You’re brimming with energy, enthusiasm, and confidence. You know you have what it takes to get the job you want, at the company you want. You excitedly practice your interview in front of a mirror, and even plan your attire for that momentous occasion.
Hold it right there. Before you prepare to dazzle your interviewer with your charming personality, you have to realize first that you typically don’t get to create that first impression face-to-face. Before you even sit down with your interviewer, he has to get to know you through a very important document you have to prepare: your resume.
Think of your resume as the first step to letting employers get to know you, on paper (or online). Do it wrong, and they’ll probably never get to experience the pleasure of your charming personality. Do it right, and they’ll say, “We’d like to meet this person.”
The good news is, learning how to write a resume isn’t rocket science. It’s just a matter of keeping some simple fundamentals in mind. Whether you’re looking for a part-time job, a student job, an entry-level job, or a fresh graduate job in Singapore, the guidelines for writing a good resume remain the same.
Know the employer’s submission requirements. Most employers are very specific about the file formats of resumes they want to receive. If they specify that they only accept .doc, .docx, .pdf, or .rtf files, then give them only one of these. Don’t try to impress them with a full-production, 12-MB .mov file of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Such media are for companies presenting their credentials to prospective clients, not for jobseekers.
Keep it short and simple. Nothing turns off a manager more than a resume with large blocks of text filled with lengthy, complex sentences and high-sounding words. Such a document is a sure death sentence for your job seeking prospects. Instead of paragraphs, use bullet points, and keep these as concise as possible. Avoid specialized jargon. Use everyday language that anyone would be able to understand.
Use one, and only one, simple font. You may be tempted to “art direct” your resume, using headings with fancy fonts and body text with another font. Don’t! The employer is looking for someone to fill an important position in the company, not someone to design their posters. Use proven, easy-to-read fonts like Times Roman, Helvetica, or Arial. The ideal size for body text is 12 points, with the absolute minimum at 10 points. For headings, you may go as high as 14 points, or simply render these in boldface.
Include your educational background. Typically, employers want to know their employees’ complete educational background, from grade school to high school to college, and even masteral and doctoral levels. Provide all this information, including the schools you went to and the years you attended these levels. Even if you’re still a student looking for a part-time job, state your year level at the time of the preparation of your resume.
Highlight your particular skills. The person reading your resume wants to know what you can contribute to his company. Use clear terms like “Account Management,” “PR Writing,” “Office Administration,” “IT Programming,” etc. Also include whatever supervisory or management skills you may possess, like “Production Team Supervision” or “New Business Development Department Management.”
Give your complete employment history details. Make sure you give all of the following information when stating you work experience:
- Company name and location
- Role title
- Start date and end date
- Brief description of responsibilities
These are based on the resume template Singapore companies recognize as the standard.
State your achievements in specific terms. When enumerating the high points of your career, avoid vague, non-quantified statements. For example, “Formulated the marketing strategy that propelled JObDB from number three to number one in the market” is much more specific than “Played a critical role in the marketing team that propelled jobsDB to new heights.” Here’s another example: “Designed software that cut down Finance Department’s payroll computation time from four hours to 30 minutes” is more specific than “Designed software that greatly assisted Finance Department.”
Place your contact information at the end. Not at the start, not at the middle, but at the end. Think of your resume as a letter, with your contact information as part of your sign-off. This is your way of saying, “Now that I’ve told you all about myself, here’s how you can contact me.” Check it again… and again. It’s obvious – but still worth stressing – that before you hit the “send” button, you have to make sure your resume contains no factual or grammatical errors. Go over your document twice or even thrice to make sure you have all your facts right, and all your thoughts properly expressed. And remember, there’s only so much that spell check can do for you. For example, it won’t flag a word like “seduction” if what you meant to type was “deduction.”
If you think that preparing your resume may be a bit time-consuming, well, you’re right. But investing in the time will be well worth it when you see how many employers will want to meet you. Only then will you be able to put your charming personality in full display. And get the job you want.