Photo credits to assets.entrepreneur.com
When I graduated from my University, I had a 2 page Resume with me and a lot of confidence to get any job that I am fit. I initially wanted a writing work, since I was a Feature Writer for four years in the newspaper organization, but life has different plans for me. My first gig landed me on a Research work – we interview people, we record their answers, and we translate the data for a study. It lasted for a month before I’ve decided to go full-time.
As I progress on my career and when I’d get into a new role, my Resume would get longer to make sure I get to include everything. I didn’t want to miss everything, not even those tiniest detail about the projects I got involved to, even though it wouldn’t be relevant to what I’d be doing for the company I’m interviewing with.
My Resume would look like this:
If I would rate and interview myself back then, then I don’t think I’d have the time and patience to read through – not even skim or scan through – all the details I’ve included here. It was long, tiring, and text heavy.
I wouldn’t talk about how you’d accessorize, decorate, or design your Resume but I’m going to point out some of the things you need to remember when creating one. In order not to end up like that Resume above, here are some tips I could share to you on how to build a rock star Resume.
Less is more.
Like what I’ve shared on the biggest mistake I ever did in an interview, always keep in mind that less is more. It’s okay to include brief explanations and bullet points but make sure that it’s not text heavy and painful to read. These words may not mean anything to you but to the interviewer, it’s a good ice breaker to exactly know what to ask you. If you included there some details about the duties and responsibilities that you do, then expect that the interviewer would ask things about it. If you wrote down details about the skills and ability you were able to acquire and exude on that role, then the line of questioning might revolve there.
You don’t expect your interviewer to have the luxury of time to read through heavy texts. Include only those relevant information you wanted to showcase. Do not include achievements that are more than 10 years already – high school achievements, awards and recognition from your employer 10 years ago… anything that is more than 10 years already, unless it would be the biggest achievement of your career, should not be there.
The best way to get this over is to take advantage of the interview/talk time to explain how relevant your role and your responsibilities are to the job you’re applying to. Make use of that communication skill that you got!
Job hopped? No problem!
Now here’s the real score – many do not include their earlier employments because it’s less than the ideal job span for any employment. Really, I ask, what is this ideal tenure per job anyway? 1 year? 2 years? 6 months? Who cares? I don’t! If you think and feel that your future employer might do, then you either live up with it or forever suffer the pain of getting rejected on a job because you didn’t declare one or two (or even more) of your previous employer.
It’s okay to include it on your Resume and explain it thoroughly to your interviewer, but why is this important? You have to own those skills you’ve created and learned despite the short tenure. Despite limited time with your previous employer/s, according to Forbes, there are so many skills you could learn and you need to highlight this with achievements and evidences. This is to help you build credibility and show sincerity; hence your potential employer would feel you’re being genuine and transparent to them.
Instead of them finding this out on your background checks, it would be best if you’d tell it straight to them. Make sure to use every opportunity to explain this to the interviewer because this can be the determining factor to either make or break it.
Each of us has his or her fair share with this and that is okay. The thing about this is that you have to show to them the real reason you left. In my case, I had this employment doing Business Development and Sales for an international company for 5 months and I decided to leave because I realized that night shift was not for me (our clients were based out of US and Canada, I’m physically in Manila, Philippines). The money was there, I must say, but I had to leave greener pasture for my health and well-being.
You don’t have to lie, especially if there’s really nothing to be hidden, unless you want to hide something then that’s a whole different story to tell.
To over skill yourself is overkill!
Okay, so here goes the part where you would include skills that are only relevant to you and those skills that you really know by heart. Most people have a bad habit of including those skills they know really nothing of. So when they get to the role, despite training and exposures, they wouldn’t function well due to limited technical knowledge about the job.
Do not include skills that you really don’t know of – Microsoft Excel/Google Spreadsheets expert and yet you don’t know what the Vlookup formula is; Salesforce master but doesn’t know how to merge an account; Social Media savvy but does not know how to measure an ad campaign and what metrics should be used… this is a major red flag!
Assess your technical knowledge. If you feel less confident about anything technical about the role you’re applying for, you can be honest about it and mention that you’re open to learning and training. If the interviewer would be looking for someone who has already mastered the technical knowledge, then re-assess your application. It would be best to ask for recommendations if there’d be position where you can fit. It’s never wrong to ask and to be honest about anything.
No Character References, please?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have available Character References but make sure to never include it on your Resume. You have to make sure that you’re giving your interviewer an updated list once they ask for one. What if the person you’ve included on the list has a different number and/or employment details already? You need to keep everything updated so the Character References Checker does not need to constantly reach out to you.
Moreover, this will give you an ample time to tell your Character References first about any contact that your next potential employer might do in line with your application with them. This another way to get good recommendations, too. When you reach out first to your Character References, they’d be conscious and aware that they should give good reviews about you, since you reconnected with them and you put trust to their words.
There’s no ideal number of Character References to keep but I would recommend at least five, unless there’s a need for you to give more. Normally employers would ask for three so it’s best to keep at least five if anyone of the first three wouldn’t be able to respond immediately within the time frame set by your next potential employer.
It really would take a while for you to get used to doing this but it would be a good exercise to start as early as now – and it’s never too late to start even if you’re already halfway through your career! What you want employers to see these days is you impress them at the first glance. How do you do that? You go fix your Resume before you send it to them.
How does your Resume look like 5 years ago? I’d love to hear more from you. X