(Part One - part two to follow covers A Few Tips to Help You Get the Job at the Interview)
After many years as a senior manager in a world leading international bank's Human Resource Management division, and a further 10 as a partner in my own HR and Management Consulting Company, I thought, until recently, that I had seen every type of résumé, good and bad.
I was wrong.
Onto my desk came two, both of which almost took my breath away, one for its superb simplicity, the other for the gall of the candidate for even thinking of sending it to me.
The good one, no, the superb one, which came via email, was (co-incidentally) also for an HR position (not in my company), it covered just two exceptionally informative pages, and its presentation was very attractive.
It was in six parts:
* The factual
- primary phone number (her cell/mobile)
- secondary phone number (home)
- primary and secondary email addresses (neither with childish/immature names)
- her highest academic qualification
- her highest vocational/professional qualification
* Her Career Objective
A simple, but powerful statement of her intent, it read:
"Having risen to the position of Head of Human Resources in my current company, I now seek an opportunity where I may capitalize on my experience and my strengths, either heading up the HR function in a larger company, or as a senior consultant in an established Management Consultancy."
* Summary of Her Qualifications for the Job
- Top academic qualification
- Top professional qualification
- Professional memberships
- Professional Licences
- Number of years in relevant managerial posts
- Most significant achievement relevant to post for which she was applying
* Her Attributes, Skills and Experience
- Foreign languages (she spoke three fluently)
- Software applications with which she was experienced
- Number of years she had been professionally qualified
- Work related achievements and accomplishments, especially those where significant financial savings were made or innovative systems introduced
- National or local awards given (she had won the nation's HR Manager of the Year award in 2007)
* Employment History
- All permanent posts since graduating
- Reason for change (in her case it was three companies, all within the same Group and were moves upon promotion)
- Year Awarded Top academic qualification (hers was an MBA) Name of College
- Year Awarded Next highest academic qualification (her was a BSc) Name of College
- Years At school with name of school and highest school exams passed
- Do not go back further than High School/Secondary School
Her resume concluded with a statement that references would be supplied upon request (these should be preferably from someone you have known professionally, not a friend or family member).
She also rightly stated that she was seeking a remuneration package that was in excess of that she presently received, and would be very willing to negotiate. Try to avoid divulging your package at this stage if you can, as it weakens your bargaining power, but sometimes the advert will call for details of your package, which you should give (honestly!).
* Tips on construction
- Neat and concise
- No grammar or spelling errors, check and check again
- Make headings and titles bold
- Never use more than two fonts or colors
- Never more than two pages at 10-12 point font
- Exaggerate at your peril! But do give extra-emphasis for big plus points
- Even if you photograph well, I advise against including a photograph. Few people photograph very well, and it is sad to say, but even recruiters can be subjective, and if they do not like your face, your resume may go straight into the "no" pile. Sometimes you have no choice, in which case keep it looking a professional as possible.
* Cover letter
- Personalise each and every letter you send to a potential employer
- If you know the name of the person hiring, or the Head of HR, address the letter to them personally (if you don't know do your best to find out and only use "Dear Sir/Madam as a last resort)
- Do not forget to include your home address, telephone number, mobile number and email address
- Even if you are still using your present employer's office, do not use their address or telephone numbers
- Do not repeat content in the same way that is already in your CV, but do strongly emphasize your strengths as indicated in the CV. Start by referring to the particular post offered, and end with a comment thanking (potentially) your next employer for their time in reading the CV and that your look forward to meeting them at interview.
- You should not use more than three paragraphs, and as with your CV, either 10 or 12 point. The choice of font, for both, is up to you, but an interesting tip I was once given was to use Palatino Linotype as most paperback books are set in this type and therefore most recruiters will be familiar to this font and find it easy to read. It is a Word font.
- Check, re-check and check again for any spelling or grammar errors. If you are emailing your CV and cover letter (cover email) please make sure you have not left any of Word's wavy green or red lines to indicate spelling or grammar errors.
- If the company has given you any specific instructions, such as deliver by a certain date - make sure you comply. If your country's postal system is unreliable, either deliver by hand, or use a courier company.
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