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How to create a stellar résumé to land your dream job

It is important to present your career history and achievements in your resume, and not just list your skills and education

A great resume will help you ace your interview
A great resume will help you ace your interview (iStockPhoto)

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To create a strong, impactful résumé, you need to summarize your skills in a way that makes you stand out from the competition. The résumé is more than simply a list of your work experience, skills and the institutions you graduated from. It’s important to present your career history and achievements in a way that will help you land an interview.

Here are some dos and don’ts to create a stellar résumé.

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DOS

1. Customize Your Résumé to the Job

Customize your résumé for each job you apply to. Be sure that your qualifications and skills match much of what is in the job description. Businesses often use an automated system to screen résumés for specific keywords so try to use some of the same phrases that are in the job post.

2. Use Numbers

When writing about your work experience, provide specific examples of how your work impacted the bottom line. Simply saying you did something, such as increased sales, is not as impressive as providing specific details. For example, instead of saying that you increased the company’s sales, it will be more impressive and will better highlight your abilities to say that you increased company sales by 125 per cent. Or, instead of saying that you saved the company money, be more specific with a statement such as, developed a new payroll system that saved the business INR 1 crore in personnel costs over a five-year -period. Also, indicate if you were promoted or otherwise recognized for your achievements.

3. Promote Your Tech Skills

If software and technology skills are mentioned in the job description, list those that you are skilled at, how long you’ve used each one and your level of proficiency.

4. Inform References of Your Job Search

If you are starting on your job search and preparing to send out numerous résumés, it’s a good idea to let the contacts who you will be using as references know that they may be getting a phone call or email. Provide them with a copy of your résumé so they are in the know about your work history and achievements and have the information to provide a good word about you.

5. Ask a Friend to Proofread

You don’t want to lose out on a job because you have typos or grammatical errors on your résumé. Proofread your résumé and ask a friend or a proofreading service to help. Those who are seeing the document for the first time are more likely than you are to catch errors and other mistakes.

DONT’S

1. Don’t Be Dishonest

Be truthful in all parts of your résumé. Do not be dishonest about where you’ve worked, the positions you’ve held or where you went to college. Lying can catch up with you and result in you not being considered for a position, or being fired if you land the job.

2. Don’t Explain Why You Left Previous Jobs

While it’s important to list your past work experience and accomplishments, it’s not necessary to explain on the résumé why you left a job.

3. Don’t Use Your Business Contact Information

When listing your contact information, do not have potential employers contact you at the phone number or email where you are currently working. Use your personal email address and phone number, even if you have told your current company that you are seeking another position.

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4. Don’t Include Salary Information

If the job posting asks for a salary range or salary history, include it in the cover letter, unless it is specifically requested that it be included in the résumé. If the posting asks for your salary expectations, and you don’t know what the salary is for the job you are applying to, it is often a good idea to include a salary range. This will allow you some flexibility and prevent you from asking for too low or too high a salary. To state a salary range that is reasonable, do some research to find information on what the average salary is for the type of position you are applying for. If a salary history or salary requirements are not requested, wait until your interview to discuss these topics.

5. Don’t Create an Experimental Résumé Format

Creating a résumé with different colours and fonts will probably not prove effective. Hiring managers and recruiters want a résumé that’s easy to read and that clearly communicates your work experience and skills. Stick with traditional résumé formats to improve the chances that your résumé will be read.

Excerpted from Get Job Ready by Vasu Eda with permission from Penguin Random House India

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