Thursday, 23 August 2012

Guidelines on how to write a good resume


By Jackie, Researcher
Topic: Employment skills (Resume writing)


The objectives of this research are to find out how a good resume can be prepared in order to secure a job, what should be and should not be included in a resume content, how to give a good impression to the interviewers, and how to stand out from the crowd. Complete guides are given below for both CV and cover letter including a sample for illustration purposes.


Introduction
Ideally, a solid CV and cover letter are the first-step to secure a dream job. A good job seeker knows that a good resume is the key to an interview invite and ultimately, to employment. Aside from a summary of your abilities, work experience and education, a resume should reveal your unique selling point to entice a potential employer to hire you.


The cover letter
A successful and effective cover letter should basically answer this question: “Why should I hire you, and not the others? That’s why you should always personalize each and every cover letter that you write. However, there are some basic rules and guidelines on how to prepare a good cover letter:
  1. Quote the job or position you are applying for and where you heard or read about the job.
  2. Keep your self-introduction brief as the employer can get more details about you from your accompanying CV.
  3. Ensure you highlight all your key achievements, experience, skills or personality traits in relation to the job advertised.
  4. Keep the length of the cover letter to one page. Use easy-to-read fonts such as Times New Roman (12pt) or Arial (11pt) in black ink.
  5. Ask a trusted friend, family member, career advisor or mentor to read through your draft letter to check for spelling or grammatical errors and to suggest improvements where possible.
  6. Use good quality white paper to print your cover letter and CV. Ensure that they are smudge-free as you want to give the best impression possible.
  7. If you are sending the application by snail mail, don’t forget to sign the letter before sending it out.

Covering all bases
Here is a 10-step guide on how to write an effective cover letter:
  1. Always address the hiring manager by name. If you don’t know the person’s name, find out the name and designation by checking the company website or calling up the department.
  2. Ensure you state the position you are applying for. The company may be advertising more than one position – don’t force the person reviewing your application to guess what you are applying for.
  3. Start by introducing yourself briefly and where you found out about the job vacancy. State also if you would like to be considered for similar positions in the company.
  4. Elaborate on why you are interested in the field or industry. Make it formal yet personable.
  5. Briefly explain how your education and any work experience make you suitable for the job.
  6. Mention any internships or other working experience, if any.
  7.  Explain briefly how these experiences and qualifications have helped in developing the skills or personality traits required to perform the job being advertised.
  8. Lead the hiring manager to your CV and make a formal request for an interview.
  9. Maintain the polite tone of your message by thanking the hiring manager in advance for his or her time.
  10. End the letter with your name printed at the bottom and a signature if you are preparing a hard copy application.

For email applications:
A cover letter is still essential. However, it should be sent as the body of the email with your CV enclosed as an attachment. State the job you are applying for in the ‘subject’ of the email. Also, save your CV with your name as the filename and don’t forget to attach it to the email. It is also highly recommended that you use an email account with your full name to appear more professional.


Sample cover letter



The CV
Your CV is an overview or summary of your qualifications and life experiences. It is essentially your personal marketing tool to make a good first impression on your potential employer. Since employers may receive hundreds of CVs a day, it is very important to ensure that your CV stands out from the rest.


Covering all bases
Here is a 10-step guide on how to write a proper CV:
  1.  Write your name at the top of each page in bold font so it is easily recognizable.
  2. Provide your full name and correspondence address so that the potential employers will know how to address you.
  3. Include other important contact information so that you can be easily reachable. Ensure that the phone numbers are correct as employers tend to call instead of email to make interview appointments.
  4. Your education and qualification should come next. Always start with the highest qualification obtained and work your way backwards. It is also good to include your secondary school results if you are a fresh graduate.
  5. Be sure to include any academic achievements in your CV. They serve as reinforcements of your aptitude and ability.
  6. Emphasize the most valuable skills for the job you are applying for. Use tables and rating scales for things like computer skills and language literacy.
  7. Detail your work experience. Again, start with the most recent and then work your way backwards chronologically. Emphasize the achievements in addition to listing the tasks you were involved in. This improves your employability.
  8. List down all notable interests and activities, especially those that you are passionate about. Highlight any leadership roles you have previously held.
  9. It is also good to add any additional skills which are not directly related to the job requirements, but are just as important, such as language proficiency and type of driving license.
  10. Ideally, you should have one work-related referee and one academic referee. However, ensure that you have their permission to include them as your referees and that you are on the lookout for a job so you don’t spring any surprises on them.


Sample CV

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Conclusion
A well written CV and cover letter that addresses every point made in the job advertisement or position description is what you should strive for if you are serious about getting the job that you want.


Additional readings, related links and references:

Resume writing, cover letter, interview tips, job search tips, at the work place, and career advancement.

How to write a masterpiece of a resume?

How to write a successful CV?

How to write a resume?

How to create a great resume?

14 comments:

  1. remember you must use the good grammar and professional look in your cover letter.

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