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Resume screening is like an arranged marriage meeting where you decide whether the girl / boy is smart, has good values, is compatible, has a good future etc etc in just 30 mins. Similarly a recruiter in India spends less than 90 seconds to decide the fate of a bio-data. So here are some quick tips on how to ensure you grab the recruiter’s attention.

1.  Grooming of your resume First impressions count big time. And a chaotic format of a resume is a sure shot way of ruining it.

  • If you think a different font for every different para is a good idea, please stop now. And if you are copy pasting words from different resumes and job descriptions, the least you can do is change all their fonts to one type and size.
  • Avoid using different colour fonts. I once got a resume in pink font. Sure it caught my attention. But for the wrong reasons.
  • Keep the format simple and consistent. I get resumes where Experience one will have dates, role, reporting and then Experience two will have only grade and summary. If you are trying to be creative, it’s not working.
  • Font size has to be between 10 and 12 and the zoom should be at 100%. It’s easy on the eyes.
  • And oh please take care of alignment. It just leaves a bad after taste.

And to make your life easy, I have created a format of a resume I like. You could use it if you like. Click on this link to download it Format of a Resume

2.  Spelling & Grammar Why would you make spelling or grammatical mistakes? If your English is not good, apply the principle..…. Jo bhagvaan nahi deta, voh doctor deta hai. Don’t shy away from using spelling and grammar checks available on your PC. They can almost make your language error free. And those with very good English, please control yourselves. This is not a contest about who can put in extravagant words.

3.  Less is more Believe me just because you have sent 4 pages of your resume doesn’t mean you have done more work.  Resumes should never be more than 2 pages. In India, a 3 page may still be acceptable, but anything more than that and you look like a sales person who doesn’t stop talking. When sending your resume to countries outside India, a one page or maximum 2 page bio-data is preferred.

4.  The story board Stop the urge of writing your experience in the order that pleases you. Reverse chronology is a good way to go. You must start with the most recent experience and end with your first.

5.  “Mam, I put these dates by mistake on resume” Last words of an employee before he gets fired. I can’t stress on this point more. Don’t fudge your dates. Don’t try to cover up your gaps. Believe me, all organisations are open to hiring those candidates who have taken a break in their career. But almost no organization will keep a candidate who lied on his resume. It’s a vicious circle, you lose the job immediately and create another break in your career which you would have to hide again by fudging yet another time.

6.  Highlight achievements You need to mention some of the big achievements in your job. Just writing about your responsibility may not be enough. If you have had no noteworthy achievements, skip it.

7.  Optional I am not a fan of candidates writing their hobbies, family details and reference details on the resume. You may want to mention it if you are an absolute fresher and you got nothing else to write. But try to think of hobbies outside – travelling, reading, cooking and watching movies. Recruiters have a blind spot to these.  Freshers need to mention more about their internships, projects or summer jobs.

8.  Don’t miss out essentials Some resumes are without email ids. If the companies you have worked for are not the TATAs and Birlas, please write a line or two about them. I assume by default that those who don’t mention their date of birth or graduation year have reasons for hiding it. So if you don’t have a reason, don’t hide it.

9.  Content Try to make the content in your resume yourself. Fancy and fake responsibilities might get you an interview. But almost never get you the job. Market yourself well through the work you have done, but don’t overdo it. Leave some things to be talked about in an interview. If you have a varied experience, you should customize your resume on the basis of the job you are applying for.

10.  Covering Letters Covering letters are passé, but what I mean here is the body of the email that houses your resume as an attachment. Keep this crisp and clear. Talk about what kind of job you are looking for and your location preferences. How formal the language on the email should be is based on the type of industry or company you are applying for. PSUs or old economy industries prefer a formal language. However the sunrise industries may prefer a slightly informal verbiage. So if you thought the above were some useful tips, watch out for my next post on Interview Tips. Coming soooooon…