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How to Write the Perfect Resume

How to Write the Perfect Resume

Your resume is usually your first exposure to your prospective employer. So it’s extremely important to get it right. Typically you have a window of a few seconds, believe it or not, a few seconds for your resume to be picked up for further review. Only if you pass this initial pick-up do you stand a chance of being actually considered for your dream job. It sounds horrific, but it’s the reality. A typical HR person sifts through hundreds if not thousands of resumes for a single role. It’s impossible for her to give any significant time to pick up the initial resumes. She has to come up with some shortcuts to quickly identify which resumes have a good chance of winning. A good resume has to anticipate such shortcuts and understand the time constraints of the people who are looking at the resumes. Here are some tips about making your resume more “pick-able” and attractive. I’ll focus mainly on software and technical resumes but the basic concepts work for any field of work.

Name the Resume Right

At the most basic level the first thing a recruiter notices is the name of the file of your resume. Beyond the cover letter that is the first exposure to you and your skills. It may not be conscious but this initial view about your starts creating an opinion about you in the recruiter’s mind. So if you named your resume with a misspelling for example the immediate opinion in the recruiter’s mind would be very negative and that likely to color all subsequent opinions. Misspelling is obviously not so likely, but you should ideally select a name that makes the recruiter’s job easy. So ideally the resume should have one or two keywords about the role, the name of the role, and obviously your name. As an example, a resume Senior Software Developer position for Jon Doe might be named “J Doe – Senior Dev – Java. Pdf”.  This rule may change a bit dependent on a particular role but if you follow the principle of figuring out what name would make the recruiter find it easy to understand your skills for a particular role it should work. One exception to this tip is when the job post requires you to name the resume in a certain way, for example at Kaz Software we need a resume name to contain the number of years of experience.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Remember that the recruiter is looking through hundreds of resumes. The only sane way to sort resumes in such situations is to look for the key terms that match with the role. Not the places you worked, not the years of experience (in most cases unless they are specifically looking for the junior or very senior role), and obviously not your name or address. Focus on the keywords for the job. Make sure that the keywords stand out the moment the resume is opened. Ideally place them in a separate block, in technical resumes a visual representation such as a tag cloud can be a great way. At least use boldface for key terms within the resume.

Formatting Other Basics

Formatting and fonts are extremely important as recruiters should be able to look at a resume and visually like the document. And then be able to quickly read it. To ensure readability and clarity, keep your resume concise, covering the key details of roles with a keyword-driven description of activities performed. Use neat resume format with clear headings, sub-headings, and bullet points. One thing that is totally not acceptable in a resume is misspellings. Proofread your resume. Ask a friend or family member to go over it so that anything you missed may be spotted by her. Use feedback from past job interviews and recruiters to improve your resume or presentation. 

Keep Things up to Date

As the world of technology evolves the roles and responsibilities change too. The need for resources also changes. Hence resumes change, their structure and information content change. But some things are so fundamental in a resume that they never change. The core building blocks of a resume will always stay important. Always keep your resume up to date, it doesn’t matter whether you've been in a position for years or for a short time. Keep your experience section to the point and list any new roles, promotions, responsibilities, achievements, and projects.

Customize to the Position

It’s important to tailor your resume for every job. It makes the resume stand out better and it shows you’ve paid attention to what the employer is looking for. This means making sure it includes everything the employer is asking for, a resume should the "answers" to an employer's "questions". When preparing a resume, include the skills and technology mentioned in the original job post or advert. As you go over your skills and experience, map how you used them in your job roles. Give examples of projects you've worked on and what were your contributions. You should also point out any relevant soft skills like teamwork, conflict resolution, or mentoring. Remember that most jobs require something extra beyond the mere list of skills and keywords. Once the recruiter goes past the keywords the soft skill angle will be the next area she focuses on.  Try to map your soft skill experience with likely job situations in this new role.

Show Passion 

For a recruiter who has a bunch of resumes in front of her with similar skills and experience – something extra in a particular resume makes the biggest difference. That something extra should be a show of enthusiasm for the work and for the industry in general. So it’s important to demonstrate your passion for your chosen field. If there something of interest in technology that is part of your everyday life, like a hobby or a pet project, showcase it, go over what you are doing and what your plans are for this project, etc. By doing so your enthusiasm for the industry will become clear to the recruiter. Examples of such things can be a personal project you’re working on in your spare time or participation in certain meetups and events. Bring out this aspect of your interest by telling what you do outside of work.

Wrapping Up!

A resume is your first exposure to a company or a role, so it’s vital to get things right. It’s worth spending the extra energy and time to make the resume better and more relevant. It’s a one-time investment that leads to bigger and better things in your career. So, hire the best resume writing services now!

Wahid
Wahid

Wahid has more than 20 years of experience in software development. He is the founder and leader of several software companies in diverse industries such as regulatory compliance, eCommerce, legal services, and computer games.

Wahid has an exceptional technical background, as well as the advantage of having worked with dozens of start-ups during all stages of their technical and business development. He founded his first software company, Kaz Software, in 2004 and has grown it to be a 60+ strong team that has built more than 120 software applications for companies around the world.

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