'Your reputation precedes you', - While that holds good for a seasoned professional whose experience would be enough to sell ideas, but in the case of freshers and for a person who is yet to have a firm footing in the profession, one has to articulate about their academics and skill sets in a document which is called Resume or Curriculum Vitae ('CV').
The two are a bit different but normally has been used interchangeably. Resume is a concise document giving a high level summary of work experience, whereas a CV is more detailed and typically in a chronological manner describing the timeline of activities (Difference Between CV and Resume (with Comparison Chart) - Key Differences), do visit this website for more information on the difference.
The way interviews are being held have evolved over a period of time. Face to face interview is still preferred not only to see the candidate, but observe their body language, how they adapt to the situation, and other factors, which may not be fully possible during a virtual meeting. It also depends on the company, industry, local preferences etc., But even before you get a call for interview, your resume precedes it and hence this document should strike chord with the employer.
Whether it is a CV or Resume, there are certain ground rules, and of course this is purely from my experience of looking at them, and am glad to share with all of you, some of which are:
- First Look: Yes, the rule of first impression still holds good. Keep it clean with enough space to read. Don't clutter with too much of information, graphics, and icons.
- Language: We don't expect candidates to have a very proficient or write Shakespeare a language and neither are your skills of writing a novel or poetry tested. Keep your language simple, crisp, easy to read and error free. Ensure you use the space in the document judiciously.
- Presentation: Use uniform font and font size, except for title where you may choose a slightly bigger font to highlight. Do not use some exotic font etc., which is hard to read. Typically, it takes less than a minute to read the document and hence make it crisp and clear. Well, there were days when employers preferred handwritten resume, believe me employers called for interviews based on the handwriting, but then things have moved on. Therefore, avoid using jargons, not all employers are good at knowing the jargons or abbreviations unless it is commonly used one. We wish you would come with bright colours but not a document with too many colours. Avoid bright colours and those which distract the attention. White background and Black fonts are always a classic and is formal.
- Job Objective: Read job description and craft your job objective accordingly. Suggest go through the employer's website or social media and see what business or profession they are into and get more insights. To share an experience:We are a firm of CAs with practice in audit and attestation functions, but we get resumes indicating 'want to work in multi-national company…' or 'looking for expertise in Forex trading…'. Also,if a candidate of accountancy cannot make out a difference between a firm and a company, it shows their lack of attention to details. Having a good job objective will help potential employers in taking decisions to short-list candidates for the interview.
- Academics: Preferably present the information in a tabular format or if not, you can even design a timeline of activities to enable the reader to quickly assess your qualification including name of the College or University, year, and grade. Keep it in a chronological manner -the latest one being at the top.
- About yourself: Be careful when you write something in hobbies. It conveys a lot of information on your interest, lifestyle, and you may expect questions from that as well. As an interviewer, I would prefer to ask questions on the latest book of the author you follow or like, or about a book you would have read.Or the latest music album of the singer whom you follow.
- Accuracy: Be truthful. Even if there are breaks in career, no harm done. Honesty and transparency pay well. There is nothing wrong to give time to your personal needs or hobbies or taking a break.
- Do not copy: Do not cut-copy-paste. Employers can make out whether the resume is drafted by your or not (believe me most of them are copied from LinkedIn or other websites) by reading the job objective, tone of the language, jargons used, etc., Resume has to be customized and it cannot be used for anybody else. If needed, help can be taken from a professional resume drafting service, but I feel nothing can replace drafting your own resume by investing little time and efforts.Well, if you can't write something about yourself in few sentences, how do you expect to grow in a career where your drafting skills are sine qua non.So, make a first step by customizing your resume.
Few questions you may have
a. Can I share my social-media account?
Well, it depends, if it is a professional forum, it should not be out of order to mention it.But then ensure what you share, since you're inviting your potential employer and others to look into it. So, keep a watch over what you share, and you may not want to share your personal space.
b. Can I use a template like MS-Office?
Sure, you can, but do keep in mind your expected role, industry, potential employer, and other factors.
c. Should I create a separate email id?
Yes, especially if you have something like firstname.lastname@example.org etc., Have something which carries your name.
d. Would it be a good idea to create a visual or video CV rather than the traditional ones?
It depends on the industry and how your potential employer looks at it. It would be better to connect with them and once or just enquire with others and decide.
e. How relevant is showcasing other talents like interest in music, acting, photography etc?
It may not be directly relevant to the job, but this does showcase your personality and ability to learn different things.
f. Should the resume be in English?
Not necessary. It depends on the official language of the employer and the country in which you are applying. You may like to use the services of a translator to prepare the resume appropriately.
g. Should I include my photograph in the resume?
Yes, but not an oversized one. May be slightly smaller than a passport size photo. But, it not absolutely necessary.
h. Should I add a reference contact?
Typically, this is included in a CV and not in a resume. But be prepared to share it on request.
Well, if you need some more inputs, you could connect with the author by commenting below on contacting us via the website.
The author Aditya Kumar S is a qualified Chartered accountant with 20+ years of experience in his field. He is a partner in a renowned mid-size CA firm. He carries immense knowledge in his areas of expertise and interest, namely statutory audit, internal audit and SOX audit gained through numerous and varied client assignments he has dealt with.