What is a resume?
Before learning how to make a perfect a perfect resume, it is important to know what is a resume and how critical it is to build a professional resume. In two words, a resume is the first impression you create without meeting an employer in person. In formal definition, a résumé is a concise document that showcases your educational background, work experience, and skills that are pertinent to your eligibility for applying for any job in any area. The resume serves the purpose of getting an opportunity to be interviewed by an employer. Research has shown that it takes an average of ten interviews to receive one job offer, so your résumé needs to be persuasive and perfect (Refer to Owl Purdue Writing Lab). Given this, your résumé must be user-centric and convincing.
The general purpose résumé usually contains four sections:
- Awards, activities, and outreach
What information do I need to share with a potential employer?
Any resume should contain the following 5 sections with appropriate up to date information, in descending order of chronology (Example: start by mentioning the details about your last job and trace it back to end the section with the details of your first job).
- Contact Information
- The Objective Statement
- Honors and Activities
Why is the design of my resume so important?
Employers go through hundreds and thousands of resumes, and this exposure gives them the ability to quickly glance through your resume in order to know whether you have what it takes or not. This process takes them merely a few seconds to minutes, which is why it is essential to present your skills, achievements and experience in the most accessible way. This requires small minor adjustments like:
- Have short and crisp sentences.
- Use numbers to show impact; Example: I managed a team of 50 volunteers who conducted awareness camps in 25 villages, creating a total outreach of 2000 students in the villages.
- Use bold, Italics, Underlines, CAPITALIZATION, or highlighting to emphasize important aspects and headings.
- The quadrant test: (https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html)
Typically, the readers read from left to right and from top to bottom on the page when there is ‘balanced’ information (about an equal amount of text and white space). Considering that your interviewer would read the resume in the same manner, you would have to manipulate the details on the resume according to the quadrant test. Firstly, divide your résumé into four quadrants, as mentioned in the example below.
Each quadrant should have an equal amount of text and blank spaces. When you have the balanced text on the resume page, the reader would typically start reading from quadrant 1. So, it is recommended to put your most important information (which you want the interviewers to see first) in this quadrant.
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