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DIY: Tips to create a great CV that helps you land a job

Remember, your résumé needs to be more functional and achievement-oriented instead of just listing personal details.

Written by Barun K Mitra | New Delhi |
July 8, 2016 4:26:14 pm
Close-up Of A Businesswoman At Desk Holding Resume Use keywords that match job postings, and change them each time you’re applying to a different company. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

The quality of a résumé or curriculum vitae (Latin for life story, also known as CV) plays a vital role in one’s success in getting selected for a job or for key roles. A résumé is a useful tool that is capable of generating specific results. It is a sort of an advertisement that positions and presents a candidate in the best light. It happens to be the first document that introduces the job seeker to the prospective employer. The employer will form a first impression of the person and also assess the potential fitment of the person against the opening, through the résumé.

The résumé, therefore, forms the critical first contact between the interviewee and the interviewer.

How is the modern CV different from the traditional one?

Focus
In a traditional résumé, personal details like age, gender and marital status were an essential feature, and the prime focus was on education, work history and a list of past roles, duties and responsibilities. The idea was to show the employer the qualifications of the candidates. The length of the résumé ran into multiple pages and every degree and credential was enlisted, whether it was relevant to the job or not.

The fast-paced world today is more interested in results than degrees. The modern résumé needs to be more functional and achievement-oriented. The employer is more interested in what one did in the past role than just knowing what that role was. The effective résumé today has focus on career accomplishments that are relevant to the applied job. Generic career objectives and summaries do not catch the eye of hiring managers anymore and, therefore, find no place in a modern résumé. Instead, target-specific goals and performance profiles that are relevant to the desired post are an integral and primary part of modern résumés.

Format
The A4 sheets with size 10-12 black-typed font with bulleted lists have been taken over by the electronic version, where the résumé is typed out in the MS Word or PDF format. The world is going paperless and more and more employees prefer electronic résumés that can be forwarded to multiple hiring managers, reduce clutter and can be easily processed through résumé software like ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

Modern résumés, however, have taken a step further and now go beyond the electronic version and leverage the digital world including social media. As a result, there is a proliferation of digital résumés that include video résumés, infographic résumé, social résumé, SlideShare résumés, Visual CV, and many more creative formats.

Here’s an example of a traditional résumé:

cv traditional_759

 

Here’s an example of a modern résumé:

CV modern_759

A few helpful tips while drafting your own résumé:
* Use easy-to-read fonts and avoid fancy adornment.
* Eliminate all irrelevant points that do not speak for you loudly enough. Your main is to convincingly focus on the strengths (hard skills and personality/soft skills).
* Humility is a virtue. Stating one’s strength should be done in a modest manner so that it is not constructed as being arrogant.
* Showing a balance of strengths and weaknesses (or successes and failures) can be very powerful for senior leadership positions.
* Do not include cliché words (like hard-working, goal-oriented), exclamation marks or abbreviations.
* If you are applying to several different companies, you should customise your résumé to each. The résumé content should resonate with each job requirements.
* It is necessary to include a forwarding or covering letter along with the résumé. This should be a formal text, written in a crisp manner (not verbose) and show a professional mindset both in content and format. It must not be written in a tardy and callous manner with grammatical errors or colloquial language.
* Use keywords that match job postings.
* It is also necessary to state the names of two or three persons reputed in your field and who you know personally, as references.
* The most critical point to always remember is to never ever deviate from the truth. If detected, even much later in your career, even minor deviations from the facts can not only cost you your job, but also reputation and more.

This is an excerpt from the book Personality Development and Soft Skills, authored by Barun K Mitra and published by Oxford University Press.

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