By ESTHER FOO
You may be a college student, or a high school fresh-graduate; you may be deciding on your major, or you may be working to pass your driving test. With all these on your plate, it’s no surprise that writing your resume is probably the last thing on your mind. But really, it shouldn’t be.
Just a few days ago, I was talking to a few friends who just graduated from a local college and they told me they have yet to prepare their resume! I was truly surprised and not to mention, shocked. I had the privilege to further my studies in the United States and I remembered my first assignment for a first-semester class that I took was none other than writing a resume!
Just like any other skills, resume writing takes practice. Developing a resume is like a sports game – if you want to succeed, you have to develop skills, train, gain experience and compete against others to win the game – in this case, get the job. You need to start honing this skill before you actually step out into the real world handing resumes to prospective employers. It is irrefutable that having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing your dream job.
Plus, having a resume on hand is very helpful if you’re at an event; you’ll never know who you’ll meet – they might offer you an internship, or it could land you a job. Although having one in your pocket all the time isn’t very practical, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t keep a few copies in your car. This will really show prospective employers that you are resourceful, determined, goal-oriented and passionate, and those skills are the ones that employers would definitely look out for.
Also, developing a top-notch and “bullet-proof” resume doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t wise to delay till the very last minute before you start writing yours. Delaying and pushing this task till the end will often result in “sudden memory loss” of the writer. It isn’t easy to keep track and remember your accomplishments within the past few years in a snap of the finger. Therefore, slowly building your resume is a far better option that regurgitating everything in one night- you’ll never know what you may miss out.
Many would ask, “So if it is such an important document, how should I start writing it?” First, take the initiative to look at some online samples. There are literally thousands of free online resume tips. Know the purpose of yours and craft your personal resume based on that purpose. Back that purpose up with your qualities and strengths using the right keywords. Just because a piece is informative, it doesn’t mean it has to be long; so never produce one that would bore your potential employer.
It has to pique the interest of the reader and answer the only question he cares about: will this candidate add value to my company? If your resume answers this effectively, congratulations, employers might want to meet with you. If not, you may be out even before the game starts.
The outlook of your resume is almost as important as the content you put in it. Paying attention to the typography is important because your goal is to communicate a message as fast and clearly as possible. You want your resume to have a clear focus and a design that flow with white space.
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Of course, it is also good to put the most important information first so that employers can highlight your best skills at first glance. It is also good to keep in mind that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don’t go over the edge, all marketing effort you put in it will give you an advantage over the other candidates.
Most importantly, you must proofread your resume. It is difficult to emphasise the importance of proofreading your resume – one small spelling error and your chances of getting hired could slip. Even if you think your resume looks prefect, it would be a great idea to get a second, or even third opinion on it. It is not unusual for us to be blinded by our own mistakes, so someone else who stands a neutral position would be a great candidate to evaluate the overall quality of your resume. Also, it is strongly encouraged to update your resume on a regular basis. Making necessary changes along the way and will prevent you from sending an obsolete document to the employer.
Writing a great resume does not necessarily mean you should follow the rules you hear through the grapevine. Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication but it should be appropriate to your situation. Developing a successful resume isn’t hard; it is starting one that is. There is certainly no harm at all in starting early – you’ll never know when it will come in handy. So the next time when someone asks, “Do you have a resume?” you’ll be able to smile back and say, “Why yes, I do!”