Thursday, December 2, 2010

Writing an effective resume. A checklist.

Usually, career writers favor checklists than traditional paragraphs in presenting complicated facts. And no, we're not about to take a stand on a quantity over quality matter in writing... There's no issue to make a stand on to begin with. Do we make it sound like there's one?

The thing is, although we favor the latter more in terms of attacking topics (You should know, considering that we rant like crazy sometimes.), we do acknowledge the promise of using bullet points in explaining things. We have no qualms on doing checklists if it's for our readers' satisfaction.

Why are we talking about checklists, anyway? Yesterday was a success, really. There have been requests for a repeat performance and checklists about other career topics since last night.

Although the enthusiasm in getting us to do this is just, too creepy (Oh crap, here's another request.), there's probably a good reason behind this phenomenon. But to give them credit, when it came to which idea would click and which wouldn’t, our watchers usually knew which buttons to push.

And so, the topic was decided. The new updates on Career Advice also comprise of checklists about resume writing, anyway. Might as well use this time to promote.

Just in case you're getting to the idea, no there's no hesitation on our parts. After all, this blog caters to a topic that's continuously evolving and is viewed by most people as an important aspect of life. Career builders and job hunters are always on a rush; checklists will catch their attention more than bulks of paragraphs, we know. We've conversed with such people long enough to know and be quite sure of that claim.

And so, we present our resume checklist. We're taking a break from career building, career management, job interviewing, and career training today to make way for the resume writing aspect of career.

If you're a regular visitor of this blog, you should know why we're crazy over the strategy of personalisation in resume writing. It will make you stand out for real; among all resume writing tactics, it's probably the one that hands out the highest probability for a job hunter to be eyed. And so, don't be surprised that this will be circling around that idea. Just a word of caution before you accuse us of being biased.

Today’s job market is healthy but tight (We'll be discussing that tomorrow as a part of our latest update on Singapore jobs.) and that has been the case since late last year. A job hunter who wants to get noticed in a sea of competition should therefore effort in writing his resume, given that it'll decide whether he gets an interview or not.

It goes without saying that recruiters are trained in the aspect of picking good candidates based on what they see in paper. Getting their attention takes special effort, so to speak. Not that we're suggesting you print your resume in fancy paper or do anything similar, though. The content is where you should focus your efforts on. It's been proven many times that recruiters get annoyed at over-the-top resumes. Ergo, let your experience, qualifications, and credentials do the talking.

As inspired by the experts on Career Advice, here's our take on writing an effective resume. Catch the employer's attention by taking note of these tips:

1) You. Start from scratch. From basic details to your qualification, write down your career milestones to make a draft. This will serve as your template, where you'll apply the edits later. Career expert Katherine Hansen has listed the following as important resume info in one of her articles:

  • Name, address, contact telephone number and e-mail address
  • Personal data
  • A summary of your work history, roles, experiences, and achievements
  • Summary of your professional qualifications and memberships
  • Summary of your educational history

Make sure you have all those in your draft before you proceed to number two.

2) Fishing for job ads. Although satisfying, a run of the mill approach isn't going to hand you anything good. Read job ads from the beginning to end. Make a list of all those that you think you're qualified for. Use this as a reference for the edits.

3) Making the edits. Like what we've been saying since ages on this blog, personalise your resume based on what the job position asks for. See the requirements against your qualifications in order to do so. Do that for each entry. The actions will take time, we know, but are worth the effort.

You can also add a cover letter to the entourage if you like. Just remember to synchronise its content with the edits you've done for your resume.

4) Sending applications. No one's limiting you to submit only 5 or so applications a day. The purpose of this entry is to clear that out. You can send as many as you like, as long as the resume has been edited appropriately.

5) Make a log book for the applications you've sent. So you'd know which of your edits worked and which didn't.

More resources.
This classic list by Sandra Sandu-Reeves is also a good reference. Another favourite on Job Hunt Tips, we want you to take note of Sandra's points at as well to improve your edits.

For those who’ve built their credentials from temp jobs, Katherine Hansen has an article on building a temping resume at The writing can be tricky if this is your case so, do read.

How can you check for errors? We suggest you consult this article from Adecco Singapore at They've listed down the most common of all resume faux pas.

The new uploads on Career Advice that you should definitely read:

Are Headhunters Calling You . . . Or Ignoring You? Ex-Recruiter Reveals Secrets to Gaining Headhunter's Attention
Preparing Your Resume
Resume Checklist
Aggressively Written Resumes

We just have to...
Can't wait for tomorrow? We can't too. Tomorrow's definitely going to be informative. We're including bits from Hays Singapore, so don't forget to visit! Singapore
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