The world is full of job seekers. There are those who are looking for their first jobs and those who just want to switch. Hundreds of CVs are sent across daily from such aspirants to prospective employers. Most of them are opened but only a few of them get a thorough reading that they deserve. Out of these some get called and only a few finally make it. Now this is a lot of stages that an aspirant has to survive just to land a job.
As easy as it seem, and it is, there are still so many traps along the way that can cost a worthy candidate a job. Most of these mistakes are made at the resume stage only that can cost a candidate dearly. Obviously the more experienced ones are less prone to make mistakes but sometimes even they fall short of meeting an employers expectations.
As a prospective employer I feel that I should let such candidate know where they are going wrong and what it is that is costing them jobs that they can very easily get. If you are an experienced job seeker then you would know most of these points by experience and I would recommend that you forward these instructions to your less experienced peers so that they can escape making such mistakes. If you are a fresher or you find out that you have been making such errors, please make amends and help others do that too.
Again this piece is primarily aimed at the hundreds of students who graduate from engineering and other colleges that are spread across the country and wish to enter the tech industry (my domain). Post Grads usually do not make such errors.
The CV is undoubtedly the most important weapon of a job seeker. One could go on and on about what a good CV should contain and how it should contain that but this piece is more about the don’ts that you need to be careful about.
The email – If an email lands in my inbox with only an attachment , no text with subject as ‘my resume ’ (in small caps) how motivated do you think I would be to open that? This is your first chance to make an impression, please don’t screw it up. Send a neatly formatted, grammatically correct and spell checked email. If you are being referred to me by someone make sure you mention that so that I don’t discard you as a random post.
Name of the document - Please be clear – new_resume.docx, resume(2).doc or latestbiodatayourname.doc are not acceptable names for your resume files. The moment such a file lands in my inbox the first thing that comes to my mind is that this candidate is not serious about his desire to get hired. It shows haste or even worse lack of commitment. There is no rule that is set in stone when it comes to naming the file but it should make sense.
File Format – It is important that your resume is created using a universally used/accepted format. It is imperative that the resume looks the same on all platforms so that the employer sees what you want him to see. Though word docs are a popular and pretty safe choice it is still possible to have a mismatch in the version of word that you have and the one the employer is using. My recommendation – use pdf. It is a universally accepted format and formatting is consistent. RTF is a strict no no.
Layout – For some reason, it seems that there are only 5 different resume layouts that are floating in the fresher world. It seems this is because most of the kids take a copy of their friends CV and replace the information. No effort is being made to change/fix the layout of the resume. Layout is the first thing that the reader sees when the file opens even before he reads the first letter. I am not asking you to come up with a designer resume. It should be visually consistent at the least if not appealing.
Crap Achievements – Some time back I read this in a CV
‘Participated in a poem recital competition in school and was applauded’
You seriously think I will hire you for a coding job position based on this. You should be sensible enough to know what achievements are worth listing.
Spell check – This is probably the biggest point that an employer like me is not able to overlook. The moment I open a resume and I see words/phrases underlined because of spelling errors the first thing that comes to my mind is that the applicant must have seen these underlines as well and he simply chose to neglect. If you are not serious and committed about the job why should the employer be? One can still oversee grammatical errors but these days even online text editors have spell check. Please click the check spelling button.
Some more points pertaining to this are
I really do not think that I am asking for a lot. All of these points are so basic that it is expected that everyone should know them by default. Always know if I have opened your resume, it means I want to hire you. Do not give me a silly reason to reject you without meeting you in person.
These were the DON'Ts, I am waiting for the DOs :)
Hey Tarun, the list of DO's would be endless if one starts writing it. Mostly because Do's are subjective that vary from employer to employer but these Dont's I think are universally true that work across all domains and levels.
Hi Tarun, these might be helpful
http://greatbong.net/2012/05/25/an-open-letter-to-prospective-india... - A letter from the prospective employeee to the prospective employer.. look at both the sides. Then its FUN!
Hey Mansi, I did read it some time back. Must say it is extremely well written (like most of the great bong articles).
I second you Mr. Akhil Gupta. I would like to add some more points to this:
- If you are bulk emailing to many agencies along with MINE, kindly use 'Bcc' instead of listing them under 'To'. To see you send your resume to my competitor agencies as well gives me a feeling that you have no idea about any of those agencies in particular. You are simply anticipating a replay from anyone.
- Kindly do not type your resume in the mail body. It not only irritates as there are generally spacing issues in that case, it also speaks out loud that you haven't checked the mail yourself before sending it to your 'to-be' employer.
- Please work out a sensible, interesting 'Objective' for yourself, keeping in mind the company you are applying in. As an employer, I generally skip the Objective part as i know it's going to be the same. Prove me wrong. Get me glued.
- Follow up. It's a great way of asserting your interest in the company.
I hope the above listed points will help you work out a decent resume.
i agree with you Anamika. Thanks for sharing. I particular agree with the 'bcc' point. This again shows lack of commitment.
Great effort Akhil. As a recruiter, I only state that this is something that every candidates need to follow - not just freshers.
Also, candidates can avoid cute email ids like cutiepriya, chattykaran, etc ....
Hi Vipul, you raise a very valid point. Such emails should be abandoned once you are out of college or one should maintain 2 separate email ids - one for personal/legacy use and one for professional.
I personally have a pet peeve about people using the name of their college in their email ids but again that is a personal thing. I would believe people would happily accept email@example.com compared to firstname.lastname@example.org :)