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Man at Desk

In the old days, resume writing was simple. You would generate a laundry list of educational qualifications and job experiences, type it up on your Olivetti typewriter, slap it into an envelope (with a crisp $100 bill inserted between the resume and the cover letter) and mail it through to the prospective employer. Today, given the fact that there are 7 billion people in the world scrapping over a few million jobs, the screening process of resumes has changed. In most cases, a computer will be the first entity to view your resume. You, therefore, need to understand the algorithm and prepare your resume accordingly.

Watch this YOUTUBE video to understand the 3 Steps to a Perfect Resume.


12 Cardinal rules when it comes to writing your resume

Rule 1: Tailor your resume to the specific position for which you're applying

Many people fall into the trap of using one generic resume for all job applications. You need to take this generic resume and tweak it to reflect the job for which you are applying. You would be well advised to incorporate some keywords that appear in the job description, into the body of the resume.

Rule 2: Put your name and contact info at the top

1. Put your name in boldface and/or regular caps.

2. Include your full address and home, work (optional), and/or cell phone numbers and your email address but do not bold these.

Rule 3: Decide if you want to include an objective

Only include an objective if it's not generic.


Rule 4: The length of your resume should reflect years of experience

If you're in your twenties, your resume should only be one page. However, if you've had more than 10 years of experience, you can add a second page.

Rule 5: Use plenty of white space to draw the reader’s eye to specific items

Don't include so much information that it gets distracting.


Rule 6: Only include relevant work experience

Keep your resume focused and don't include every single job you've ever had. The fact that you worked as a roadie at Woodstock may not be relevant if you are applying for the job of CEO of a global bank.

Rule 7: Use bullet points to list responsibilities and accomplishments

Bullet points are short and punchy. This also means that you should not use full sentences – they are just too time-consuming in today’s world.

Rule 8: Put a number to your accomplishments

Your resume is for experience and accomplishments only. It's not the place for subjective traits, like "great leadership skills" or "creative collaborator”. This means you need to quantify your achievements in numbers – “lead a team of 12 actuaries”, “generated $50 million in revenue”.


Rule 9: Keep information about your education as short as possible

Include only relevant education information: the name of your college, your degree, and the year you graduated. There is no need to record your grades – even if you were a straight A genius.  


Rule 10: Don't list your hobbies

Hiring managers only care about what you can do for the company, so if you can't connect your hobbies to the job, you're applying for then leave them off your resume. If your extracurricular activities are relevant, you can include them at the bottom. Sometimes hobbies can come back a bite you. If you are an ultra-distance marathon runner, a prospective employer may hold it against you thinking you are going to leave the office early every day to run 20 miles before dinner.


Rule 11: Use a reverse-chronological resume format

Put your most recent job experience first and then work towards your first job.


Rule 12: Don't reveal everything

The goal of the resume is to get you an interview with the company. Therefore, you shouldn't reveal everything about yourself in the resume — just enough to get the hiring manager's attention.

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