Ways to spruce up your resume without lying
Catch the eye of the recruiter
Your resume has a single task — catch the eye of the recruiter and get you shortlisted from a bunch of qualified candidates.
It is not an autobiography, but a sales pitch telling a story in a visually appealing manner, while highlighting key elements to get a favourable decision.
It is not based on lies or fiction that can destroy your career.
Telling a story
The recruiter is interested in what you can achieve and not in the job description of your previous role.
So, choose to speak about how you cracked a Rs 2 crore client rather than saying you were responsible for sales. Talk about reducing costs by 10% instead of being responsible for budgeting.
Use a common XYZ format to share your story—in situation X, I did Y to achieve Z. For example, established the first overseas office, contributing 10% to the company’s revenue in Year 1.
What will you include?
Make your story relevant and not comprehensive. Tailor your resume to the job description provided. Talk about latest job first —in reverse chronological order and keep education below work experience.
Include your hobbies only if you are a fresher and can showcase your extracurricular achievements instead of professional experience. If you have 15 to 30 years of work experience, club the first 10-20 years under a single heading.
To share additional details, include your LinkedIn profile, your website containing your design portfolio or your finance blog that demonstrates your market expertise and reputation.
Framing a job
Use no more than six bullet points in each section to bring out the wow factor you bring to the table. The biggest achievement is the first point and then onwards in decreasing order of importance. Use an action word to begin a sentence.
“Wrote all press releases” works better than “responsible for press releases”. Remove meaningless adjectives like “passionate”, “dedicated”, “cross-functional” etc. Showcase yourself by quantifying each point with a number and a benchmark.
For example, Best Salesman award for 2017 in a team of 15 for achieving 140% target vs most passionate, dedicated professional in sales team. Use numbers instead of words towards the beginning of sentence. Say supervised 35 people directly instead of directly supervised a team of 35. Finally, use key words from the job description in your bullet points to make it searchable by the Applicant Tracking System used by the employer.
First impression matters
A recruiter on an average spends 6 seconds to figure out whether a CV is worth pursuing. Your job is to make those seconds count. Make the CV easily readable.
Use a uniform font no smaller than 11 points in size. Preferred fonts are Georgia, Ariel, Bell MT, Garamond, Calibri, Tahoma and Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts work better because they are easier to read. Georgia is preferred if your CV is going to be read on a screen.
Make sure your name stands out. Below your name, use a separate line to share your cell number and email id. Do not include your address. Use a standard page margin between 0.5” to 1”. Use a line spacing of around 20% more than your font size to give a clean look.
Go above the field
Someone who is reading your resume on a computer is focused on what is presented in the first screen before scrolling down. Organise your story such that the most important parts are in the top one-third of your resume where it has 90% impact on the decision to shortlist. Your contact details, primary achievements, work summary and latest job elements are best highlighted at the beginning.
Make recruiter’s life easy
Your name should be the filename of your resume so that the recruiter can search for it on her laptop. Submit a pdf instead of a word document so that the recruiter does not face formatting issues.
Do not use acronyms in your resume, unless you are 100% sure that the recruiter understands technical jargon. Thus, FCA may be meaningless but Fellow Chartered Accountant makes sense.
Make sure the resume is skimmable so that the recruiter can capture highlights in a single glance. Convert each job experience headline into bold format and divide your resume into visually separate sections. When you put in a job headline use the sequence – Job title, company name, location followed by date at the end. If your resume is more than one page, at least a third of the new page should be covered with information.
Display due diligence
Avoid careless mistakes on your CV as it conveys either a lack of seriousness about the job or worse – an inability to do a job well. Use a spell checker for errors. Read each sentence backwards to weed out similar sounding words and typos. Read it aloud to see if the sentences make sense.
Click on each link on the pdf to see if they work. Finally, have at least two other pairs of eyes rechecking your hard work.
Don’t risk your career
Forge it: It’s a terrible idea to forge a document to get a job. A fake experience letter, photo-shopped salary slips or a fraudulent degree are caught during the employer’s verification process with a past employer or university, leading to a criminal case at worst and negative references in the industry for the rest of your career.
Make false claims: It’s tempting to overstate salaries or inflate past job titles or length of experience or use an education certificate from a fraudulent university. Know that employers are aware of education diploma mills and reach out to ex-bosses and colleagues for a reference check. A single false claim gets you fired for integrity issues.
Jazz up your past
It’s easy to lapse into overselling and claim sole responsibility for someone else’s achievement or inflate one’s skills. Recruiters have tons of experience with candidates and ask detailed or indirect questions to expose the truth about how the only real contribution was accompanying the boss on sales calls.
Mess up online: Online social verification is the done thing. Every employer will check out potential hires on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even coding platforms if relevant. If not yet done, it’s time to tidy up your professional profile and clean up your angry rants, embarrassing pics and posts to the extent possible.
Pile on the lies: Worse than lying on a resume is trying to cover it up or defend it thus increasing the negative consequences. If you have already submitted or posted a false resume, choose to correct it or withdraw your application before you are in the docks. If that is not possible, come clean at the earliest and apologies for the error.
Note: We are inspired to use this content from various sources of Internet. This is for student’s learning and motivation purpose. We do not claim this to be our own.