Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finding Your Voice : Making Your Resume Work for You

The role of a resume has always been subjective. It depends on the owner. Some serves as an identity of the candidate, some serves as the credibility certificate and most, as the communication skills of job seekers finds new low, as the only source of information on the jobseekers.

What is a resume by the way? Originally spelled as résumé, Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as a summary of a set of accomplishments. says it is “a brief account of one's professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application”.

It’s time to take another look as one thing is for certain, resume is not your business card to be stored away by employers for future reference, and a resume is your personal assistant that should work for you!

Indeed, it is a summary of you and your qualifications, a tool and a marketing brochure of you and your career. It is true and it is persuasive in its approach and not just a mere template.

Its purpose is simple: to get you an interview!

Your readers

Yes, you have a reader, whether or not you realise it. A writer craves recognition from his or her readers. A sports columnists throws his views and opinions that should intrigue and trigger response to sports enthusiasts, while a political journalist would comment on the current state of the nation to the amusement or the dismay of newspaper readers with a nose for armchair politics.

Likewise, a resume is basically a piece of literature, albeit non-fiction of yours, that should pique the interest of your readers.

Who are your resume readers then?

Well, there are actually two stages of readers. On the first stage occupies human resource (HR) executives and HR Managers. The second stage would see readers such as the hiring managers (big corporations), department heads followed by general managers, managing directors and chief executive officers.

In short, it’s no ordinary bunch of readers you have there…and it shows how much the content of your resume is worth.

Most writers write with readers in their mind. A typical reader would appreciate this and that content; expect this and that issue, can digest this and that conclusion. It is no different with your resume.
The difference here is you have two set of readers. Here the first stage readers (remember, the HR execs and managers) would do a skim-scan, meaning they have no time to delve into details, just quick to the point on whether or not to shortlist you. This is where brevity matters.

Readers Objectives

Their main objective is two:

1. To disqualify as many candidates as possible

2. To shortlist listing candidates

The first objective certainly sounds nasty, but someone has to do it and an ineffective resume, i.e. totally unreadable and messy resume, no matter how great the experience and qualification is, may not appeal to these eyes.

Once cleared, your resume moves on to the second stage where the decision makers reside. Here, they know that the first stage had shortlisted the best possible candidates and their job has become simpler. They simply have to look at the qualification and match experience with requirements and specific needs, and find Best Possible Fit.

So bear that in mind. Your readers come first when it comes to sitting down and drafting that darned resume of yours. It takes a lot of courage to be honest and honesty is what selling many writers out there and there are no reasons why you resume should be different.