When looking for a job, we’re well aware of how important a solid resume is.
It is the employer’s first impression of you, your qualifications, abilities, and suitability – all of which are influenced by the way your resume is written.
Here’s a quick checklist to see if you’re making a good first impression on your resume:
1. Does your resume look good?
Many job seekers create a generic resume on a Word document that, despite containing a lot of information about them, is poorly organized and can look excessively wordy. A good resume is well-organized and easy to read.
Recruiters and hiring managers look through dozens of resumes for each job advertisement. A visually cluttered and unappealing resume may lead to your application getting lost or overlooked. To prevent this, you will need to find a way to make you stand out from the rest.
A quick and accessible way is to start with a resume template. You can find good ones available for free on websites such as Canva and Resume.io or if you’re not big on trendy designs, resort to Microsoft Word and Google Docs. The key thing is to customize your resume to suit not only the job description but also your own personal branding.
2. Have you attached a photo of yourself on your resume and… should you?
It is totally up to you whether or not to include a photo of yourself in your resume since it’s actually not a mandatory requirement.
If you’d like hiring managers to focus on your skills and qualifications, feel free to leave your photo out. If your resume impresses them enough, they’ll get to see you when they call you in for an interview.
If you’re of the opinion that a profile photo can bring your personality to an otherwise impersonal resume, you should always attach a high-quality picture of you that looks professional.
3. Is your personal summary impactful?
Every job seeker should have a personal summary that can quickly and easily communicate the value you offer to a potential employer. A successful summary will pique a recruiter’s interest and make them want to know more about you.
Preparing a personal summary is rather simple, so don’t overthink it. Stick to the following structure for a fool-proof summary:
- Start with a significant fact about yourself that you want them to know, preferably one that is relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Mention any distinctive accomplishments that can set you apart from other similar applicants.
- Finish it off with your current career objective, emphasizing on the role or industry you’d like to work in.
4. What contact information did you provide on your resume?
Make sure you use a professional email address.
firstname.lastname@example.org and other similar email addresses, although fun, may make you seem unprofessional.
We suggest using something like email@example.com (some numbers at the end are fine).
Even though you have already stated an email address, a phone number is still a must. Some recruiters will screen potential candidates via a quick phone call before arranging for the actual interview.
So make sure you include your mobile phone number and not your home’s. You don’t want to miss out on an amazing opportunity if you’re out!
Since the contact information section is usually at the top of your resume, you can optimize this space further by listing relevant sites recruiters can check you out on, such as your LinkedIn profile and portfolios.
Just make sure the links are shortened and hyperlinked.
A simple indication of the area will be enough for recruiters to know where you are based (eg. Petaling Jaya, Selangor). So don’t provide your full address.
You’ll be sending your resume to multiple different people so not only is it unnecessary, but it can also be unsafe. Should a recruiter or employer require more detailed information, they will request it personally from you.
Information such as height and relationship status don’t need to be on your CV. A resume shouldn’t contain too much personal information. The employer wants an overview of your skills, so only focus on what matters.
5. Have you included your references?
Contrary to popular belief, references are not compulsory and can be omitted from your resume. If an employer needs a reference, they will make an explicit request and you can provide them after.
However, including references can save both you and the employer some time. If you have great references that can sing praises for you, include them in!