There are many confusions regarding resume and curriculum vitae (CV). It is often found that companies as well as individuals are using these two terms as synonyms. But the fact is both the terms are different. Candidates use both to apply for the jobs, but the difference lies in its purpose.
Resume is usually crafted when you apply in corporate sectors. It is usually no longer than two pages. The resume summarizes your skills, experience and education. It is more focused in your work credentials and achievements.
On the other hand, CV is used for positions in academia, education, science or research. It is usually two to three pages long. It details your education, academics, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards and honors.
One person can have both resume and CV. If you are a banker, you will have a resume but if you want to apply for part-time teaching, then you need to make a CV. Despite the difference, this article is focused on crafting resume that stands out.
The winning resume has five essential components such as:
• It is professional
• Visually attractive and reader friendly
• Consistent format – structured
• Reverse chronological order – recent ones on the top
• Tailored to each job you apply
And you can incorporate these components in your resume by careful consideration of the following guidelines.
Career objective is a brief sentence about yourself stating what employer can expect from you. It is usually a single sentence stating how you can be useful to the company. However, most candidates write career objective as their personal mission statement like: “To work in an organization where I can enhance my finance skills and climb the organizational ladder.” From the hiring manager’s perspective, it only talks about the candidate’s benefit. A good example will be something like: “To work with enthusiasm and acquire challenging position while contributing in the growth of the organization.” With this, you make the hiring manager consider reading the rest of your resume.
Hiring managers have developed skills to scan your resume in 20 seconds. Thus, it is important how relevant you become while drafting your resume. Candidates usually fill first page with long educational background. By the time the hiring manager finishes the first page, they’ve already lost interest in you. It is always smart to mention two recent degrees under your educational qualification. If you hold a Master’s degree, then it is better to mention only Master’s and Bachelor’s degree.
It has been found that candidates mention “Master’s in Business Studies – Running.” Instead of using the word “running” mention “pursuing.” Similarly, if you are currently pursuing any degree, mention expected graduation date so that the hiring manager would have a better idea about when can you be available for a full-time commitment.
How about the grades? It is always better to mention grades that are in progressive order. Hiring manager values those candidates who have scored, for example 55% in SLC, 58% in plus two and 60% in Bachelor’s degree. However, most of the candidates have scored just the opposite. If this is you, then don’t mention your grades.
RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE /COLLEGE ACTIVITIES
In the age of multitasking where people have to wear multiple hats, it is difficult for candidates to segregate relevant work experiences and group projects to the job they are applying to. Companies hire not on the basis of who you are but what you have done. Accomplishments such as “Managed a team of 10 where everyone got bonus,” or “Voted as the best class project” make you sellable in the market. Candidates who are able to give tangible, concrete examples are the ones who get noticed. Likewise, if you are able to include percentage and rupees signs, they will draw more attention.
While crafting the bullet points for work experience and college activities, candidates should always use action verbs. Action verbs carry a great deal of information and it is better to use it as the first word of the sentence. Refer to the bold words in the following as examples:
• Coordinated entire financial transaction on day to day basis
• Motivated a team of five to successfully conclude the college festival
It is always better to have a list of action verbs while crafting your achievements. And it is readily available in Google for your disposal.
As most work is carried out in computers these days, companies expect you to have basic IT skills such as use of Microsoft Office. If you mention Microsoft Office as your IT skill, then it will sound like mentioning that you know how to write. But if you know advanced excel, pivot table, SPSS etc then it is worth mentioning.
When a candidate mentions training on certain skills/technology then recruiters expect that they know how to use it. In a recent interview we conducted, one of the candidates was asked about the training he’d attended about Tally as mentioned in his resume. When asked if he can use the software if we hire him, his replied, “If you teach me for a few days, I’ll be able to recall and use it.” If questions on your training are likely to answer in this type of answers, then you’d better not mention it. Employers hire candidates for what they can offer and not the other way around.
INTERESTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Resume is a professional document. If you are applying for a job and your interest is singing, playing football, cycling etc, then it is irrelevant. However, if you actually recorded your song/album, are/were a captain of college team or clubs, participated in cycling competition where you have won some titles, then those are the interests worth mentioning. This will indicate the hiring manager that you can be creative, competitive and/or collaborative. Likewise, if you are a person who likes to read, get updated and write then those kinds of interests are also worth mentioning. But be prepared as interviewers often ask questions from this section.
It has become normal to see CEO of a bank and other high profile people as references in a candidate’s resume. When inquired about it in the interview, the reference often turns out to be their parents, relatives or parents’ friends. The whole notion of mentioning the reference is to check your professional background. If we call the reference you have mentioned and they happen to be your parents or relatives, then of course they will say good things about you. Thus the rule of thumb for the reference is, first you can only mention those professionals with whom you only have a professional relationship. Second, the reference should be the person you had directly worked under the supervision of. Third, you should always take permission from the person before mentioning him/her as a reference in your resume.
You can craft a master resume where you can enlist all your qualifications, experiences and achievements, and then copy from it only the required qualifications and skills as per the requirements mentioned in the vacancy notice of the job you’re applying for. It’s natural to be tempted to show all your achievements thinking you have laid your best cards; but what if those cards don’t make any sense to the hiring manager? Thus, candidates who tweak their resume for each opportunity are the ones who increase their chances of being hired.