Monday, September 10, 2007

Resume tips from experience

Last week in OURAeSI club, there were 3+ messages related to job requirement... I hope everyone has seen them and appropriate candidates must have forwarded their resumes by now. But I was wondering how many of them had done it in the right way? I mean what was your checklist before you shot that email carrying your resume for the requirement listed?


Please do let me know in the comments.


Although I haven't sent my resume for a year now, but a year back, when I did, I had this 4 point checklist before I sent my resume to any job requirement.


Is the resume latest?

Do I have the cover letter?

Do my resume match the requirement or needs little adjustments?

Do I know anything about the company I am applying?


Let me elaborate on these points a little bit more. Is my resume the latest is the first thing I checked. Most of the time, it never was. I had to scour my resume back from the sent folders of my email account. Or from the my documents folder where it stayed unattended. Sure it always got updated. The areas which got modified were the dates of previous work experience. I quantified my work experience as 1.5 year (meaning 1 year 6 months), that changed as I progressed month wise. So I needed to include that and give my latest experience figures!  While in NAL, the skills section also got updated to highlight the skills I have picked up since my last resume update. And same thing happened to Project listing. Sometimes skills and projects not needed in for the current requirements were trimmed and re-adjusted.


"Do I have a cover letter?" was the second thought. To this I will emphasize from experience, I know that my all resumes that went with a cover letter brought me a response!! There was not a single instance that my resume with a cover letter didn't get me a call for the interview. I think having cover letter is must.


You can't put everything on your resume and you can't use fancy colors or highlight your resume too much for the risk of looking unprofessional, here cover letter comes handy and useful. A cover letter is one place where you can highlight the specific areas that you want your recruiter to see when they look at your resume. It serves as a good introduction to your resume! So never let a resume go by without a good cover letter accompanying it!


While in NAL, i did various kind of work, some of the work came under design like design of mixed flow compressor, some came under software development where I developed VB applications to do various design calculations and other got into the category of analysis, where using analysis packages to get result was the main responsibility. So having worked on varied kind of work, I had this standard resume, where I listed all my work, major, minor, design related, analysis related and software development related and Every time I had to send a resume, I used to adjust my projects to the requirements, plucking projects and its description from this master standard project-only resume.


Sometimes one project covered and overlapped many different categories. Like I had this project "design of mixed flow centrifugal compressor impeller”; now this had design and during the project I have to develop a VB application to design the compressor. So this project encompassed 2 categories. And having a standard projects-only resume solved my problem. When I said I needed to modify my resume for the appropriate requirement, I meant pushing the project related to the requirement up in the list and including more details to it. Removing the once that were irrelevant, trimming some which do not add much value. This way the resume had the consistency and I was at peace that I haven’t missed any project.


Sometimes, if the requirement was of design nature then the design projects were pushed up and I hightled the points on this project. Even in the skills section of the resume, the skills related to design got highlighted and were emphasized.  Sometime when I knew my work experience directly matched with the requirement; then I made sure that I highlighted the project in my cover letter as well.


Knowing the company I was applying for! Be sure to know what the requirement is and then use Google to search for the company you are applying for. It’s after this that you should craft your cover letter and update your resume. Your cover letter and resume should reflect that you know about the company you are applying for and are aware of the requirements!!


A resume cannot guarantee you a job offer, but a great resume introduced with a good cover letter can help you get an interview.


For more info on how to craft a resume see this excellent link


I am sure you will add your tips in the comments that I might have missed. So feel free to comment!!


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