school holidays can be omitted.
  5. When listing out a candidate’s previous experience, focus on what has been achieved during the time in the role rather than listing out the job description. It gives recruiters a better understanding of their employment with the company.
  6. Provide data on the resume. For example, if they are in the sales industry, it would be remiss of the candidate not to include points like how many leads they have brought into the company and their sales conversion rate or even the monthly dollar value of the sales revenue. Using figures to justify the work, gives recruiters a more impressive picture of what the candidate has accomplished in their previous role.
  7. Be upfront if there are any gaps in the resume as recruiters will most likely want to know about it. If time off was taken to travel or were unable to find a job for some time, be sure to share that information readily. There is no need to go into detail about it but it does help to be forthcoming.
  8. With the Personal Data Protection Act now in place, job seekers do not need to divulge personal information such as their NRIC or passport details. Race, religion, personal interests, or marital status is also unnecessary as recruiters should be looking at candidates’ merits rather than personal information which has nothing to do with how adequate they are for the position.
  9. The design of the resume should be kept simple using a basic format. Bullet points, lists, and a 10-12 size font should be sufficient to get the point across. Anything other than that may prove hard to read for the recruiter and frustrate them.
  10. Lastly, a candidate must ensure looking through their resume with a fine-toothed comb. Look out for grammatical errors, punctuation, and sentence structures. The best way forward is to keep sentences short so mistakes are easy to spot and correct.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Look out for keywords in job postings especially in the Qualifications and Requirements section. A candidate may choose to add these keywords to your resume providing they have the required skills. This might enhance the chances of getting their resume picked up by a recruiter if the right skills apply.
  2. Research past resumes for a candidate’s desired industry. While they should not be copying another individual’s resume, it will be savvy of them to take a look at how others craft their resume for inspiration.
  3. Use powerful words that make an impact like “achieved, accomplished, and earned.” They help to shorten a long sentence but pack in that additional punch. By using active words, one’s resume will read more positively.

To get started on a resume, they will need to choose a format to work with. There are various types of formats such as reverse-chronological, which is the most familiar type of resume to recruiters, albeit the least creative.

The combination format is most suited to experienced and mid-career professionals and is usually not recommended for entry-level job seekers. The final type of resume format is functional. This type of format caters to skill-based workers who lack experience.

A candidate can input contact information into your resume detailing their first and last name, phone number, email address, and linkedIn URL while a home address is optional.

As recruiters usually take approximately 7 seconds to scan a resume, provide a little taster by adding a summary or objective section to sum up the candidacy effectively without it being too lengthy.

Next comes the most crucial component of the resume where a candidate lists relevant work experience as well as key achievements. This should generally include:

  • Job Title
  • Company and location
  • Employment dates
  • Relevant responsibilities
  • Achievements
  • Keywords

Companies these days are looking to digitise the hiring process by using the Applicant Tracking System. No one resume fits many roles or companies, that is why it is encouraged to tailor their resumes by sprinkling keywords of the job description for the ATS to pick up.

Candidates should also add a list of soft and hard skills and don’t forget to include a cover letter!

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