This article first appeared on IHRM Journal September 1, 2010. I have shared it here for the benefit of the visitors.
The basics of resume / CV writing resume is an evolving description of your experiences that documents your skills and knowledge, network and the referees.
It is an outline of your accomplishments; commonly referred to in the job adverts as hands-on experience of a number of years at a level in the management or track record and the resume is a communiqué about the match up of your competence and qualifications to the job.
The resume is also a record of your identification details (bio-data) and contact information, which you can leave with potential employers or employer’s agents for their use and / or sharing within their membership network. In such case usually information is collected by a standard form e.g. the United Nations (UN) P11 for those seeking employment in the UN establishments, Norwegian Refugee Council Forms, Public Service of Kenya (PSCK) for serving Civil Servants.
Each edition of your Resume is a presentation designed for a specific employer and a specific job. You need to have tailor-made Resume for each job application. This is one the 7(seven) model Checklist in the Article “Advance your Resume” in the HR Management Journal of May /June 2010.
You should always have an up to-date edition of your resume, but you should consider its format and style anytime you undertake a new search. This will be covered partly in this article.
The purpose of a resume /CV is to introduce yourself to prospective employers. The objective is to present your expertise clearly and succinctly so that you earn (merit) an invitation to the recruitment process. This a key point to keep in mind.
You can be invited for an interview or call for your papers or headhunter to do a background check on you or sit for an aptitude test or required to do case scenario.
The particular mix of qualifications that an employer is seeking will depend on the job or vacancy available to be filled. The more you know about what the employer is looking for, the better you can tailor your Resume.
Your description should be more relevant than any other applicant in language that the recruiter understands. To market your competitive advantage that you bring to the employer to solve their problems. Remember your “sales pitch”. Your resume should communicate both your general and specific qualifications.
In preparing descriptions of your academic achievements, student activities, and employment history or career aspiration, make certain that you document your skills, such as your ability to:- learn quickly; adapt to new environments or manage change; research, analyze, and solve problems; work collaboratively embracing diversity; lead a team or be lead in a team; Employers or their Agents are executives looking (searching) for people who are enthusiastic, energetic, reliable, mature, productive, perceptive, intelligent, persistent, conscientious, and ambitious.
Your resume must meet these criteria.
It should be designed for two types of reading audiences:
i) those scanning your resume should glean your academic degrees, job titles, special experiences, or skills;
ii) they should learn valuable information about your achievements and gain an impression of your competencies, personal values and ethics.
Resume / CVs writing Approaches There are two approaches you can use to write your resume. First, HR Consultants (working with a coach) can help you analyze the relevant skills that you have developed or have the potential to develop in your activities (education and professional studies), work experiences and describe those skills in words that the employer will understand.
Second, Professional resume-writing services will develop your resume for a fee, but they will not produce a resume that is a personal reflection of your experience and uniquely yours. Most of Professional Resume writers use a small number of standard formats and styles. Your resume will look like other peoples’ resumes (other clients) and will probably be recognized that it is not your own work. Lack of originality, depicts one as someone without creativity. It is an abuse / misuse of the Copy and Paste tool in information Technology and Communication (ICT).
I recommend the first approach where the job seeker is helped to write his/her Resume. Please discuss with the HR consultant your unique story (an idea why the employer should hire you) and let him/her “shadow” write your story. A common story among the fishing communities says that it is better to be taught how fish than to be given the fish to feed yourself. The first approach breeds independence and also interdependent whereas the second approach breeds dependence.
However is the link to ResumeMaker where you can buy a program to help you write your resume if you for any reason you are unable find a coach.
You need to thoroughly understand the Resume formats and styles before you start either to write or re-writing your resume.
Resumes Formats and Styles
There are three resumes formats and styles namely Chronological, Functional and the combination of the Functional and chronological.
Resume / CVs- Do It Yourself (DIY) Developing a good resume is a challenging task. The best resumes are usually a product of many drafts. Start by writing a comprehensive outline of all the experiences and information you might want to include. Use an outline as a reference while you experiment with a variety of formats and styles. Then select the most pertinent information from the outline and organize it so that the most important items stand out. In order to develop a resume that communicates your qualifications, you need to understand what employers are seeking. Identify several prospective employers and find out what skills and knowledge they are looking for. Reading the job advert, occupational, professional and the organization literature, visiting a person at work to observe the functions, pace, interpersonal relationships and work environment. HR Consultants / Career Counselors / Placement Advisors can comment on the impression your resume makes and what they learn about you from it.
Post Publication Comments by Readers /Reviewers
“Good article. School/College leavers should invest in developing good CVs. Just like in selling products and services it is the quality and value proposition that matters”.
This is an excellent article. So many people mix up their CVs especially when they are applying for a job that is not related to what they are currently doing. It is good when people understand that they are marketers of their own selves when drafting resumes. Keep the good work and if possible give two templates as examples of good resumes.
Yeah this a very interesting article. This is the full meaning of HR. Am proud to be associated with you. thank you. Mohamed Kofa
A good article indeed. There is need to also touch on the cover letter which is the gateway to the CV in many instances. Keep up the good work. Kind regards. David Kanyanjua
Great insight to making resume/CV and most of all you have emphasised the pertinent need to custom make it to the respective application, highlighting one’s strong points. Maybe the next thing that would benefit readers is how to synergise the cover letter and CV to bring out the best. Judith Njumwah