A resume is a tool that summarises your skillset and qualities and is used by potential employers to determine your strengths and role fit. Employers like to have an initial glimpse at this credential to help them decide whether or not you will be a good fit for the organization. A resume is an essential tool as it sets the first impression for your employers in determining whether you should be invited for an interview.
Undoubtedly, in the last few years, there has been an evolution in the structure and contents of a resume. Gone are the days when any resume would fit just any job application, as expectations seem to have grown over the years over a resume’s structure and contents. While a resume may vary amongst industries and countries, specific requirements must be met to be a standout applicant. Different formats of a resume exist depending on an applicant’s career level:
This is also known as a reverse-chronological resume, and it remains the most commonly used resume format used by people with rich professional experiences. It highlights your work history, dates, and roles with your most recent job first.
This resume format is standard among people with thin experiences and people switching career paths. It emphasizes your skills by stating the relevant skills you have rather than the details of your work history.
Components of a resume
Generally, depending on your career level, a great resume will capture your contact information, profile summary, job title, employment history, volunteering experience, education, skills, award and honours, skills or certifications, publications or projects and references, if applicable. The information below describes the minimum sections to be included in a resume:
- Contact Information
Your full name should be at the top of the page, followed by your contact information. You should include your phone number, email address, LinkedIn profile and your personal website.
- Career Objective or Professional Summary
This must always be crafted while reflecting inwards to your background, skillset, overall objective and in consultation with the job description in focus. An excellent professional summary will communicate your “true self” to an employer.
- Work Experience
This is a critical section containing the job title, name of the company, date of employment, and job responsibilities. Highlight your professional history with the most recent episode at the top. Ensure you list your responsibilities and skills by considering the use of action keywords in the job description while also describing your achievements. Remember to use relevant keywords from the job description, as many organizations use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to rank applicants.
This section of your resume is vital as some jobs may require a certain level of education. It should the name of the academic institution attended, period of schooling, and the degree obtained.
- Skills, Certifications, Publications
In this new world of skills certification either through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) or other channels, it is important to show your employers the additional skills you have earned through self-education, as employers are constantly seeking individuals who can consistently learn and grow within a team and independently to be the best the can be.
- Volunteer Experience
If you are an entry-level applicant or seeking graduate roles, you might also want to include exciting volunteer or community experience or projects you were involved in. This action communicates an act of “giving back to the community” and selflessness, which generally entices some organizations.
To attract an employer’s attention, you must format your resume accordingly, following necessary industry and country standards, promoting formats and fonts that are professional, including only relevant information, and error-free.
In conclusion, the resume requirement does not look to fade away soon, as it is a base requirement for an employer to determine the next steps for an applicant. Therefore, the onus is on the applicant to keep up to date and adapt to changing resume and job requirements, and industry standards.
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