Lets get started! This first part of the series will teach you how to write your resume. If you’re interested in learning a new skill first, skip to part 2 (coming soon) here.
A simple analogy
You’re shopping in a hardware store for a drill. You look for a recognized brand of drills because :
• you believe its brand promise
• you know you’ll get what you pay for
Every drill you see will claim to be the best. The one that stands out is the drill that gives you the most holes. You’re at the store to buy – holes?
What does it mean?
The point of the story above is to challenge your understanding of the value (holes) you provide in exchange for a salary. Paid salaries are in exchange for a valuable service which you can provide.
The distinction of having a skill versus using a skill to provide value is an important one. You have to be able to turn the goals of an organisation into a reality.
Now that’s great value. Lets take a look at how to write your resume with value in mind.
Writing an introduction.
Your resume is not about you. Wait, what? Your resume lets an employer know how you will fit into his/her organisation. You don’t want to talk about your pet dog when applying for a position in management.
An introduction on the first paragraph of your resume lets a recruiter know if he should read the second paragraph. And so on.
Here are a few key points to note when writing an introduction.
1. Make the reader curious about your skills.
Write this – ‘Hi, your position should be filled by a writer who appreciates good SEO.’
Not this – ‘Good morning madam/sir, I’m emailing you because I think I’m the right person for a job in your esteemed organisation’.
2. Keep it short.
3. Get straight to the point. No apple-polishing when you don’t know the person yet, or even after you know them.
Write this – ‘I write persuasive copy for marketing material, and have spent the past year doing so.’
Not this – ‘I have a degree in writing, and I think I will be a great asset to your top company.’
Writing about your skills
This part of your resume is where you elaborate on the value you’ve provided.
Use a list for easy reading. Here’s a good example :
2012 – present
Staff writer , COMPANY A – The target for COMPANY A in the year 2013 was to increase sales by 13%. Contributions I made include :
• releasing converting marketing collaterals, and
• increasing traffic to the website by 30%.
2009 – present
Freelance writer – Clients from various industries were looking for a way to communicate effectively with their client base. I filled the role well, and an example of a successful project include Project XYZ, 2012.
Bad example –
2012 – present
Staff writer , COMPANY A – I worked with my manager to write reports and do marketing material. I worked very hard to achieve the goal my manager gave me.
2009 – present
Freelance writer – I was a good contractor. All my clients came back to me because they couldn’t find someone cheaper.
If your skills sound like the example above, it’s time to rewrite it. Better still, evaluate the value you can give future employers/clients.
Referees and contact information
Referees provide a reliable source of information on your performance. Be sure to let the your chosen referee know you’ve nominated them, and tell them to expect a call.
Contact information should be neat, and easy to read. Here’s a good example :
(012) 123 4567
Bad example :
Mango Wong (you’re named after a fruit?!)
Mobile phone : (012) 123 4567 (it’s understood that’s a phone number)
email@example.com (address of a 12 year old child)
I hope this article has helped you understand the principles of writing a good resume. A resume is often your first point of contact (after an email), and it pays to know how to frame your achievements in the right context.
For further reading, you may go to part 2 for examples and and templates.