YOUR RESUME IS YOUR BABY, NOT A HOLLOW CROWN
MANAGE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION
In the first 3 seconds, as you walk into the interview room, your fate is decided by your interviewers- Are you selected or are you rejected- tick or cross. This has been said in various shapes and forms in the last 20 years or so. Obviously it is a lie. Or else why would we write this blog and why at all would you read it.
But people actually do believe that everything depends on those first 3 godly or ungodly seconds!
Thankfully it does not. Your fight (rather your fighting chance) begins way before you put on that crisp, white ironed shirt the morning of your tête-à-tête, with a simple sheet of paper called your resume. Your resume, is your first impression before your potential employer. It is the thin sliver of a window which decides whether you are in or out that door, and if Sherlock has taught us anything, then any door, however heavy, can be broken into at the opportune moment. Question is, have you prepared for that opportune moment. Do you have the impact to just slip in, into the minds of your employers, so that they look at your CV and feel in their guts, “I have to give this guy/ girl a chance. There is just something to him!” Sounds like dating? Well it is- You go in as your best dressed self, putting on your most efficient, learned face and try your best to smile through the awkwardness, as you incessantly answer uncomfortable questions about yourself, no excuses made! Only this time, you have the massive support- a resume that has spoken for you, even before you have entered into the room. Only this is, has it spoken enough?
So, you can understand how important it is to build, create and live up to a good resume. It is like a suit of armour, that makes you look indispensable to your employer. Remember this- you are not selected by your employer, because there is a tick beside your name. You are selected because there is a cross beside all other names. And your resume is the first step to getting that opening tick, a foot through the door.
So, build it with the care of a mother. And if you are too young or scared to be a mother, have someone build it for you. No shame in that! Everyone needs help sometimes. Just don’t toy with your resume, like you don’t toy with your hard-earned reputation. Don’t take a chance with your only opportunity. Give it your best shot. And here’s how you do it-
TYPES OF RESUME- WHEN TO WRITE WHAT AND WHY
First, let us have you acquainted with how employers expect to see your resume. There are primarily two types of resumes that you can write depending upon where exactly you are placed in your career, or simply based on how you feel comfortable expressing yourself.
The first type is a Chronological Resume. The job portals are known to use this format, in which they ask you to fill in your professional and academic details, starting from the most recent engagement and working back from there. It is called the reverse chronological order of listing. It is practically a laundry list of all that you have done in life starting from usually the tenth standard, that is if you are not a prodigy of sorts, in which case you may start earlier as well. There is an advantage for the employer in this kind of writing. Since a chronological resume, follows your professional and academic life through time, it is highly factual. It is good at revealing any gaps you might have had in your career. It also expresses if you have actually done something worthy with your time, that the employers find befitting the profile.
So, three types of candidates benefit from this kind of resume. First are the freshers. The employers don’t expect them to have done too much in the small amount of time that they have been professionally active. So, they are interested in the bare minimum, to see if the candidate fits the role. And nothing is better at capturing the bare minimum than a chronological resume. Second type of people who benefit from this type of resumes are the people with a lot of experience. They have done so much in their lives, that it is easier to lose track of the length of the resume in elaborating the minute details. So, following a timeline keeps it crisp, precise and captures only the highlights. The third and a rather rare type of students, who tend to write a chronological resume, are freshers who are diversely talented- The Jack of all trades and the masters of a few. These are actually seeking out very specific job-roles, that require a lot of running around and coordination, like sales, PR, marketing, event planning etc.
The second type of resume is a Functional Resume. It carries all the relevant work that one has done, in a very specific domain or a niche. It implies that, irrespective of the gaps in your career, and irrespective of all the bumps on the road, that you may have faced, you have finally found your stride in a particular field, and now you are one of the most efficient people in that field. So, this type of resume is for specialised people, in the middle of their careers, somewhere between 5 to 8 years of experience, looking to climb up the job ladder, for better compensation, a higher brand name and more complex role-responsibilities. This is much more difficult to write than a chronological resume, because one keeps asking oneself, if a few complex tricks are enough to make that life-altering jump, or would leave them hanging with a company that is only marginally better and was not worth all the trouble of a job-change.
Out of these two primary types of resumes, three other complex categories of resumes emerge. The first is a Combination Resume, which is literally a combination of a Chronological and a Functional Resume. Candidates with 8-15 years of experience, who have diversified themselves across many types of job roles (in the same industry) and have an eclectic portfolio of experiences are usually in place to write these kinds of resumes. These are written for highly-competitive upper-strata positions in specific industries. The second type is a Targeted Resume. This is written by candidates who irrespective of the tenure of the career, have gained very vital and complex skills, which are essential for a particular type of company. These are skills that differentiate the industry leaders from the industry followers and hence, can even place a younger person in a very high position, if he/she possesses the said skill-set. The third type is a Mini Resume. It is like a one-sided interview, where the candidate shows the best side of oneself, to take forward the interview process. It is like a meta-resume, something like a go between. These types of resumes are rarely used in jobs and are mostly used by the top-notch universities while screening their candidates. It allows a lot of space for creativity in a small amount of time.
WHY DO STRONG RESUMES NOT MAKE IT TO THE SHORTLIST
Speaking of screening, the modern organizations follow Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS-complaint systems to select the most viable and befitting resumes for a role. It is somewhat of a gross automation that has caught on with companies, for better or for worse. But it is certainly saving them a lot of man-power and hence a lot of money. These are algorithms that help pick up certain keywords from the resume, that are indispensable for the job. It is assumed that because these keywords are so vital, a candidate who deserves the job, will be having them on their resumes, come what may. The companies do not consider the fact that different candidates may have different proficiencies in language; they may express themselves differently to explain the same experiences, or that, they may simply not be articulate enough to ‘say the right thing in the right place’. But that does not make them any less efficient, or any less deserving and worthy of the job! And yet candidates are eliminated, simply because their resumes are missing a few buzzwords or simply don’t look right! That is why, we say, whenever in doubt, seek help! And definitely seek help from the right bunch of people, who might even go beyond buzzwords, and make your unique voice be felt through the resume, so that it is still your baby.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND HELP (AND FOR WHAT)-
After a detailed process of search, we have come up with three companies that we think can help you write your resume to the best. We have chosen them on the rubrics of responsiveness (to candidate-needs), customization (to candidate-diversity), client-feedback (candidate-confidence), and most importantly, content-support (working closely with candidates, when they have little material to put into their resume). The top three companies in our are-
Estorytellers is highly reputed as a digital agency that offers diversified content writing services. Resume writing is something in which they have excelled. Their writers are highly experienced with different types of professional requirements. They promise to write substantial, yet attractive resumes, which will not only help candidates skip the ‘screening’ barrier, but will also be simple enough, so they can refer to it through the interview process.
Their motto is simple- They find you those words, “that convey exactly what you are trying to say”, and just what the employer is waiting to read from your resume and hear coming out of your mouth at the interview table.
They say, “In the interview room, that candidate is so anxious that they often make silly mistakes. And one fumble can send them many steps backwards. Our resumes read like the maps that are already there in the candidate’s head and only have to be materialised on paper. How can you forget something that is already on your mind! We simply help our candidates cover the distance between the top of the mind and the tip of the tongue. That’s it!”
2. Write Right-
This is a company we will recommend for students who, simply put, are “scared” that “there is nothing special enough to put into their resumes”. This company scored highly on all our metrics, especially in content-support and responsiveness. This makes us recommend this company for students who need a detailed and sumptuous resume, in a small amount of time.
The company promises ‘quality’ of content to be smart and absolutely no-nonsense. “Employers cannot tolerate candidates who beat around the bush”, they say. “We help them express a small amount of content to its full but accurate potential”. Their second motto is ‘necessity’- “Anyone can write a resume for a candidate who has been an over-achiever, a star-boy and a destined hero. We cater to the dark horses and the underdogs- because that is where lies the true necessity of students, who can really use our help”.
The clients have marked them highly on “punctuality”. This is one of the major reasons, why Write Right scored so highly- They always hand-over the resumes to the candidates much before the deadline, so that they have time to go through the resume, prepare themselves, and ask for edits, if they want additions or changes to be made. “We are here to help them. We don’t leave our candidates mid-way. This is how we live up to our values of quality, punctuality, and necessity.”
So, if you are apprehensive, scared or simply too shy to advertise yourself before the HR, Write Right might just be the place to go.
This is a company we recommend for unconventional resumes. Remember, we spoke about the three complex types of resumes for candidates, who have very specific jobs and roles to apply to and very specific skills to display before niche employers. This is a company we recommend for them. They scored highly on customization and content-support.
Taletel helps candidates, whose ways in life have been unconventional, diverse and complex. “Such candidates usually come to us with skills and experiences that are unique, and extremely usable for the right job.”
But the problem with such candidates is that, often their stories do not come out the way they are meant to be expressed, and so the experiences that they have gathered through the journey also remain unexplored and unspoken. “We try to speak for these candidates. We tell their tales for them, through their resumes, even before they have entered the interview room. We make sure that the employers get curious about their uniqueness. That more than half the battle won.”
Most interviews go wrong because they do not take a turn in a direction. The interviewers never ask the questions that the candidates want to be asked, things that they can actually elaborate and detail comfortably. That is where companies like Estorytellers, Write Right and Taletel come in. They leave cues and clues all over the resume, making sure that those breadcrumbs will end up being the talking-points in the interview, so it goes in the right direction, intended by the candidates. This is something that the ATS-algorithms also pick up even with unconventional resumes.
Remember, your resume is your real first impression. Don’t let it be your last. Write it with a lot of care. Don’t take unnecessary risks with it. And when in doubt, always seek help.