Best Resume Writing Guide 2017

What’s the value of 30 seconds in your life? Let me tell you. They hold the key to the door behind which is your dream job. Yes. It’s true. An average recruiter will glance over your resume and decide to call you or delete your resume within 30 seconds in most cases. 45 seconds at max. When I am deep into a particular search I can scan a resume in 15 seconds and decided whether a certain applicant is good enough to be called or not.
Rather than debating with you on whether 30 seconds are enough for a recruiter to shortlist or reject your candidature, I wish to help you make the best of those 30 seconds.
Below is a short write up on how you should format your resume:

The Golden Rules:
1. Where’s Your Photo?
Ensure that at the top of your resume you have a “professional” passport size photo embedded.
Why? You may ask…Because all recruiters and organizations check for executive presence, nothing talks better about your executive presence than a professional photo on your resume.
What’s executive presence? (Stay around for my next article, I guarantee you will be an expert on the subject by the end of it!)

Don’t kiss me. I am married. But please KISS your resume (Keep it Short n Simple). Your resume at max should be 2 pages. You have 30 seconds of any recruiter’s time at hand if they spend 20 seconds out of that scrolling through a 12-page file you have next to a ZERO chance of getting a call.

3. ATS ready
All large organizations nowadays use something called an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). ATS basically helps organizations in managing the responses they get from various applicants and it acts as an easy way to access the database of applicants. Most ATS’ create a unique profile using three data points: Your Email, Your Mobile Number & Your Date of Birth. Ensure you have all of three mentioned clearly in your resume.

4. Don’t tell me where you live
90 percent of resumes I see have an address mentioned. That’s just pure waste of precious real estate. A recruiter does not need your address, plus you would not want to share that information randomly over portals like LinkedIn, Naukri, monster etc. All you need to mention is the city in which you work. That does the trick. Utilize the space in which you have mentioned your address to portray more relevant information.

5. The success lies in the structure
A good resume as per me will usually be structured in the following manner:

A) At the beginning of the resume a photo, Name, Contact details (only email + mobile number)

B) Your actual resume should start with a Background Summary. This would mostly contain 2/3 lines on your journey so far.

C) Always keep the Educational Qualification portion on the top. This should be visible to the recruiter in a clear manner. It’s a good Idea to mention your college, year of passing, along with percentages achieved. Saves the recruiter a lot of time.

D) A major part of your resume consists of information about your work experience. Before you start writing all those Shakespearean paragraphs on what you have done, it’s a good idea to add a small graphic about your journey so far. It helps the recruiter in taking a lot of quick decisions around important topics like stability, brands you have worked with etc. Keep your work experience explanations short and sweet. You can discuss all your achievements when you get the call!

E) After your experience portion, it’s nearly time to finish your resume. It’s a good idea though to have a small portion dedicated to any certifications that you might have completed. It shows that you are eager to learn and it’s a good place to show off your learnings.

F) Social Work: In case you have done any social work keep 1 or 2 lines at the end of the resume dedicated to that. It is a nice conversation topic and shows recruiters you care about the society.

G) End with personal details like your DOB, languages known, the city of residence and marital status.

6) The art of being precise
As discussed in the paragraph above, about 80% real estate on your resume will be taken up by your work experience. For every job you have had, clearly mention the name of the organization, your tenure, designation and city of the job as a headline. In the content ensure that your experience does not spill over 5 lines for each job. Just mention your key activities there.

7) The magic of numbers
While writing about your work experience always use numbers.
A statement saying “Handled a team while at XYZ org” sucks when compared to a statement saying “Handled a team of 5 members and drove business of XX millions”. Similarly “Handling Key accounts” can be written as “Handling 30 client accounts and responsible for business generation of ZZ millions”.

8) Tweak to win
As a practice, always share a customized resume for every opportunity. It’s always good to highlight relevant experience according to every unique opportunity. So spend time on your resume before applying anywhere and see if the right experience is highlighted or not.

Last but not the least! Don’t be Marrisa Mayer. There has been an online one-page resume floating around of Marissa Mayer on the internet. I can’t comment on its authenticity but what I do know is that I have seen at least 100 copies of that from various applicants. You know what I do with them? I REJECT them. Don’t copy stupid templates from the internet while creating your resume. Your resume is something very personal so spend the time on it, get inspired from the internet but don’t copy. Be Original. And all the best for that new assignment you are looking for!

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Author: Devashish Sarin

Devashish did his MBA in Human Resources from Xavier Institute of Social Service in 2013 and has spent 4+ years in the HR domain. He presently works closely with global clients to help them search leadership talent and also is part of a technology startup in the Recruitment space

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