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From Good to Great Résumés

Making it to the Interview

by Prabbal Frank | Version 1.0
Category: Interview Skills, Presentation Skills
Level: Intermediate

The good resumes in today's competitive world get thrown in dustbins while great resumes land up in the 'for interview' file.

Good résumés land in the out-pile while great résumés find a place in the in-pile.

A résumé is the first communication between you and your prospective employer. It is your only chance to get to an interview. In this over-communicated world where the applicants outnumber the jobs, first impressions are vital for your success as you won’t get a second chance to create a first impression.

Just creating a good résumé won’t help you. You have to make a résumé which summarizes and highlights your relevant skills, abilities and achievements in a clear manner using easy to read design and language which catches the eye of the potential employer at the first glance. It has to give compelling reasons to the interviewer to interview you.

Mentioned below are precise tips to convert a good résumé to a great one.

1. Create a Letterhead Appearance

Follow the personal information like name, address, phone number and email with a divider line. Use this format for all your employability documents like cover letters, thank you letters, list of references etc. This conveys professionalism and seems impressive.

2. Restrict Length to One Page

If there is one thing that is common between your local sweeper and President Obama, it is lack of time. Besides, it is not the main business of the organization to recruit people. So restrict your résumé’s length to one page by excluding irrelevant and obsolete information.

3. Add Quotes to Gain Credibility

People believe you more if some other person praises you rather than you blowing your own trumpet. Quotes can be anything positive which people associated with you have said about you. You can get them from feedback forms, letters of recommendations, performance appraisals or just by recalling good things people have said about you.

4. Insert Highlights to Draw Attention and Maintain Uniqueness

If there is one thing that can guarantee you success, it is a well crafted highlights section. Include anything and everything which makes you special as a person and as a professional. Mention 3 to 5 bulleted points that cover your best achievements and results and emphasize your unique attributes.

5. Let Accomplishments Drive the Résumé Instead of Responsibilities

The prospective employer is concerned about you and not the jobs you have done. Instead of describing the job profile, focus on what you did in the job which was provided to you. It is your performance that matters.

6. Use Standard Margins, Fonts and Spacing

Don’t try to impress by inserting fancy fonts which are available in plenty on the internet. Maintain a professional outlook by using standard business fonts like Helvetica, Times New Roman, Tahoma, Palatino Linotype or Garamond.

7. Eliminate Labels, DOB, Signature and References

Don’t label your résumé with the title ‘Résumé’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae.’ It is understood. Similarly exclude DOB (which is absurd to put in case you are a female!) and references unless specifically asked to do so by the prospective employer.

8. Print on a Bond Sheet

Finally, give yourself respect and do yourself a favour by printing your résumé on a bond sheet rather than on a normal A4 size paper.

About the Author

The writer is an author and an acknowledged soft skills trainer. He can be reached at prabbal.frank@gmail.com for any comments.