These are tough times and most employers are not even hiring. Wrong. The demand for talented people never drops. Even during recession, the demand for high-caliber talent never wavers. During boom times, the good, the bad and the mediocre, all get wooed by the employers to counterbalance those leaving the company through the revolving door.
In economies which are growing, there is always a need to upgrade talent and the talent scouts are always on the prowl. When the times are demanding, all that changes is that the need to differentiate talent also rises. It is in times like this how you get your foot in the door matters. If a business card summarizes your contact details, then your resume is like a print advertisement for your career. So treat your resume as your chance at creating the one-page commercial that gives you a high share of the hiring manager’s mind. The resume becomes a framework that can be used to steer the conversation during the face-to-face interview. Besides this, a resume that shows a good match between the candidate and the role can increase the chances of being called for an interview.
Resume or CV?
What is the difference between a resume and a Curriculum Vitae or CV? A CV is a write up about your educational and academic background. It also has details of research papers, awards, dissertation, etc., written out in 3 pages or more and is usually more relevant if you are applying for positions in research or academia. In business scenarios, a resume is what you need to send in. It is NEVER more than 2 pages – no matter how accomplished you are. A resume is not meant to be a mini autobiography. Even if you have had a career spanning 30 years and 12 continents (OK make that six continents), just focus on skills, key achievements and work experiences especially in the last few years.
Stuff that you did 30 years back may have limited applicability because the world has changed and moved on since then. So, just take it easy. Be brief.
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” now has a new twist – “which came first, the resume or the vacancy?” Should you have a generic resume that you mail to the hiring organization? Or should you apply in response to a vacancy that is advertised? The resume has some static elements that are to be mentioned regardless of the vacancy, e.g., your name, contact details, educational qualifications, etc. It is the rest of the information that needs to be written to identify areas where there is a good match between the role and you. For instance, if you have been working for a start-up and that is what the job opportunity is about, then that will show a potential match, especially if the experience gained in the previous assignment can be leveraged in the new role.
Before you write the resume, read up the Job Description. It also pays to read about the organizations history, product lines, turnover, etc. All these can be great pointers to what the organization is all about. This is the information that will help you write the resume that is tailor made for the organization. A well-written job description will tell you the key expectations for the role, the reporting relationships and key stakeholders who may influence the role, the competencies and the organization’s values.
It is a good idea to add a cover letter to go along with your resume. The cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager or the contact person who is listed in the advertisement. If you are recycling a cover letter that you have used before, please check that it is now addressed to the current organization you are applying to and that the date and contact details are updated. I have received covering letters that are addressed to the Staffing department of another organization with a date that is six months old. The applicant concerned missed updating the letter before mailing it. Finally, when you save the document, use just your name as the file name. Having your resume saved as yourname ver11.doc or yourname marketing job resume.doc is a give-away, you should rather avoid. So, happy resume writing!
(This article, which was earlier published on the author’s personal blog www.abhijitbhaduri.com, is reprinted with permission from the author)
– By Abhijit Bhaduri, Chief Learning Officer, Wipro Group.