Thursday, February 14, 2008



There are many Do’s and Don’ts during the preparation of a resume. Proper format and standard needs to be followed while preparing a resume. The research paper explains briefly about the reasons and what makes the resume different from Curriculum Vitae (CV). Various types of resumes have been mentioned. It is essential to lay stress on 4A’s such as Attitude, Aptitude, Abilities and Awareness. There are several do’s and don’ts while preparing a resume. The importance of application letter along with resume is equally stressed upon. If necessary, the applicant can consult professional resume makers for advice and help. At the end it effectively and efficiently linked all the four steps of any selection procedure such as application letter, resume, interview and employment

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Resume is an honest and neat account of information and document of an individual which reflects the mind set, skills set and tools set. It works as a link from the applicant to the prospective employer and if it is prepared and presented properly, perfectly and professionally then the applicant will be short listed for the interview. Resume is the index of an individual. The employer develops an imagination of the individual and if he finds that the applicant is acceptable, suitable, and capable for the post he will be given an opportunity for the interview. At the time of interview the employer looks for the compatibility of his imaginative information with that of the physical presence of the person. If there is match between the both then it becomes a positive signal to proceed further to check for other qualities.

Every resume contains the basic information about education, experience, skills, other activities and achievements of the applicant. There is slight variation between resume and curriculum vitae (CV). Resume usually runs from one to two pages outlining basically about educational background, professional experience, the skills and abilities of the applicant. Where as the CV is a running document usually between 2 to 4 pages with the important information related to research activities, awards, medals, honors, any presentations, publications, affiliations etc., apart from the educational background, professional experience and the skills and abilities mentioned in the resume. In brief, CV is an extension of a resume with more length and with more elaborative explanation with information.


There are various types of resumes but in general there are three types. They are 1) Functional resume 2) Chronological resume and 3) Mixture of functional and chronological resume.

Functional resume is meant for freshers. As the name implies it explains about the specific skills set and tools set one possesses. A specialized resume is to focus a specific area of activity and interest. Its format and pattern immediately catches the attention of the employer as the specific skills are highlighted starting from the highest important skills to the lowest ones.

Chronological resume is meant for non-freshers which have conservative approach of providing information about education, experience with a career objective initially. While stating both education and experience, do state in the reverse chronological order i.e. starting from the present to the next immediate past to the next immediate past and so on.

The third type of resume is the mixture of the two capitalizing both the functional aspects as well as chronological order. It starts with the name of the applicant as heading with address, email and contact number followed by career objective, educational background and experience. A brief explanation about the functional skills as well as key qualifications are stated followed by special attitude of the applicant, honor, achievement and activities, hobbies, preferred place of posting, CTC and references. If the applicant wants to work in a specific place only then he has to state but it limits the job opportunities. Some lay CTC is optional and reference should be given only upon request and don’t give the details of the references. This kind of resume takes the advantages of the features of both functional and chronological resume.


The applicant has to look at his attitude, aptitude, abilities and awareness before preparing a resume. The attitude towards the kind of career he is looking for is very important. If the attitude is not directed properly he will not be able to enjoy his career. He should equally look for aptitude. It is like a specific bent of mind one should possess mentally. He should analyze and diagnose himself whether he has capabilities towards a particular profession. Every job requires its own skills and abilities. The applicant should analyze his strengths and weaknesses rather than looking for opportunities and threats. After taking stock of the strongest points he should choose a career of his attitude, aptitude and abilities. The last A is the awareness that is looking at the opportunities rather than threats. It is like doing a lot of research towards the chosen career and possessing awareness of the potential job market and its prospects. This is a highly competitive world and always go by the road less traveled. The four A’s, if attempted, with practical approach then the applicant can proceed for preparation of a professional resume.


A few Do’s are stated below

• Keep it simple and straight and crisp and clear. Brevity is the soul of wit. Employer may take less than 120 seconds to scan your resume.
• Present the key qualifications first, followed by the lesser significance ones so as to create the first best impression.
• Use bold or italics for key words for quick attention to your resume. It helps in better and faster understanding of the contents and also it saves the time of the reader.
• Use adjectives and action verbs and at the same time avoid using excessive adjectives.
• Be specific and objective in your approach.
• List out your extra curricular activities related to any achievements either at the personal level or at the professional level.
• If you acquired high grades/marks state or else no.
• Do clearly specify the breaks in the work experience in reverse sequential manner.
• Explain in brief about your extra curricular activities.
• State if you have undergone any courses or workshop attended. And also mention if you know more languages.
• Add job skills in a brief manner like excellent in both oral and written communicant skills, successfully worked in teams, motivated the workers to contribute better, etc.,
• Your resume should rise from the rest. It should be catchy and should look different from others in both content and style.
• Give a professional touch. Add jargon depending upon the post you are applying. For instance, if you are applying for the post of corporate trainer, state the jargon like ‘organized training sessions’, ‘motivated the audience’, ‘in house seminars’, ‘full time or freelance trainer’ etc., You can also add terms like ‘counseled or mentored’ etc., Every area of activity has its own jargon. By mentioning specific jargon, you can easily draw the attention of the reader thereby making things easier for you.
• Before writing the resume list out all your achievements and shortlist the ones which are very strong.
• Surf number of search engines and you can find out sample resumes which provide you directions.
• Arrange your educational and work experience in reverse chronological order.
• Do consult professional resume makers who will prove to be an immense help. You can also consult experienced people who can help in providing right tools and techniques.
• Do keep a master copy of each resume when you send to the employer as it will help you to know before the interview. It is especially useful when you use multiple resumes. It will help you recall which resume was sent where. There is also software to track, identify and inform you the same.
• Customize and target your resume to meet specific prospective employer.
• State everything honestly and your entire interview revolves around your resume. And you have to read the resume number of times before you proceed for an interview.
• You need to sell out yourself in such a way that you are short listed for interview.
• Your resume is a link between what you have and what the employer looks for. And if the gap is minimized the probability of selection is brighter.
• Specific skills can be arranged in a bulleted format.
• Do create and generate interest and enthusiasm to the employer to read.
• If you go for a career shift, do lay stress on transferable skills.
• After completion of the resume, do host the same for higher traffic and enquiries.


• Don’t decorate with too many fonts.
• Don’t keep any heading like resume or CV.
• Don’t mention about references unless asked.
• Don’t state the expected salary. Rather write it negotiable. If you mention you may lose the opportunity to attend for interview. During interview if the employer finds that you are more capable then he can consider you for higher post with higher salary in the same organization.
• Don’t state the reason if you are fired. State clearly that the dismissal matter will be disclosed during the interview. It helps you to explain the reasons for your dismissal in person.
• Don’t use excessive personal pronouns.
• Don’t mention any political or religious affiliations.
• Don’t mention outdated buzzword.
• Don’t give irrelevant information. Avoid stating age, sex, marital status, number of kids and other personal or family information.
• Don’t send photograph unless asked for.
• Don’t mention the reasons if you are unemployed presently.
• Don’t convert your resume into an autobiography.
• Don’t state unrelated qualifications, courses and experience as that leads to confusion.


After having prepared the resume efficiently and effectively it is the time to prepare a letter of application or a covering letter for the resume. It is like an abstract for any research paper. If the abstract is interesting with important information and if it arouses the interest and enthusiasm in the editor then the real script will go for scanning or else it would go to trash. Similarly the application letter is equally important as it provides link between applicant and the real resume. Therefore, in this context, it is essential to provide a few tools and techniques for an effective application letter.

1. In case of a solicited resume it is easier to write as the employer has called for your resume. Where as in the case of unsolicited resume you have to put more efforts to present and prove yourself as the resume was not called for.
2. Personalize the letter by maintaining name followed by the designation or title. It makes the person feel more important than his professional designation.
3. Start with statistical information or interesting news about the company or the institution you apply. For instance, the author has applied for the permanent faculty in Indian School of Business (ISB) by referring the Business Line newspaper report as ‘ISB Ranks 20th in the world’ in the subject matter and has sent his resume by personalizing the mail to the Dean with a wonderful fact which is a record for any business school from India. That too in a short time. In the first paragraph, he has congratulated. In the second paragraph he has highlighted newspaper report that they are hiking the faculty strength. And he has offered himself for that post. In the third paragraph, he has highlighted his extraordinary skills and abilities with his academic background with his professional achievements. In the fourth paragraph, he has mentioned how he is of a great asset for ISB thereby selling himself. Fifth paragraph, he has requested for an appointment for interview at a mutually convenient date and concluded with optimism and regards.
4. Follow grammar, syntax, punctuations, and use adjectives and action verbs. If you make silly mistakes that indicates your negligence and carelessness.
5. The letter should not be more than a page and preferably just half of the page. The reader may scan for 10 to 20 seconds and stresses on the key words and qualifications by using fonts like bold, italics or underline as it draws the attention of the reader and gets at the contents faster.
6. Use simple and straight sentences preferably with a jargon of the specific post you applied that makes the reader to get into the shoes smartly and sharply.
7. Make it different and catchy it should stand out from the pack of the cards. For instance, worked in defence, pursuing PhD in Soft Skills in Management, Professional Trainer and Writer etc.,
8. In case of a solicited resume start with ‘please refer your advertisement in the ……… dated ……… for the post of ……. And attached or enclosed please find the resume for the same.
9. If it happens to be an unsolicited resume you need to put extra effort, energy and enthusiasm by mentioning like ‘my work experience outlined on the attached resume has equipped with various skills and abilities such as excellent oral and written communication skills, ability to work in teams, or the ability to organize and lead from the front etc.,


For freshers it is recommended to consult professional resume makers. They know the tricks of the trade. They not only bring cosmetic changes in the script but also provide links to the job market. They know the pulse of the job market as they are the link between applicants and prospective employers. Every career has its own specific skills set and tools set. They align your skills and abilities with that of the specific employment by adding technical jargon. They bring so many changes in the script and would give a professional touch and color. The amount you spend to these professionals is negligible when you compare with the returns you get when you are employed.


Preparation of a resume can be compared with that of a research paper. And preparation of application letter for a resume is like preparation of an abstract for a research paper. Application letter must provide the brief summary of the resume. If the application letter is presented by arousing interest and by motivating and navigating the reader then it will be short listed for further reading of a resume. Once the resume is focused neatly and with key contents and qualifications then it will be short listed for interview. And ultimately when the employer is convinced that the applicant is suitable material for the post he would select him for the post.


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