Are you finding it hard to get a job? You can blame the recession all you want, but it may also be because you probably haven't paid too much attention to resume writing. A lot of people underestimate the importance of the resume in their job search and end up writing haphazard, unimpressive ones.
What is a Resume?
Is it just a simple summary of your academic career? Just a synopsis of which schools you went to and how many marks you scored in the major qualifying examinations?
No. A resume is more like an advertisement of yourself. Assume that you are a product in the market. How would you convince a buyer that you are the exact product that he is looking for? By making a good advertisement, which convinces the buyer that you are exactly what he is looking for.
After all, when you buy a pack of chips you don't just look at the ingredients. You look at the whole package and the presentation. The same is true in case of recruiting companies. The marks and the academic details are fine, but they do like a person who is committed and driven and has his goals set in life.
Borders and Margins
This is the first thing that you need to take care of. Your resume should look neat and well structured. So, when you make it on a computer, ensure that you keep a slight distance from the margins of the page.
In our opinion, a tabulated resume looks neat and well-compartmentalized. Hence, you can prepare the initial outline with tables. Make 4 tables on the page: one big left sided table, the right side with two tables and one page-sized bottom table.
Fonts and Styles
You need to know how to use different font styles and where, before writing your resume. Pick just one font and one font size and stick to it throughout the whole document. There will be points which you would like to highlight, but you can use bold, underline and italics for those. Don't use capitals and larger fonts within the content as they look untidy.
Now let's move to the actual framing part. The first part of your resume includes your name and your contact details. Center align the name and keep the address, email id, and phone number left aligned. You can keep your name in bold and the contact details in italics.
If the resume is your advertisement, the objective statement is the punchline! Hence, it has to be good and should have a strong impact. The objective statement talks about 3 things. Your career goals, your skills, and what you intend to bring to the company which would employ you.
Having said that, it has to be short, up to 3 sentences maximum, and not verbose, with long sentences. To good effect, you could start the career objective part with a nice, relevant quote by someone in the field you intend to work in.
Now let us assume that you have made two side-to-side tables. The left side table should include all the skills which you feel are relevant to the job you are applying to and which you actually possess!
Some skills may also require substantiating proof. For example, if you've done a computer course in web designing, you ought to carry along a certificate of the same. On the contrary, if you've held a few jobs before, use the left side table for the professional experience and accomplishments.
This part is relevant only if you have professional experience. List out chronologically the jobs which you have held in the past and the achievements gathered during this time. If you have had a long professional career, then you can keep this in the left side table. If you don't then keep it in the right sided, lower table.
The table on the top-right side of the page is for your academic record. This is for your academic record, the schools which you went to and the marks which you obtained.
The last part is the long table at the bottom of the page. This one is for listing the extra-curricular activities, your achievements in your hobbies, and other interests, if any.