The most essential tool when making any job application is your resume. It is often times referred to as the CV. The resume is a major determinant of whether you get that job you are applying for. The resume presentation gives the potential employer the first impression of you even before they read the details in it. You might be missing out on many job opportunities you apply for not because you are not qualified but because your resume presentation is very unpleasant. It is therefore essential that you take your time while composing your resume to give it the best shot. Make sure you proofread to rid it of all grammatical and punctuation errors.
The function of a resume
The resume is the tool you use to sell yourself to potential employees and it therefore needs to exhibit some aspects about you such as your education as well as the qualifications you attained, the skillset and experience you have in the industry, character traits that make you an ideal candidate for the job, things that make you fit into the job requirement criteria and aspects that make you employable.
Length of your resume
The length of the resume varies depending on the amount of data an individual has regarding their education as well as professional qualifications. There is no standard length which all resumes must abide by. For individuals who do not have a lot of education and work experience a minimum of one to two pages is advisable. Those individuals with a lot of educational background as well as work experience can have as many as three pages. The information on your resume needs to be only data that is relevant. It is advisable to have a one page resume that contains information that is relevant than a three page that mostly consists of irrelevant information. The one page with relevant information has a higher chance of being picked.
List of items to include in your resume
It is not compulsory but there are certain orders that when used they make your resume look organized and professional. It is advisable to start off with the contact details, opening declaration, key skills, software or technical skills, career overview, personal attributes, educational qualifications, volunteer activities, work placements or employment history and lastly the referees. It is not a must that each of these items is included in your resume every single time you are applying for a job. The order of the items can also be changed depending on the nature of the job you are applying. The most relevant information to the job should be placed first and the less relevant toward the end.
Should the resume be changed for every job application?
Yes. It is essential that your resume is custom made for each job application you make. This is because your resume should be in line with the precise requirements needed for each and every job. The change might not be on the entire resume but on some items such as the opening declaration, the personal attributes and the key skills. These are major items on your resume that need to respond with the job requirements. The work experience should also be customized for each application to indicate how the work experience you have is relevant to the position you are applying for.
Customizing your resume
There are several methods that one can use to make their resume customized. The first method is by the use of opening declaration to connect your education and experience to the company as well as the job requirements. The second is the use of precise phrases or key words all over your resume. The third is the placement of the key skills at the start. The fourth method is the listing of your accomplishments that respond to the job requirements.
What to include in your resume
There are several items that are a must have in every resume:
Contacts: Personal contact information such as the email address, telephone numbers, name and cell number should be present in the resume. Avoid putting the contact information in the header as the recruitment officer or software might have difficulty viewing it. Ensure that it is in the resume main body.
Opening statement: this declaration tells the recruiter your qualifications for the job, your work experience, your education and who you are. It is written in the first person and about six lines in length.
Key skills and strengths: there should be at least ten to fifteen key skills that make you an ideal candidate for the job. The key skills can be classified into essential and desirable skills. The skills should be relevant to your education, work experience, volunteering activities or work placements.
Software/technical skills: this list should include the various technologies you can competently use such as spreadsheet, word processor, programming and tools such as cash registers.
Personal attributes: this section should show the potential employers that you are trustworthy, reliable, honest and a quick learner especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience.
Educational history, employment history, referees, testimonials and key words are other items that can be included in the resume.