Saturday, February 6, 2016

Writing an Awesome Resume

I think clinching the job I have in the most awesome company on earth was mainly because I had a well-written resume. When I applied my self-esteem was down in the dumps. I had a boss who battered me at work. Her continued evil ways eventually eroded who I was and I came to a point I questioned my skills and abilities. I then sought the help of my Kuya to re-write my resume. He didn't spoon feed me instead he gave me a thick book on how to write a resume. The book would walk you through point by point (sorry I don't remember the title, I just remember it was a red book).

I think the recruiter was so amazed with my resume she emailed me back within 24 hours after I sent in my application (she was based in New York). The day I applied I was so angry with my boss because she had shamed me again. I had seen the opening 3-4 months before I actually applied and when I saw it I thought it was such a tall order for me. I mustered enough courage to apply only because I felt I needed to get out of that company.

That was ten years ago, February 2006.

So how does one write an awesome resume? The key is to make it clear, concise and it should highlight your best achievement. I learned from the book it should have the following parts:

Career Summary - the career summary should describe in 2-3 sentences what your skills and competencies are. If you are a business person, define your competencies using business language, i.e. skilled in developing and implementing marketing communication and strategic business plans. (I now realize I have to re-work my resume since I'm more focused on program management already).

Education - identify the school you graduated from, your degree/s, your awards and key courses that support your career.

Business Experience - start with the most recent or your present work. Identify the company, your position, the years you've worked there. Then have 1-2 sentences which summarize your key work responsibilities. After that have about 3 bullet points that define specific responsibilities. It helps a lot when you include some stats like achievements on what you were able to increase or numbers where you surpassed targets. If you've had a gazillion other jobs (like me), just highlight the ones that support the role you are applying for and just mention the other companies in the next segment. So just highlight about 3 significant jobs here.

Previous Business Experience - if you were an intern for a company and have joined a gazillion other companies this is where you put it. You can also highlight any significant events you've worked on here. Keep it to a maximum of 5 sentences.

Extra Curricular Activities - when I was younger and didn't have enough business experience this part came in very handy to attract recruiters. My Ate told me when I was in university that it was important that I become active in school because that's one thing recruiters look at. She was right and I learned a lot of tricks in the orgs/publications I was part of. I could honestly say that the skills I picked up from being part of our student publications helped me in churning out awesome newsletters/reports at work. So don't just study, be active in school!

Personal Background - this is where you divulge your birthday, the languages you are fluent at and identify the technologies you are proficient in (I am sure Pagemarker 5.0 is totally unacceptable nowadays LOL). And then you can share as well your interests like blogging, writing, quilting (don't include sleeping as it would probably not give a good impression). If you've attended seminars/workshops, have published works, research, references you can just add a sentence to say that these are available (you'd need to have it on a separate sheet).

Generally keep you resume to just 2 pages. I do a lot of interviews and I honestly just look at the first two pages and I appreciate more when resumes are concisely constructed.

I hope this simple guide can help you find an awesome job!