A professional journey has two major stages.
1. The entry-level stage
2. Climb the ladder stage.
In this blog, the focus will be on the entry-level stage. The most crucial part of your journey is the start point, Your Resume.
We may feel they are just one or two sheets of paper.
Here is the thing:
The journey of your resume actually starts very early in life. Over and above the routine academic and cultural activities during undergraduate college tenure, teenagers must be encouraged to use the vacation time constructively by doing short internships, taking additional training in utility functions like writing, public speaking, office automation and presentation software like advanced excel, PowerPoint and keynote amongst others.
This is an add-on to the resume in terms of experience, knowledge, and certificate value and also a support system to a freshers resume which would otherwise consist of nothing other than personal and educational details or probably a standard four-banana race prize.
Using the undergraduate-level vacation constructively also brings along a lot of maturity, accountability and clarity of thought in a teenager as to what he or she wants to pursue after graduation.
Which stream to adapt, whether to move to post-graduation directly or work for a year and then take up higher studies and so on. Whatever the decision be, it must be taking into consideration the top five skills the candidate possesses.
Now how do we do that?
The best way is to create a brag sheet:
A brag sheet talks about your achievements & skills with supportive factual examples which you not only speak about during your interview but also add to your resume.
Most important is that those skills and achievements prove of great help in selecting your area of function.
For entry-level candidates, your friends, teachers and well-wishers could help remind you of various instances and situations where you proved your skills and scored a brownie.
For experienced candidates, a professional network (current or ex-colleagues whom you share a healthy equation with) will be of the best help in building up your brag sheet. Getting your SWOT analysis done with professional support also helps big time.
It's very necessary to understand that an arranged marriage with your profession will always have a higher chance of success and reduce the tendency of divorce.
When you are in the process of selecting your work area, consider your professionally relevant skill sets and the ground realities. business scenarios of the chosen industry.
Most of the candidates tend to look at what they are interested in, frame a work area for themselves in their minds & then land up in a situation where they are unable to cope up. That's when the interest levels or the so-called passion seem to fade away like the 1st teenage crush!
The reason being that ‘The Real is Different’. This often leaves a bad patch on the candidature and the mind of the individual as well.
Moving to the Resume - It is one of the most important marketing tools of the 'Brand You' when it comes to recruitment.
There are several formats available online and recommended by experts as well. Choose what suits you best. Few important things to consider while creating a resume:
1. Client is the king and so are Keywords: At this junction, the organisation with an opportunity is your client. Customise the contents of your resume basis the role and the organisation you are applying for. While doing so ensure you read up and understand the organisation and the job role well.
There is no harm in consulting your possible network or the source of the opportunity (only the reliable ones) if you need to know things about the role or the company.
One look at your resume and the hiring team should be sold or at least interested. Freshers often have very little to customise on, here is when the internships, brag sheets, additional training are taken come into the picture. In summary, your resume needs to maintain the curiosity of the recruitment team till they pick up the phone to call you.
We are in the era of targeted resumes which means resumes are shaped up targeting the opportunity being applied for.
Always remember that the correct set of keywords in your resume both online and offline play a very crucial role in any hiring process, especially for a resume shortlist. Keywords are nothing but specific words that match the opportunity requirement and align with the skill set you possess. The use of these makes it easier for the recruiter to shortlist a resume for a particular role.
2. Being precise: Your resume should be able to tell your work story depending on the nature of the job you have applied for and your candidature (whether you are applying for an entry-level position or a high-profile role).
For instance, If you mention 'presentation skills' as one of your attributes, let the content of your resume demonstrate the mentioned skill at least once. If you have a year or more of experience you can add up the competencies you have developed spanning the experience. In some cases, text resumes work well and in some infographics.
3. Be Creative, Consistent, Resourceful & De-Clutter: Using text boxes, templates and other options helps. Font type, size, and paragraph spacing should be consistent & distinct. Control on Bolds and Italics to ensure maximum impact.
Softwares like MS Word have a lot of tools which helps in formatting content properly. You may use the header - footer for signature content like work portfolio links, social media account links and part of your personal details, all of it well integrated.
4. Present what you can bring to the table: Needless to say, a good portfolio is equally important as a crisp resume. "What can the candidate bring to the table?" is any and every recruiter's first plug point with the increasing dynamics of any business today.
This definitely calls for an impactful demonstration of skill sets by presenting what you have created or strategised. For example, a scriptwriter's portfolio will need to have at least a dozen short-format and long-format scripts across content genres.
A well-rounded portfolio is of prime importance for every entry-level position. It should ideally contain the best and most relevant academic projects done across graduation and post-graduation as applicable.
Moreover, it should also have a self-learning element, meaning your own creations over and above academics or routines. They could be films, pitch presentations, creative strategies for a brand, re-launch campaigns, trans medial news bulletins or anything such which is applicable to the work area you are looking at.
For experienced candidates, they would obviously have their past work credentials as well.
Also, note that adding hobbies doesn't really help unless the job role needs it. If I am applying for a marketing role and I add a hobby of watching movies has no relevance unless I apply for a movie marketing role or I am looking at a production house role.
Hobbies should be planned and put down, sometimes they could be cultivated one's basis of the work you wish to pursue.
But never say, I like reading if you actually don't mean it!
5. The KISS policy - Keep It Short and Simple.
For contact and identification purposes, just mention your name, email ID, phone number and possibly address.
There is no need to mention things like blood group, nationality or marital status unless you are applying for a role that needs these details as criteria for the interview shortlist.
Use simple, error-free language and avoid jargon, prolonged statements or words that are redundant.
Yes, repetitions are not an effective way of stressing your point, especially for experienced candidates who have had similar job functions across stints. So avoid repeats. Instead, identify keywords and use them.
Ensure that your social media links are updated with relevant content integrated into the resume.
To summarise, Be the hero of your own story:
Your resume needs to speak about your functional candidature, skills with portfolios to demonstrate them, achievements, qualifications and experience as applicable.
A one-pager is most effective for up to five years of experience. A maximum of a two-page resume is good to go if you have that kind of content to plug in.
Remember that the human attention span is diminishing by the day!
There is no perfect way to write your resume but these tips do work well in hand holding through your profile creation journey.
For a one on one guidance on creating your CV or LinkedIn profile, Do reach out to us at MET Institute of Mass Media.