Sunday, May 31, 2009

7 CV/Resume Tips at Both at Scrutinizer and Employer Level

Please note that, a CV/Resume is your catalog and you are the product. Therefore, no one knows better about this product than you. So, try to make the CV/Resume by yourself without the help of any consultant. Like the product catalogs for promotion, you have to apply several marketing strategy to market yourself. Here are some the tricks that I follow:

CV Scrutinizer

Self Marketing Tips at Scrutinizer Level

Scrutinizer is a person who picks up your CV/Resume first before it reaches the hands of the employer.
  1. If your CV/Resume is in the hands of a scrutinizer, he has maximum 20 seconds for you. So, always have a impressive cover page for your CV/Resume that almost summarizes all your activities and can be easily browsed (not read) in less than 20 seconds.
  2. To save the time and effort of the hardworking scrutinizer, highlight/bold some of the important keywords on your cover page that you want him/her to see. e.g. Worked as a full time volunteer for Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) from 2003-2005 (3 years). Now read the bold texts, it reads - Worked as volunteer for YMCA 3 years. i.e. Use a formal tone in choosing words for your CV, but don't let the scrutinizer read the whole text.
  3. Try to avoid bullets for lists, because bullets itself attracts the eyes of the scrutinizer and words get least highlighted. i.e. Give more emphasis on words, not graphics or bullets. One of my favorite is the table form categorization.
  4. Try to mention your career objective (specific to the job you are applying for), strengths & qualifications, educational & professional brief, achievements or portfolio, and especially contact information on the cover page.
  5. Give reference where the employer (next person after the scrutinizer) can get further information to the statements you provided in the cover page. e.g. "Please refer to Item # 5B for more information about Language Proficiency". This will help scrutinizer from being overfed and the employer to get a healthy diet. Moreover, please give indication at below that this is a cover page and there are more.
  6. To attract the scrutinizer, submit the CV in different color paper that can easily be granted as formal color, like off white, cream, pale sky, and other very light colors. If everyone is going for this strategy, then go for plain white color. No matter what, your CV/Resume should look different than others so that the scrutinizer can easily pickup your CV in the first look and be interested to give your CV/Resume substantial amount of time.
  7. As for staying different than others, don't use words that everyone is using and don't make your CV just another boring CV for the scrutinizer. Use your creativity in choosing formal words. Try to give the scrutinizer the worth of his time. Because, he would be reading all same and boring stuff, when he starts looking into other CVs.


Self Marketing Tips at Employer Level

After being scrutinized, the CV/Resume reaches the hands of the employer.
  1. The employer has about 60-90 seconds for reading your CV/Resume so you should prepare the CV/Resume considering this fact.
  2. Don't make your CV too long and boring to read because employers are very busy people. For many, HR is not a priority job for them. Most of the time, these people spare their important work time to read your CV/Resume. Again, don't make your CV/Resume too short so that your employer thinks that you have less to tell about yourself. This is a fact that, those who work hard, can tell a lot about themselves and vice versa.
  3. Have a nice looking CV/Resume site for yourself. If you want to say more about yourself, try refer to specific page or URL in your CV/Resume site for more information, but provide only a brief in the CV/Resume. This is quite helpful when you mention Publications. Prepare PDF files of your publications and upload them to your CV/Resume site. And refer them to your site. 
  4. Shorten your URL using from logged in account. So, when an employer visits your URL, you can spy on the stats. You can also customize an URL using ? and parameters after it. e.g. your URL can be like this, this custom URL will actually take you to, but you can get a separate Bitly short URL for that, which can help you track which employer actually read your CV.
  5. Try to push less important information at the back and most important information (that can influence the employer in making decision) at first. e.g. Keep Personal Information and references way back of the CV.
  6. Make the CV specific to the job. e.g. you might have a list of about 25 extracurricular activities, but list only a few that you think can get you the job.
  7. Try to avoid the word "Hobbies" instead you can use "Freelance Activities". These are not activities like "Extracurricular Activities" that has expired, rather activities that you do quite often. e.g. Camp Leader in Summer camp, Blogging, developmental reading (like-how to books), etc. Movies, music, etc. as hobbies can make you weaker. If you are applying for the position of Movie Reviewer, then it is perfect.
  8. Rather than highlighting your duties, highlight your challenges and how you have overcome them while mentioning your achievements. Any achievement is worth nothing, if there were no challenges. Try to highlight challenges to make your achievement look great. Usually programmers know that, knowing and working with codes as per duty does not make you an experienced programmer. It depends mostly upon how many troubleshooting you did, in other words how many challenges and problems you faced. Achievements are more important than your qualification and most of the time not related to your qualification.
I hope these tips will be helpful for you and not too long and boring to read.

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