Najm is an employment enthusiast who enjoys providing guidance on job-seeking, resume-crafting, interview preparedness, and more.
Have you ever wondered why, despite having everything an individual seeking a decent job ought to possess, you still fail to impress your potential employers? Why do you suppose a person who is far less qualified than yourself always seems to win a company's attention, while you, on the contrary, with your outstanding grades and profound experience, don’t seem to have a similar effect? The problem may be your resume.
Why Is Your Resume so Important?
Drafting an effective resume is kind of like trying to win a hard-headed partner's hand in marriage. Allow me to explain—a hard-headed partner will not simply fall for your good looks and charm. They enjoy straightforward commitments rather than sweet talk. They want to know what is it that you can give them that no other partner can.
You need to think smart and plan your approach to avoid rejection. In the same manner, you need to prove to your prospective employer that you are the candidate they are looking for. But the question is, how do you grab their attention?
What to Avoid When Crafting Your Resume
Before we explore the road to impressing your potential employers, let us focus on things that you should avoid, as these could cause you the loss of an opportunity to grab your dream job. A wise man called Oscar Wilde once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to prospective employers, your first impression is almost always delivered through your resume.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
If your resume contains grammatical errors and sloppy language, the employer will perceive you as incompetent and careless. “If this person can’t avoid errors in something as simple as a resume, then how will they manage the complex tasks they'll be taking on for our organization?"
Overuse of Colors and Fonts
It's also important to avoid making your resume too cluttered or visually distracting. When I was young, I loved typing in bright colors and fancy fonts thinking it would impress my readers. This worked well for me as a child, but adults seeking employment should almost always avoid this. If you use too many bright colors, experiment with too many font styles, or use a font style that causes your employer to squint, then you are in deep trouble.
Overly General Statements
Avoid making extremely generalized statements or stating duties in your resume. Don’t simply state that you worked as an assistant sales manager or helped to boost the company’s revenue by 130%. Instead, state that you worked hand-in-hand with your sales team, revised the company’s entire sales strategy, and performed cold calls to generate leads that resulted in you outperforming your annual targets. You may also state the various sales management software you used while performing your duties to let the employer know about your computer literacy.
Overly Long or Short Resume
Do not make your resume too short or too long. I know it is hard to set a standard for the length of a preferred resume, but try your best to provide something that is just sufficient. Don’t make your resume so long that your employer gets bored and drifts to thinking about the amazing burger they had on their way to work. Don’t make it too short just because you don’t want to exceed the one or two-page limit and end up omitting valuable information. Be smart and find a balance between these two extreme cases.
Errors in Your Contact Info
Last but not least, avoid errors in your contact details. Just imagine that you have everything your employer is looking fo, and they want to hire you, but they can’t get in touch because the email address or phone number you provided is wrong.
How to Create an Effective Resume
I can hear your thinking, “Why doesn’t she just tell us how to make an awesome resume already?” In fact, I have actually already given you most of the information required to write a killer resume. Aside from avoiding the pitfalls mentioned above, there aren’t many hardcore rules you have to follow, but there are a few things you should be sure to focus on:
- Make it professional and avoid grammatical errors.
- Make it visually attractive by using no more than two different fonts and dark colours. Black and dark blue will do the job, but avoid colors like pink and light green. It is ok to bold your headings or areas of importance.
- Be specific. Do not beat around the bush.
- Explain your actions and accomplishments at your previous jobs rather than simply stating your responsibilities.
- Don’t fill it with unnecessary details, but do ensure that all the crucial information is provided.
- Double-check that your contact details are correct.
- Customize your resume for each position you are applying for. Don’t be lazy and send a single resume to all jobs. Like I mentioned earlier, show the employer that you have what they are looking for.
If you have now prepared a well-organized resume, it's time to confidently apply for your dream job and wait for the call. If they don’t call you because the company is looking for a university graduate and you just did your A-Levels, don’t blame me!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Najm Fareed