Many have written innumerable articles on ‘Resume writing tips and tricks’ and the internet is abundant with a plethora of resources on how you can land a job with a sparkling new resume. So, I won’t be emphasizing on the methods and ways to fool recruiters and your prospective employers with spiced-up resumes. I will focus on addressing some concerns we faced recently while trying to recruit interns and noobs/freshers.
We had decided to try out interns, fresh graduates. We were prepared to train them and groom them. We were mentally prepared that they will likely have zero industry knowledge and have lowered our expectations. Even so, we’re yet to be tickled, leave alone getting excited.
The resume is the most important means of attracting a prospective employer. It can literally make or break your career. Hiring is a very boring, tiring and unscientific job. The aim of the applicant should be to help the hiring manager in every way possible by creating a nice, legible and articulate resume.
Especially for first timers, freshers and for those who need to prove to the employee that they’re something, a nice covering letter serve a long way in garnering interest to your resume. Talk a little about what you know about the employer and why you are interested in working in that company. Cite relevant experience, if any. Show that you are passionate about what you do and the products the employer makes. Don’t just demand a job; prove your worth.
Clean, clear and crisp format
If you cannot do it yourself or are too lazy to learn the basic formatting of Microsoft Word (OpenOffice or otherwise), please get a professional do it for you. Pay for it, if you have to and get copies. Bad formatting shows that you’re not particular about the details of your work. There are plenty of resources online where one can find sample resume formats. For instance, Novo Resume provides an easy to use interface for creating resumes. Use that to create and manage your resume.
Almost all post-world-war text-editors have Spelling and Grammar checks, please use it.
Focus on Industry experience, especially the one you’re applying for. Do something, program a demo, build a site. We seriously don’t care if you were a genius in your 10th, 12th and you topped in every knitting competition, made the best curry or ran the fastest in your school’s marathon. Please let us know you tried doing something outside of your monotonic academic pseudo-projects.
Do not forget to write the subject. No FWD (forwards). Please shed that habit of blinding forwarding hoaxes, viruses, medications, and lottery winning FWDs.
We aren’t morons, trying our best to out-hire you from our competitors. No need to send an All-in-one email addressing all the available jobs email addresses.
Tailor your resume to the requirements of the employer. What works for an enterprise MNC will unlikely work for a Startup. We can immediately figure out if you have sent us the same resume. Read the requirements of the job, note the position you are applying for and then customize your resume to reflect those requirements.
Give a name to your Resume
Do the homework yourself and don’t let people do the hard work of guessing out the right resume. “balasubramanyam-krishna-venkateshwara-resume.pdf” would be much better than “bkv.pdf” or “resume.pdf”
Keep it Short and Simple
A page or two is enough for most candidates. Remove your “hobbies, passport, PAN, dog’s name, neighbor’s hot chick you have a crush on”. Focus on your experiences, technology, and other interesting contributions related to your domain of expertise, research, and interest.
Your resume is being read by people who have been in the industry far earlier than you. Do you think we won’t know when you lied about your expertise in RedHat Linux 9.0? We’ll know, if not, our friendly Google will instantly tell us that you’re lying. RedHat Linux 9.0 is a vintage release and there is no way one is using that release today. Just be honest, don’t lie. Its OK to accept that you know nothing about Linux and you’ve been using Windows all along.
Where can I read more?
Link to your blog or portfolio, LinkedIn, StackOverflow, Github, etc. If you don’t have one, it’s time you invested some energy in building those. We would like to hire people who dabble with technology outside their jobs. Proof of participation in relevant online communities is always useful. And no, the message you sent to your college group on Orkut do not count. In fact, make sure you don’t indulge in any stupid message exchange in a public forum. If you have a Twitter account, keep the postings sane. A lot of people have been fired over a mere 140 characters of madness. Be careful about that.