Anyone intending to join the workforce requires a résumé. A beginner or entry-level résumé is needed by students fresh out of college/university or someone planning to switch careers and is therefore considered a novice in that area.
The résumé creates a first impression even before personally meeting the hiring manager. Infact, the résumé can make or break the deal, determining if one gets shortlisted for the next round in the hiring process (usually the interview).
Hence, knowing how to plan and design your résumé is the most important step towards securing a meaningful job in your chosen field. Get your resume updated here.
Here are my recommendations for creating a compelling résumé for freshers or people with less experience:
- Begin with contact information
- Elaborate your educational qualifications
- Mention applicable skills
- List relevant work experience
- State certifications/awards/accomplishments
- Include hobbies/interests
# Contact information
Start the résumé stating your full name, residential & email address and phone number/s on which you can be reached. Include a LinkedIn profile (make one if you haven’t already). Avoid social media handles not relevant to the position.
# Educational qualifications
Unlike an experienced professional résumé, for a beginner the section following the contact information is your academic details. Mention these in chronological order indicating course name, college & university, marks/grade obtained and the year of passing.
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# Applicable skills
Make a skill table, highlighting hard (technical) and soft (non-technical) skills. Technical skills are core competencies mandatory for performing the job e.g., computer/IT skills, coding ability, project management, business development, writing skills etc. Soft skills are personality traits generic across most industries.
Choosing what skills to display depends on the job/position, conduct background research to cover this aspect.
Prioritise 5-10 skills by focussing on your strengths and reflecting upon situations where you’ve demonstrated these especially soft skills.
Something like this:
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Computer skills (e.g., Google suite, MS-Office suite, cloud computing, Zoom etc.)
- Customer service
# Relevant work experience
You may be new to the industry, yet you would have gained experience during your school/university life. Incorporate class projects, presentations, internships, part-time jobs and even volunteering work that showcases your capabilities, other than academics.
Interlink the experience and skills section with effective utilisation of key words like led, managed, facilitated, organised etc. This provides proof to the potential employer that you’ve indeed exhibited those skills. If you were the college magazine editor and are applying for a writer’s position, it’s worth mentioning.
State additional qualification to emphasise your skills. Online courses, certifications completed during/after college, accreditations, self-made assignments generated out of your own interest are significant add-ons to the résumé.
Also, exemplify notable awards and accomplishments in academics & extracurricular activities. E.g., award won in an intercollege debate competition has weightage for a sales/marketing role.
Insert this section only if it represents you as a multi-dimensional personality. The hobby/interest should be something you do consistently and complements the role in question.
If you conduct frequent community service, are an avid blogger or engaged in an artistic pursuit, feature it to stand out amongst other job aspirants. As member of a weekend local cricket team, you can support your claim of being social and a team player.
Tips to consider when crafting the résumé:
- Attach a covering letter
Why a covering letter when there’s a résumé?
Some employers insist on one to gauge your articulation skills and to differentiate between candidates, since most résumés look the same (thanks to the online formats available). Even if not requested a covering letter must accompany a résumé, primarily to share the reason you’re keen on the job.
What should it entail?
Mainly 4 parts - address the hiring manager by his/her name instead of a generic Sir/Madam (you’ll find the name in most job descriptions like the job poster on LinkedIn); specify your objective to apply (could be the best company to work for, leader in the industry, offers excellent training opportunities etc.); share your portfolio/work links; conclude with a thank you.
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- Customise the résumé/covering letter for each job application
Don’t make the mistake of sending the same covering letter and résumé for all job openings. Tailor the documents to suit the job advertisement/description.
- Run it past friends/family
If it’s the first time you are creating a résumé, do run it past friends/family. They may provide insights you’ve overlooked but is useful for the position.
- Proofread thoroughly
Check and edit your résumé carefully. Ensure you haven’t missed out details and there are no grammar/spelling mistakes. Scan the document more than once. A flawless résumé points out to your sincerity, meticulousness and attention to detail to the prospective employer.
Last but not the least, a fresher’s résumé shouldn’t be longer than a page, comprising all the desired information, leaving out the unnecessary details.
The résumé is a reflection of you as a professional. If crafted well, it offers you an opportunity to breeze through the employment process, ultimately landing you at the final destination - obtaining a meaningful job and an entry into the corporate world!
All the best!