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Five Top Tips For Creating a Successful Resume So if you are looking for a new role, stick to these five resume fundamentals to give you the best chance of getting over the first recruitment hurdle

By Ritu Sharma

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Nine-times-out-of-ten the first contact you will have with a potential employer is via your resume. And the 750 or so words you put on it will more often than not make or break your chances of success.

So how do you ensure you create an effective resume that will put your application to the top of the pile, and not in the bottom of the trash?

  • Back to basics

If you don't cover off the basics, you are never going to get through the door for an interview. So all resumes should include past and current work history, educational and occupational qualifications, the skills you have that are relevant to the role on offer, examples of outside interests and hobbies, and the details of two contacts for references. Also, ensure you thoroughly proofread your resume and get it checked by a second pair of eyes for spelling and grammar errors.

  • Keep it short and sweet

It is always a huge temptation to cram in as much information as possible in an attempt to convince an employer that you are the perfect person for the position. But bear in mind that your application might be the 50th that he or she has read that day. And if yours runs to six pages of irrelevant information, typed in six point text, the chances are that it will not be well received. As a rule, keep it to two pages of A4, use a type size that won't require a magnifying glass and write it in a professional font. So no comic sans!

  • Tailor-made tactics

Recruiters and senior management spend a lot of time wading through resumes and, believe me, they can spot from five paces a generic resume that has been fired out at random. Therefore, the key to a successful resume is tailoring your information to the job description and specification. This means you will have to highlight how your past roles and qualifications are suitable for this specific position. For example, if you are applying for a customer service role but your background is in sales, then emphasise how your account and client servicing skills gave you considerable experience in providing excellent customer service.

  • Strategy for skills

It's important to remember that the skills required for a new job do not always need to come from previously paid positions. Of course, leadership, mentoring, strategic and technical skills from past employment need to be effectively highlighted, but it is often the case that these abilities can also be honed through volunteering, hobbies and participation with community groups. Employers are just as likely to be impressed by an applicant who has secured the relevant skills across depth and breadth of activities as they are with someone who has only grounded themselves in one specialism. Furthermore, when highlighting skills developed in previous roles, don't be too technical in your descriptions, especially if you are looking to transition to a new sector or industry.

  • Tell the whole truth…

Ever had a role that did not work out as planned? Many of us have, so don't feel the need to gloss over this or deny that it ever happened. Employers and recruiters are real people and will know that valuable lessons would have been learned by a role that didn't work out. So, if you are worried that a three-month position will look bad on your resume and are tempted to exclude it, don't. Simply explain the situation and what you learned from the experience. Good hiring managers will appreciate the honesty and openness. Also, it should go without saying that over-egging your past roles and claiming to have skills you don't possess will more often than not end in tears.

Ritu Sharma

Ritu Sharma, Director and HR Head, India, Verizon Media

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