How To Write A Good Resume & CV

You are probably wondering why I have written Resume & CV because all your life you perceived them to be same. There is a small difference. A resume and a CV differ in length. Resumes are generally very short & summarized (one or two pages) whereas CVs are more detailed. In other words, CVs give you lot of scope for story telling but resumes do not. The general format of a resume also differs from that of a CV. For convenience, I have used them interchangeably below & I have also uploaded their respective formats & samples at the end.
‘How to make a sharp, effective & a comprehensive Resume / CV ’ is one question that has troubled / provoked intense thinking amongst a large chunk of today’s working & studying population. This essentially includes students, college pass outs & working professionals, just to broadly categorize.
A simple Google search will give you about 90,100,000 results (as on   04/02/2014, 10.59 AM to be precise) and actually make you wonder if making a good resume / CV is rocket science.
Trust me it is not! The management jargons, Greek-like language & the complications – are not needed.
Don’t worry, it is not rocket science, you are not supposed to act like a gladiator or as if it were an Armageddon. It is just a lot of smart work with a little bit of hard work. Not to mention, if you actually understand the genesis of making a resume, you could be the resume expert within your known circles.
So let’s demystify the entire process step by step:
Although there are sample layouts at the end of this post,  you may use google to find out similar formats which appeal to your interest. The same food that we have at our homes looks much better in a restaurant because of the fancy decoration. The mind says ‘Yes!’ much before the taste buds do their work.
Lesson – Garnish your resume / CV well.
But remember, fashion changes every 6 months. Comfort stays forever. Pick a template or a layout for your CV / Resume that is –
– Simple
– Not flashy
– Looks professional
– Has only black and white colors (Unless of course you are designing a design portfolio which is a different game altogether)
Be very crisp, smart and try to occupy minimum space on the page where your personal details go. In terms of positioning it -you could do it either at the top or at the bottom. The current trend is to mention it right at the top as it provides easy visibility.
When writing your career goal/career objective please DO NOT copy paste a fancy quote from the internet. Your farce will be caught in a jiffy.  It is called career objective and not career subjective- for a good reason.
Spend some time and come up with something that best describes your views. It will be easier for you to explain/defend your position because then you would know exactly why those words are on your CV.
(Please note that Career goals / objectives go into the CV, not the resume.)

Anything and everything that you consider to be your achievement must find a mention here, provided you are absolutely crystal clear as to why that particular thing is an achievement. Achievements need not be only examples of public glory or display- they could simply also be something; which gave you tremendous satisfaction personally.
For instance some people write that coming 2nd in a competition is an achievement. Why? there are many people who would have come first as well! You can say that there were 2, 00,000 participants out of whom you attained a position. So the messages are clear; if you know the “Why” and how to “Defend” – Go ahead and include the same as your achievement.
Here again it is advisable that you consult a senior before you proceed with the final draft. Your maximum interview might revolve around your achievements & work history (for work ex junta). So, it becomes important that you put a very careful thought about ‘what to include’ & ‘what to leave’.
 Career history/experience must be to the point too. Do the following with these:
  • Mention clearly the time frames that you were associated with various jobs/companies in the past.
  • Clearly outline you job role and your responsibilities along with company name and designation details.
  • Avoid writing at length. I would suggest that you should write in points keeping in mind all the above parameters. Modern format is ‘Recent to the Oldest’ in chronology of writing.
Here again be very precise. Clearly state the name of the degree, college, year /batch along with your CGPA or percentage, whichever is applicable. Avoid use of unnecessary big tables, smart bullet points. When drafted well; it should do the trick for you.
If there are some other worthy qualification that you posses, then you must enlist the same under a separate heading “Other Qualifications”, to make sure that they get due attention. The mantra still remains the same, be short -be crisp.
Only one golden rule applies here. If you are 100% sure that you can answer all questions when quizzed about something that you call it as your hobby then go ahead and write that under “HOBBIES” else it is always a safe bet to bracket them as interest areas so that you allow yourself an escape route as well. Try & ‘Be Specific’ , when writing hobbies. Reading ‘Fiction books of a particular genre’ is better than just stating ‘Reading’ ; as a hobby. Think — WHY??
Be very careful about the kind of words and language that you use in your resume. Just like the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the way you behave; the words and the language you use are an extension of your own personality and you would not want to play with it at any cost or leave an impression which is just not you. So use them preciously and judiciously.   Informality in language could jeopardize your entire thing.
Additional points for a CV :
  1. Take more space.
  2. Elaborate your Career objectives, experiences, roles etc (as in the format below). But, do not ramble on. Even in a CV, you need to be concise.
  3. Very cunning strategy:- Definitely include keywords as ‘Managed’ , ‘Led’, ‘Organized’ etc. Search engines of job portals at times use such words to shortlist CVs / Resumes.
Generally academicians with published papers and journals and professionals with many years of work experience use a CV. Resume is mainly used by job / admission seekers at the beginning of their careers as the document is not very exhaustive at that point in time. However, there could always be exceptions to these rule J
We have discussed a lot of Dos. Now, let’s do some Don’ts :
  1. Do not use fancy fonts. Times New Roman, Calibri, Arial Black etc are perfectly fine fonts to use. NEVER USE COMIC SANS on your CV / Resume. Fonts & typography talk a lot about the candidate’s creative abilities. Make sure yours gives a good report.
  2. Don’t make grammatical mistakes in your resume / CV. That could prove to be extremely costly. Get it checked by 5 people if you need to. But avoid this mistake.
  3. Use short sentences. It is not a literary contest to be won.
  4. Avoid writing “I did..”, “I was…”, “My grades…”. It is your resume / CV hence it is implied. This will not only save you space but also make you sound sharper, more professional & coherent.
  5. If you are mentioning references, make sure those referees are aware that they might get contacted by the company you are submitting your resume / CV to.
  6. If you have a very stupid / fancy email address, please create a new   or ­are just NOT COOL and hard to type as well.  

And now go & happily & cunningly write your Resume / CV.

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